Downtown Ithaca Architectural Tour

Heritage Tourism

Downtown Ithaca Architectural Tour

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Tour Information

A short, pretty walk through town that takes you past some of Ithaca's architectural gems.

Much of the information in this tour comes from previous publications of Historic Ithaca and The History Center in Tompkins County. A resource to supplement this tour of Ithaca's downtown buildings is the 1982 book "Ithaca and Its Past: The History and Architecture of the Downtown," available online through the Tompkins County Public Library.


Total distance travelled: 1.17 miles

Elevation: Mostly flat

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Our tour begins at The History Center in Tompkins County, located in the Gateway Center, a 1925 warehouse later converted into offices. The History Center displays a permanent collection, presents unique exhibits, houses archives, and is ... Read more
Completed in 1905, the Wanzer Block is a keystone in the history of Ithaca's downtown development. The two sides of the block were built earlier (1865 for the Aurora Street side, and 1888 for the State Street side) than the corner parcel j... Read more
Famed local architect William H. Miller, who has two Ithaca tours devoted to his work, designed this home for Calvin D. Stowell in 1880, and it was purchased in 1914 by Robert C. Osborn. Descendents of the Osborns owned the home until 1996,... Read more
The Church of Christian Unity was founded by Ezra Cornell and other community members in 1865; they worshipped for two decades inside a wood-frame building that had been erected on East Buffalo Street in 1872-73. That building was destroyed... Read more
The first church on this site was built in 1819 and was replaced by another structure in 1866. Forty years later, the congregation selected plans by Cincinnati architects Brown & Davis for a Romanesque Revival structure. Dedicated in 1... Read more
A building unlike any other downtown edifice, Temple Beth-El was designed by Cornell-educated Buffalo architect Eli Goldstein and erected in 1928-29. Its basic form is that of a cube, topped by an octagon and finished with a twelve-sided cl... Read more
This Classical Revival/French Baroque post office was built in 1909. It is one of a number of post offices built during this period of growth for the postal service, all ex officio supervised by James Knox Taylor, the Supervising Architect ... Read more
Designed by Ithaca architect A.B. Dale, this house was built for George McChain in 1866 and is known for its second owner, Judge Douglass Boardman, the first dean of the Cornell University Law School. After the deaths of Boardman in 1891 an... Read more
The oldest Gothic Revival courthouse in the state, this building was built in 1854 and served as the county’s second courthouse. Designed by John F. Maurice, a Union Springs architect, it replaced a small, cheap wooden Greek Revival bui... Read more
This house is one of the oldest standing buildings in Ithaca and a prime example of the Federal style. It was built in 1820 by banker Jeremiah Beebe, who sold it to William Halsey in 1850, who then added a rear service wing. The narrow, thr... Read more
One of the preeminent landmarks of downtown Ithaca, the Clinton House (named for New York governor DeWitt Clinton) was built from 1828-29 by local architect Ira Tillotson. It was originally a hotel, and also held offices. The upper floor we... Read more
Designed by Henry N. Hinckley in 1915 as the Bovard Brothers' Security Garage, the building was bought by Cornell Theatres, Inc. and redesigned by Victor A. Rigaumont in 1928 as a theatre. It is the last remaining cinema and vaudeville pala... Read more


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