Historic Downtown

Explore Historic Buildings in Downtown Ithaca

Historic Downtown

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: PocketSights

Tour Information

The history of Historic Ithaca’s creation dates back to the early 1950’s when gas stations began to replace the big old homes near the center of the city and the 1866 Cornell Public Library. Soon the 1844 City Hall became too expensive to renovate, and the fiscal incentives of urban renewal were too attractive to save many of the old structures of the city. When the 1871 Ithaca Hotel came into the spotlight as the next target for demolition, many Ithaca residents and community members (many with Cornell connections) banded together to form Historic Ithaca and Tompkins County, Inc. It is now known as Historic Ithaca.The initial members of Historic Ithaca were local business people, including Agda Swenson Osborn ’20 and Mabel DeMotte, banker A.W. Chamberlain, Florence Hoard, Elizabeth Lucy Simpson ’34, who led many community beautification efforts; and Professor Walter Stainton ’19, president of the DeWitt Historical Society in the county. Cornell history of architecture professor Stephen Jacobs, a national authority on historic preservation and president of Historic Ithaca for a number of years, was a key figure in the early formation of the organization.At Historic Ithaca’s organizational meeting in 1966, it was decided to identify significant Ithaca buiildings that were in danger of demolition. The four buildings identified were the Clinton House, the former Ithaca High School, Boardman House and Tompkins Country Courthouse. Since then Historic Ithaca has continued to be the voice of historic preservation in Tompkins Country and the Finger Lakes region.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

State Theatre of Ithaca

The State Theatre building dates back to 1915. Designed by local architect Henry N. Hinckley, it was originally the Ithaca Security Company auto garage and dealership. The Berinstein family, people with a vision, purchased the building in 1... Read more
Clinton Hall

Clinton Hall is a historic commercial building located at Ithaca in Tompkins County, New York. It was built in 1847-1851 and is a three story, brick commercial block in the Greek Revival style. The building is 66 feet long and 48 feet deep.
Clinton House

The Clinton House has always been one of the city’s most cherished landmark buildings. Named after Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the original building was five stories high including attic and basement and was designed by Ira T... Read more
Boardman House

The Boardman House is an impressive Italianate building owned by the City of Ithaca and located in the heart of downtown within the DeWitt Park Historic District. The building’s distinctive red brick façade with brown trim are recognized... Read more
Old Courthouse

Second Tompkins County Courthouse, also known as Old Courthouse, is a historic courthouse located at Ithaca in Tompkins County, New York. It is a two story, 57 feet by 75 feet rectangular building with a three story tower. The building is b... Read more


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