Lower East Hill Historic District

An Architectural Walking Tour by Historic Ithaca, Inc.

Lower East Hill Historic District

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Tour Information

The East Hill Historic District on the slope between Collegetown and Ithaca's business district includes the greatest concentration of historically and architecturally significant buildings in the city.

The buildings date from 1830 to the 1930s and reflect many popular American architectural styles.

The district is on the Nation Register of Historic Places and was designated a local historic district in 1988. Structural changes to the exterior of any building in the district, as well as any new construction in the district, must meet the approval of Ithaca's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The district is bounded on the east and west by Eddy and North Aurora streets and on the north and south by the gorges of Cascadilla and Six Mile creeks.

This tour describes twenty-seven buildings in the lower portions of the district (i.e., west of Stewart Avenue) and includes many examples of Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles. Also represented are Second Empire, Swiss Chalet, Richardsonian Romanesque, English Revival, and Mission styles.

This walking tour was developed by Historic Ithaca, Inc. For more information about events, walking tours, and preservation advocacy, please visit the Historic Ithaca website.

Please use discretion when approaching private property. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy the tour!


Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Prominent Ithaca architect William Henry Miller (1848-1922) designed this house, located at 303 North Aurora Street, which, from the weathervane to the wrought-iron fence surrounding the property, appears exactly as it did when it was buil... Read more
The house at 313 North Aurora Street had Eastlake detailing when it was built in 1890. William Henry Miller remodeled it in 1894, combining Queen Anne features like the tower with Colonial Revival details, including the paired Doric columns... Read more
These Italianate houses on East Court Street were built between 1871 and 1873 on property owned by Joseph Lyons. Characteristic Italianate features include the tall, narrow windows capped by round arches and/or bracketed architraves; the wi... Read more
This Colonial Revival house was built between 1901 and 1903 for Herbert G. Wilson, a retailer of hats, furs, and men’s furnishings. The use of classical elements to emphasize a building’s entrance is characteristic of Colonial Revival a... Read more
This house was a small Greek Revival cottage when it was built in the 1840s. A Gothic Revival frontispiece was added in 1851, and the house acquired its Queen Anne characteristics (some historians would describe them as Stick), which you se... Read more
This house is an excellent example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. It was designed by William Henry Miller and built in 1890. The style bears some similarities to the Queen Anne style as you can see here in the cross-gabled roof, ... Read more
The residence at 414 East Buffalo Street was probably a Greek Revival house when it was built for merchant Charles F. Blood (1826-1898) in 1868. The house was remodeled in 1873 by William Henry Miller, who transformed it into the style of a... Read more
The house at 409 East Buffalo probably looked more like its Greek Revival neighbor at 407 East Buffalo Street when it was built in 1845. The house was renovated twice, however, and few original features remain. The rear portion of the house... Read more
The main section of this Greek Revival house was built around 1834 for Anson Spencer (1809-1876), an editor and publisher and one-time president of the Village of Ithaca. The house--and others like it in the 400 block of East Buffalo and Ea... Read more
Anson Spencer built this Italianate house across the street from his previous residence in 1869. Notable features include the modillion-like brackets at the eaves and the small, paired brackets supporting the window architraves. The house... Read more
This house was built between 1873 and 1874 for Judge Marcus Lyon (1827-1899). It is a solid example of late nineteenth-century architecture, blending Queen Anne features with Gothic Revival. (Some historians would call this house an example... Read more
William Henry Miller designed this Gothic Revival house, which was built in 1874 as a boarding house. The steeply pointed gables, the angular stick work, and the pointed-arch window at the second story bay (at the north end of the house) ar... Read more
William Henry Miller designed this house for the Reverend A.E. Goodnough (1855-1888), who was the minister for the First Unitarian Church in Ithaca during the late 1800s. Built in 1886, this Swiss Chalet-style house is probably the only one... Read more
The Alpha Delta Phi fraternity first occupied this building, which was designed by William Henry Miller and built in 1878. When the fraternity decided to move to the Cornell campus in 1905, it sold the house for $9000. What is especially in... Read more
William Henry Miller designed the house at 505 East Seneca Street for Henry Sage’s sister, Caroline B. Wood (1826-1906). The house was built in 1886. Miller used brick on the first story and shingles on the second story. There are three k... Read more
Henry Williams Sage (1814-1897) was an ambitious eighteen-year-old in 1832, when he first came to Ithaca to work for his uncles in the canal trade. Forty-some years later, having developed a prosperous business empire in the meantime, Sage ... Read more
Cornell botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) designed this unusual house in collaboration with Clarence A. “Pa” Martin (1862-1944), dean of Cornell’s School of Architecture. Although Bailey had intended it to resemble a Swiss chal... Read more
William Henry Miller designed this carriage house for the Sage family. It was built in 1880 and possesses many characteristics of other Miller buildings. Notable features include a steeply pitched gable, the peak of which is trimmed with a ... Read more
William Henry Miller designed this house for Henry William Sage’s son, William Henry Sage (1844-1924), who was best known for his role in the development of railroads in central New York State. The house was built around 1878 and is basic... Read more
William Henry Miller designed this house for John Barden (1825-1908), a one-time mayor of Ithaca. The house was built in 1873 and combines three late nineteenth-century architectural styles. Queen Anne influence shows in the asymmetrical m... Read more
Only three families have occupied this house, which was built in 1864. This may explain why the house has retained all its original Greek Revival elements including the front-facing gable, the two-story, three-bay structure, and the off-cen... Read more
This Greek Revival house is one of the oldest in the district. It was built around 1830 by missionary Samuel J. Parker (1779-1866) on land he purchased from Ithaca’s founder, Simeon DeWitt. The house has undergone substantial changes sinc... Read more
This Gothic Revival house was built around 1853 for Henry S. Walbridge (1801-1869), a judge, U.S. congressman, and member of the New York State Assembly. Old photographs depict the house as a spectacular example of its style, with a clapbo... Read more
This house may have been a typical Greek Revival building in 1866, when it was owned by Ezra Cornell (1807-1874). The Italianate windows and the gingerbread vergeboard were probably added by John D. Carpenter (1812-1887), an undertaker and ... Read more

 

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