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: The History Center in Tompkins County

Tour Information

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

The building 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 the Cascadilla and Six Mile creeks.

This tour describes twenty-seven building 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 their 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

The William Henry Miller Inn

William Henry Miller 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 built in 1880. The style is Queen Anne, whi... Read more
313 North Aurora Street

The house 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 on the porch and Palladian ... Read more
309, 313, 317, and 319 East Court Street

These Italianate houses were built between 1871 and 1873 on property owned by Joseph Lyons. The tall, narrow windows capped by round arches and/or bracketed architraves; the wide, overhanging eaves; and particularly the decorative brackets ... Read more
314 East Buffalo Street

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 ar... Read more
3 Fountain Place

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
2 Fountain Place

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-gables roof, ... Read more
414 East Buffalo Street

This was probably a Greek Revival house when it was built for merchant Charles F. Blood in 1868. The house was remodeled in 1873 by William Henry Miller, who made it into Italianate Villa. Characteristic Italianate feature include the exten... Read more
409 East Buffalo Street

Looking across Buffalo Street, the house at 409 East Buffalo probably looked more like its Greek Revival neighbor at 407 E. Buffalo Street when it was built in 1845. The house was renovated twice, however, and few original features remain. ... Read more
417 East Buffalo Street

Across the street is 417 East Buffalo Street. The main section of this Greek Revival house was built around 1834 for Anson Spencer, an editor and publisher and one-time president of the Village of Ithaca. The house –and others like it in ... Read more
426 East Buffalo Street

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 hou... Read more
440 East Buffalo Street

This house was built between 1873 and 1874 for Judge Marcus Lyon. 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 of High Vic... Read more
105 Dewitt Place

William Henry Miller designed the Gothic Revival house, which was built in 1874 as a boardinghouse. 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) are ... Read more
514 East Buffalo Street

Miller designed this house for the Reverend A.E. Goodnough, 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 of its kind in Ithaca. Th... Read more
503 East Buffalo Street

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 nine thousand dollars. What ... Read more
505 East Seneca Street

William Henry Miller designed the house for Henry Sage’s sister, Caroline B. Wood. The house was built in 1886. Miller used brick on the first story and shingles on the second story. There are three kinds of spindlework on the streetside ... Read more
512 East State Street

Henry William Sage 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 returned to I... Read more
103 Sage Place

Cornell botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey designed this unusual house in collaboration with “Pa” Martin, dean of Cornell’s School of Architecture. Although Bailey had intended it to resemble a Swiss chalet, the house, which was completed i... Read more
109 Sage Place

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
603 East Seneca Street

William Henry Miller designed this house for Henry William Sage’s son, William Henry, 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 basically Queen Anne i... Read more
423 East Seneca Street

William Henry Miller designed this house for John Barden, a banker and 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 mas... Read more
420 East Seneca Street

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
109 Parker Street

This Greek Revival house is one of the oldest in the district. It was built around 1830 by missionary/anthropologist Samuel J. Parker on land he purchased from Ithaca’s founder, Simeon Dewitt. The house has undergone substantial changes s... Read more
112-114 Parker Street

This Gothic Revival house was built around 1853 for Henry S. Walbridge, a judge and one-time member of the New York State Assembly. Old photographs depict the house as a spectacular example of its style, with a clapboard exterior and ornate... Read more
310 East Buffalo Street

This house may have been a typical Greek Revival building in 1866, when it was owned by Ezra Cornell. The Italianate windows and the gingerbread vergeboard were probably added by John D. Carpenter, an undertaker and cabinet maker who bought... Read more


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