Featured Tours


Ezra Cornell Historic Tour

Ezra Cornell (1807-1874) first came to Ithaca at the age of 21. He worked as a carpenter and then in Jeremiah Beebe's plaster and flour mill. By the time he was 57 he was a millionaire and philanthropist. He founded Cornell University in 1865.


William Henry Miller Downtown Architecture   Tour

William Henry Miller (1848-1922) was one of Ithaca's most prolific local architects, dramatically reshaping the skyline of Ithaca and Cornell University.

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Religious Buildings in Downtown Ithaca

This tour is based on research coordinated by Historic Ithaca Board member Thresa Gibian, working with a cadre of dedicated volunteers in 1995 to highlight historic houses of worship in downtown Ithaca.

Wharton Studio Silent Film Tour

Visit the historic Wharton Studio where, from 1915 to 1921, silent movies were directed and produced, starring some of the best known actors of the day.

Featured Person


Elizabeth W. Beebe (1843-1905)

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Elizabeth W. Beebe, known as “The City Missionary,”  served as Ithaca’s matriarch of charity for over 26 years. Beebe was active in aiding Ithaca’s poor, particularly in the Inlet area. She also established the Beebe Mission and strongly advocated for the assistance of orphaned and underprivileged children. In 1885, Beebe prompted Ithaca philanthropist Edward S. Esty to donate a building to be used for the Ithaca Children’s Home. The organization quickly outgrew the original home, and it was Ithaca architect William H. Miller who designed the new Children’s Home, at no cost, located at 518 West Seneca Street. The Children's Home housed children until 1952.  It then served a citywide congregation as the Assembly of God Church until 1999. Today, it is owned by Ithaca Community Recovery, a non-profit group.



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Utica, Ithaca & Elmira Railway

Workers and railroad officials pose in 1875 at present-day Brooktondale at the new wooden trestle of the Utica, Ithaca & Elmira Railway over Six Mile Creek. The view north of Brookton, formerly known as Mottsville and Motts Corners, is thought to have been taken on December 11, the day of completion of the line to Horseheads. The train is headed south. (From Hardy Campbell Lee's  A History of Railroads in Tompkins County (2008))

Learn about the March 17 Tompkins County Railroad Bus Tour.   



Tompkins County’s voice for historic preservation, education, and sustainability.


Explore a complete guide to Ithaca events,
attractions, dining, shopping, and more!


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Use the tools of history to understand the past, gain perspective on the present, and help shape the future.