Featured Tours

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Historic Bridges in Tompkins County, NY Tour

Each stop on the tour highlights one of Tompkins County's historical bridges, showing how it has been either altered or preserved over the years.

 

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William Henry Miller Lower Collegetown Architecture Walking 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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Barns of Tompkins County

This driving tour is based on the "Barns of Tompkins County: Self-Guided Driving Tour" prepared by Historic Ithaca and the New York State Barn Coalition in 2008.

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Ithaca College: A Walking Tour of Its Downtown Roots

Ithaca College began modestly in 1892 as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, founded in downtown Ithaca by a local musician, violinist William Grant Egbert. This walking tour begins at the Boardman House on DeWitt Park and includes many college landmarks


Featured peRSOns

 East hill classic jazz band

East hill classic jazz band

east hill classic jazz band

Johnny Russo is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He was trombonist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra where he had the privilege of performing the "Firebird Suite" under the baton of the composer Igor Stravinsky.

Russo founded his East Hill Classic Jazz Band in Ithaca NY in the mid-1980's. Throughout the years over 50 musicians have worked with Johnny Russo.

The history of the East Hill Classic Jazz Band in Ithaca/Tompkins musical history is unique holding several records, concerts at Taughannock, more CU fraternity socials/reunions than any previous group.

Between 1978 and 2008, musician composer Johnny Russo, inspired by life in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins County, Ithaca’s abundant natural beauty, institutions, the special people who inhabit its unique place in the Finger Lakes of Central New York, created numerous songs.

A new book  Ithaca Our Home published earlier this year,  reflects the memorable history of Russo’s East Hill Classic Jazz Band along with an 18-song CD of original songs inspired by the Finger Lakes and its community.

 

 Historic Ithaca photo, 1987

Historic Ithaca photo, 1987

FEATURED SITE

 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1919

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1919

former DL&W Train Station, 701 W. Seneca Street, Ithaca

Today Ithaca’s West End is undergoing a burst of revitalization, with new infill housing popping up in the midst of thriving retail businesses and offices. But when the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) railroad station on West Seneca Street was built in 1912, the West End was quite different. It was dominated by railroads and industry. Multiple train tracks ran north and south. The DL&W Railroad’s freight depot was just across West Seneca Street from the passenger station, and coal yards lined the nearby Cayuga Inlet. Mills and factories dotted the area, including the Robinson & Carpenter Planing Mill and Lumber Yard across the Inlet, the Sanitary Ice Cream & Milk Company factory across West State Street, and the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation’s factory on nearby Brindley Street.

The passenger station’s construction in 1912 was part of a larger effort by the DL&W Railroad Company to modernize its tracks and stations in the early twentieth century. DL&W architect Frank J. Nies designed the Prairie-style building. Characteristic of the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired style, the structure is rectangular, with a low-hipped, overhanging roof that was originally covered in green Spanish tiles. (Other stations designed by Nies in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania shared a similar style.) Red, white, and green Rookwood tile mosaics adorn the brick exterior. The tiled pennants and a “Cornell flagpole” were a nod to the presence of Cornell University.

The elegant station with its planned lawns and flower beds beautified the industrial area. “The new Lackawanna Railroad station . . . will . . . greatly enhance the beauty of the western section of the city and will be an object of pride to the citizens of Ithaca as well as the railroad company,” noted the Ithaca Daily Journal.

Passenger service continued for thirty years, until 1942, when the railroad station started being used as a bus terminal. Greyhound Bus Lines operated the station beginning in 1967, and bus service was terminated in 2018.

Because of its architectural significance and connection to Ithaca’s railroad history, the building is currently being considered for designation by the City of Ithaca as a local historic landmark.


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