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 peRSON

 pEARL WHITE (CENTER), lIONEL bARRYMORE (leFT), jAMES gORDON WHARTON dIRECTOR (fAR rIGHT). fILM, rOMANCE OF eLAINE 1915

pEARL WHITE (CENTER), lIONEL bARRYMORE (leFT), jAMES gORDON WHARTON dIRECTOR (fAR rIGHT). fILM, rOMANCE OF eLAINE 1915

 jUST me, BY pEARL WHITE. pUBLISHED 1919. Publisher New York, George H. Doran Company

jUST me, BY pEARL WHITE. pUBLISHED 1919. Publisher New York, George H. Doran Company

Pearl White (1889-1938)

Pearl White was an American silent film actress who achieved international fame. She is best known for action serials produced during an intense decade starting in 1914. The first was Perils of Pauline which was filmed in Ithaca. Other Pearl White serials include The Romance of Elaine, produced by Wharton Inc. Studios, an early silent film production company operating in Ithaca from 1914 to 1919.

By 1915 White had become one of the most popular silent film female stars. She was noted for performing many of her own daring stunts. Pearl White describes her serials in her 1919 autobiography, Just Me:

I’m always learning to do something new for each picture. I’ve even learned to fly an aeroplane, a feat that took me many months. If I have to jump off a moving train, automobile, etc., I always take myself out and try it several times until I get to be pretty sure of myself before they take the picture.

In 1923, she retired to France, where she died 15 years later.

October is Silent Movie Month in Ithaca, and the Wharton Studio Museum hosts a number of events throughout the month to celebrate the brief period in which Ithaca was a movie-making center in the early days of film.

 

 Exterior view of Greystone as originally built, from Cornell Rural School Leaflet, Vol. X, Number 1, September 1916

Exterior view of Greystone as originally built, from Cornell Rural School Leaflet, Vol. X, Number 1, September 1916

 Exterior shot of Greystone from "A Romance of the Air"

Exterior shot of Greystone from "A Romance of the Air"

FEATURED SITE

GREYSTONE, 106 Cayuga Heights Road, Ithaca

The Greystone mansion at 106 Cayuga Heights Road has star power. Designed by New York City architect John Van Pelt and built in 1913, the expansive private home was the backdrop for a silent movie filmed by the Wharton Studios. The Wharton brothers, Theodore (1875-1931) and Leopold (1870-1927), shot scenes from the World War I drama A Romance of the Air (1918) at the stately Greystone. The film starred actress Edith Day (1896-1971) and real-life aviator Lt. Bert Hall (1885-1948), whose autobiography of his exploits in the volunteer Lafayette Escadrilles air corps the film is based on.

Adding to its movie fame, Greystone was also the home of popular silent movie actress Irene Castle (1893-1969) and her second husband, Ithaca native Robert E. Treman (1888-1953). The golden couple apparently lived a Jazz Age lifestyle at Greystone, allegedly stocking the home with liquor before Prohibition and filling the back-yard swimming pool with barrels of seawater shipped from the East Coast. Today Greystone houses Sigma Chi fraternity.

 October is Silent Movie Month in Ithaca, and the Wharton Studio Museum hosts a number of events throughout the month to celebrate the brief period in which Ithaca was a movie-making center in the early days of film.


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