Cornell Ag Quad Battle

Through much of the 1980s, Historic Ithaca was deeply embroiled in a battle over the fate of Cornell’s Agricultural Quad. In 1979, Cornell slated three of the Ag Quad buildings – Stone, Roberts, and East Roberts Halls – for demolition. Historic Ithaca and the Ag Quad Preservation Society pursued historic designation as a means to protect the buildings. Their nominations were approved, and the buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and designated as local landmarks in 1985. After this action proved insufficient, Cornell began an unannounced demolition of Stone Hall in 1986. Historic Ithaca’s attorneys quickly moved to halt the work in progress, literally coming between the wrecking ball and building with a restraining order in hand. But only a few months later, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the university was not required to seek the approval of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission. At the end of the year, Stone Hall was finally torn down, and in 1990, Roberts and East Roberts Halls were also demolished.

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