50 for 50: The Boardman House

The Boardman House, a brick Italianate building in Ithaca’s downtown, was built in 1866, and for more than 50 years, from 1911 to 1968, served as a campus building for the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, which became Ithaca College in 1932. When Ithaca College moved its campus to South Hill, Tompkins County purchased the buildings, including the Boardman House. After determining that the house required restoration work that could not be funded, the county announced plans for demolition.

It may be said that the Boardman House was Historic Ithaca’s first major advocacy success. Historic Ithaca’s members, led by Constance Saltonstall and Victoria Romanoff, successfully delayed demolition for years through many forms of protest and propaganda, from posters to newspaper ads, and rallied thousands behind the cause. In 1976, the house was finally purchased to be converted into a planetarium, but after this plan was abandoned, was bought by Joseph Ciaschi, owner of the Station Restaurant (Ithaca’s first adaptive reuse project). The Boardman House is now owned by Boardman House LLC and is an integral piece of the DeWitt Park Historic District.

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