50 for 50: The Clinton House

The restoration and renovation of the Clinton House was Historic Ithaca’s most massive and long-term undertaking. Built as a grand hotel in ca. 1830 and designed by Ira Tillotson, its monumental Greek Revival style reflected Ithaca’s early prosperity. It was remodeled twice in its long history: prominent Ithaca architect William Henry Miller added a fourth floor, tower, and mansard roof in the Second Empire style, and Clinton L. Vivian largely restored the roofline to its original design following a fire in 1901.

In 1973, after the owner of the Clinton House announced plans to demolish the building and, in its place, build a junior Holiday Inn, Historic Ithaca took on the tremendous effort required to purchase the building, gather community support, and plan the restoration work. A handful of tireless individuals – executive director Carol U. Sisler and project managers Victoria Romanoff and Constance Saltonstall – and a crew of volunteer labor performed much of this work in the first, extensive phase between 1973 and 1975.

In later years, additional restoration projects and a major retrofit were completed. In 2009, Historic Ithaca sold the building, but it remains protected by covenants.


Photo by Constance Saltonstall

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.