The Boardman House

120 E. Buffalo St, Ithaca, NY 14850

The Boardman House is an impressive Italianate building located in the heart of downtown within the DeWitt Park Historic District. The building’s distinctive red brick façade with brown trim is recognized by anyone who has called Ithaca home. The house was constructed for George McChain in 1866 by A.B. Dale on land bought from Ezra Cornell. The building was bought in 1886 by Judge Douglas Boardman, who became the first dean of Cornell University’s law school in 1887. The building was sold to the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1911, which later became Ithaca College in 1932.

Ithaca's downtown Boardman House

Ithaca’s downtown Boardman House

Over the years, the house served many purposes for Ithaca College, including housing its administrative offices. Even after Ithaca College moved to its present location on the South Hill campus, the Boardman House continued to house the Ithaca College Museum of Art.

In 1969 the County expressed a desire to purchase the Ithaca College properties, leading to growing local concern. Historic Ithaca stepped in with a community campaign to emphasize the importance of the building. Eventually, the building was retained, although the surrounding structures were demolished by the County when they bought the properties. The Ithaca College Museum of Art continued to lease the property from the County until 1972. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Historic Ithaca was commissioned to perform restoration on various parts of the structure by the City of Ithaca from 1976-77. To learn more about the history of the Boardman House and the community’s efforts to save this landmark, visit us at 212 Center St, Ithaca, NY 14850.

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