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educate•preserve• empower


Historic Ithaca engages with the community in speaking out about preservation and built environment issues, from promoting the cultural, economic, and sustainability benefits of historic preservation to opposing projects and actions that threaten historic buildings. Check here often for updates on various local, state, and federal advocacy alerts and issues.


This page includes links to relevant knowledge, resources, and frequently asked questions. We recommend you check this out wether you are refurbishing a historic home, renovating in Tompkins County, or are just looking to learn more about preservation in New York State. 


Historic Ithaca hosts a variety events, volunteers, and hands-on workshops throughout the year. Special events include walking and driving tours, lectures, and our annual October Cemetery Tour. See this page for upcoming events, ways to get involved and a list of self guided tours in and around Ithaca.


Historic Ithaca’s mission is to promote and preserve the built environment through education, advocacy and action.  For more than 50 years, we have engaged our community in valuing our buildings, landscapes, and historic sites through tours, lectures, educational programs, workshops and the delivery of preservation services.  Advocacy and action are at the forefront of our efforts to celebrate, sustain and maintain the historic and yet-to-be historic resources for future generations.


As a nonprofit, preservation organization, Historic Ithaca serves Ithaca and Tompkins County.  Our origins date to June 20, 1966, when Helen Duprey Bullock of the National Trust for Historic Preservation spoke to mostly members of the Downtown Business Women association at Reinhardt Interiors, Inc.  Bullock was in Ithaca for a Cornell University Summer Institute session, called Planning for Preservation. In that same week, following many months of debate and protest, Ithaca’s 1844 City Hall was demolished to make way for a parking lot. In her talk, Bullock suggested that citizens concerned about the preservation of historic buildings form an affiliate group of the National Trust, and that the group call itself Historic Ithaca, Inc. After this talk, a small group of attendees resolved to do exactly that, and Historic Ithaca was founded.

Our longstanding retail store, Significant Elements, is our firm commitment to environmental sustainability and preservation of our collective cultural heritage.  The store’s inventory includes architectural salvage, antiques, and vintage décor, donated by community members, contractors, businesses and institutions.  Sales support the programs of Historic Ithaca and Significant Elements.


Work Preserve, a job readiness and placement program, began in 2010 and offers participants the opportunity to build transferable job skills and gain financial independence. 

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CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, Zero Waste Development) is a collaborative network of planners, architects, preservationists, policymakers, salvage and reuse professionals, real estate specialists, academics, and students from around New York State. We welcome all who are working to create healthier communities through more sustainable treatment of our built environment. Historic Ithaca is a founding member of CR0WD and fully supports its mission.


We collectively acknowledge that Tompkins County is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Nation (generally known as the Cayuga Nation) one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (sometimes referred to as the Iroquois Confederacy). In our human history, the Confederacy precedes the establishment of white settlements locally and throughout the United States. We recognize this painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.   




"The only place in Ithaca to discuss preservation advocacy with the people who work on this issue every day. Kudos!"

Julee Johnson


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