OUR STORY

Mission: 

To promote the value & enhancement of our historic buildings & neighborhoods through education, advocacy, & action.

Vision: 

For Tompkins County to be a community where historic places are treasured & preserved by all.

Established in 1966 as a community response to threats to downtown Ithaca landmarks, Historic Ithaca is the non-profit voice for preservation in Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes Region. We engage in Advocacy and provide Preservation Services to individuals, businesses, and municipalities throughout the Finger Lakes Region. We maintain a Library of the Built Environment, sponsor tours and lectures, and conduct hands-on workshops. Since 1991 we have operated Significant Elements, our non-profit architectural salvage store, through which we provide job training to youth and young adults with barriers to employment in our Work Preserve program.

 

Our headquarters are located at 210 and 212 Center Street in Ithaca’s historic Southside neighborhood.  Significant Elements and Work Preserve are housed in a 130-year old manufacturing building at 212, and our offices and library are next door at 210 inside a former neighborhood grocery. The Plain Street Mural completed in 2011 depicts the fascinating history of this rare surviving example of a timber-frame industrial building. 

OUR BUILDING'S HISTORY

Our 3-story warehouse was built in 1888 as a factory for the Electric Seamless Hosiery Company. Over its 130+ years, the building has been home to carriage manufacturing, blacksmithing, a corset company, warehousing, a shipping company, and even served as Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation's engine design facility during WWI.

1888: constructed for Electric Seamless Hosiery Company
ca. 1900-1914: Pritchard & Son, carriages and wagons, repository and factory

ca. 1915-1917: Burns Bros., blacksmiths, horse-shoers, wood and iron workers
ca. 1917-1919: Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation experimental plant
ca. 1919-1922: Miller Corset Company factory
ca. 1940-1941: Rothschild Bros. warehouse
ca. 1942-1956: Ithaca Delivery & Storage, motor freight company (see their original painted metal sign on our front desk!)
ca. 1957-1977: Harbeck Paper, paper and janitorial supplies, retail & wholesale
ca. 1979-2003: ICC Furniture Company

2003-present: Significant Elements Architectural Salvage Warehouse