What should I do if I live in a locally listed property or historic district and I’m planning on some alterations and renovations?

All locally individually designated properties or properties within local historic districts fall under the purview of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City of Ithaca. You will need a Certificate of Appropriateness BEFORE you start work. There is also a guidebook online with photographs that offers some design guidelines. For information about the guidelines, the Certificate of Appropriateness process, locally listed properties and historic districts see the City of Ithaca’s website.

How can I nominate my property or neighborhood to the State and National Register of Historic Places?

Start with this webpage on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to learn more.

I’m looking for old hardware, windows, doors and other items for my house. Where can I find them?

We have a great selection at our Significant Elements architectural salvage and reuse store! Visit our website or facebook page or call us at 607-277-3450.

Where can I find contractors to work on my house?

We can help! Please email Christine or call us for some suggestions: 607-273-6633.

Can you visit my property so I can get some advice on where to start?

We can help! Please email Christine or call us for some suggestions: 607-273-6633.

I don’t want to research my property myself but I would like someone to do it for me. Do you do that? And can you see if it’s eligible to be nominated locally or to the State and National Registers?

We can help! We research and write house histories for a fee. Please email Christine or call us for more information 607-273-6633.

I’m interested in energy retrofitting information for my old house. Where do I start?

Start with our Energy Retrofitting Toolkit. Check out this tip sheet and the Get Your GreenBack Tompkins and the Energy Navigators program from Cornell Cooperative Extension and find information about heat pumps with HeatSmart Tompkins.

Where can I find information about old windows and how to fix them?

Start with this tip sheet before you work on your windows. See also Preservation Brief 9: The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows.

Where can I learn about tax credit programs for proposed work on properties listed on the National Register and find out if my property is eligible?

Start on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to learn more. There is also a local tax incentive program that you might be eligible for.

I would like to research my house in Ithaca. Where can I find Sanborn maps?

You can find color Sanborn maps online by searching in the “maps” section and “Ithaca” on the Library of Congress website. You can consult Sanborn maps online at HistoryForge and in person in the archives of the History Center in Tompkins County.

Where can I find other maps of Ithaca?

Some maps of Ithaca that are part of the History Center in Tompkins County collection have been digitized and can be found here.

Questions about genealogy and local history?

Reach out to the History Center in Tompkins County.




Historic Ithaca is sharing this information, however, we encourage you to get proposals from several companies so that their scope of work and fees can be compared and request references for similar work projects. Historic Ithaca is NOT liable in any manner whatsoever for any losses, claims, damages,  expenses or other liabilities resulting from or arising out of any work performed by any contractor on this list, nor for the negligence or failure to act on the part of any contractor on this list. Under no circumstances shall it be construed that this list creates a relationship of employer and employee, principal and agent, or partners or co-venturer among and between Historic Ithaca, Inc. and each contractor.  Each contractor shall be solely responsible for the means and methods that it employs in performing any work.

To research pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides for materials, fixtures or finishes in your home:


The Building Technology Heritage Library



To locate Ithaca city directories online: 

Tompkins County Public Library



To research the National Register status of a property within New York State:

Cultural Resource Information System



To research a particular town, village or hamlet in Tompkins County:

The Tompkins Country Historian



To research the history of Cornell University: 

Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection at Cornell



To research the history of Ithaca College:

Ithaca College Archives