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  • Writer's pictureHistoric Ithaca

514 South Aurora St. "The Home"

Updated: Jul 2

March is Women's History Month and this week we explore the fascinating history of "The Home" at 514 South Aurora St. Built in 1876 by William Henry Miller, ”The Home”: was a generous gift from Jane P. McGraw to the Ladies' Union Benevolent Society, serving as a residence for elderly and indigent women. This brick building with a slate roof, stone lintels, and foundation, features distinctive Ruskinian polychrome banding at window levels and trim.

The Ladies' Union Benevolent Society (LUBS), founded in 1869, was a secular agency dedicated to caring for Ithaca's less fortunate. The house initially began its mission by providing for 4-5 genteel but impoverished ladies.

The building stands as a testament to Ithaca's architectural heritage, showcasing remarkable details that capture William Henry Miller’s design skills. It also stands as an example of the late nineteenth-century charitable ethic of care for elderly women in the community.

Jane P. Turner McGraw, renowned for her charitable endeavors, including "The Home," is laid to rest in a prominent vault near the entrance of the Ithaca City Cemetery.

Today, "The Home" is a privately owned apartment building located at the corner of S. Aurora and Hillview Terrace in Ithaca, NY. In 1971, the LUBS continued their efforts to provide housing by opening McGraw House on S. Geneva Street as a modern Senior Citizens apartment building.

Special thanks to South Central Regional Library Council for their grant funding enabling the digitization of Historic Ithaca's tax photograph index cards (image above)

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