VIRTUAL VIEWS

“We all have a natural impulse to explore, but it can be intimidating to step outside of what you know.”
- PocketSights

We have partnered with PocketSights to offer a FREE mobile tour guide app. 

 

Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can download the app for free from Google play or the App Store. We’ve partnered with The History Center in Tompkins County and other local non-profits to encourage preservation, educate visitors, and promote sustainable tourism all while telling the story of our community through the many historic voices that made it what it is today. 

 

While our tours focus on local history there are many other tours within Tompkins county to explore. Additional Tours

Click on any image below to see some of our favorite tours!

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ITHACA TOURS

Created by: Multiple

Historic Ithaca, The History Center in Tompkins County and other local partners have been partnering with PocketSights since 2017 in developing over 40 walking, biking, and driving historic tours of Ithaca and Tompkins County.  

 

Download the app today and start exploring!

 

Be sure to tag us at @historicithaca in any pictures you share to social media! 

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20 HISTORICAL BRIDGES

Created By: The History Center in Tomkins County

Each stop on the tour highlights one of Tompkins County's historical bridges, showing how it has been either altered or preserved over the years. Historical photos have been provided wherever available, as well as modern photos, taken by the authors in the spring of 2016.

The choice of bridges on this list was based primarily on the bridges identified as historic by HistoricBridges.org. Their list was supplemented by other bridges of local interest, including former and current covered bridges, a pedestrian bridge that is part of the rails-to-trails project, and additional bridges built by the Groton Bridge Company of Groton, NY.

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BARNS OF TOMPKINS COUNTY

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Historic Ithaca, The History Center in Tompkins County, and the New York State Barn Coalition believe that the historic barns throughout our county are assets and, in some cases, endangered resources. These types of buildings and the associated landscapes help define the Finger Lakes countryside. In this age of growth and expansion, they are swiftly becoming extinct. We hope this small selection of historic barns will provide you with an idea of how special these buildings are and encourage you to learn more. Please note that these are all private properties and, unless otherwise indicated, are meant to be viewed from the roadside.

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ITHACA LITERARY TOUR

Created By: The History Center in Tomkins County

Ithaca has served as the home for many notable writers, including multiple Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winners. Take this tour through Ithaca's literary past and learn about the places that famous authors lived and worked.

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ITHACA'S WOMEN OF NOTE

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

The Ithaca Women of Note Tour highlights the lives and accomplishments of prominent women throughout Ithaca's history who advanced the opportunities and participation of women in civic affairs, academia, or the workforce. Striving for the betterment of the human condition, these women became distinguished by their leadership roles in social clubs, national movements, or their profession. From institutional buildings and private residences to public parks, the Women of Note Tour covers a multitude of sites as they relate to each individual. The tour covers the first suburbs of Ithaca, including Cornell Heights and Cayuga Heights, as well as Cornell campus and downtown Ithaca.

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THE SOUTHSIDE LOOP

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

The Southside neighborhood has an African­ American heritage that dates back 180 years. From the founding of the St. James AME Zion Church in 1833 to the construction of the Southside Community Center in 1938 and beyond, the Southside has been a significant center of African American community life in Ithaca.

 

This walking tour provides an introduction to the Southside's history for native Ithacans and visitors alike.

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VETERANS' MEMORIAL TOUR

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Tompkins County honors veterans who have served during wartime in many ways. Volunteers decorate veterans' gravestones with American flags on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Parades include veterans and their supporters. At the "11 on the 11th" Veterans Day ceremony at DeWitt Park's War Memorial, attendees pay tribute to the fallen and their fellow soldiers.

 

Visit the sites on this Tompkins County Veterans' Memorials Tour to learn about the men and women who distinguished themselves through military service from the Revolutionary War to the most recent armed conflicts.

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ITHACA LGBTQ+ HISTORY TOUR

Created By: Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, Ithaca College

Bars and public spaces have been sites of queer and transgender resistance and resilience for decades. But many of the people and places that make up our history’s shared past have been forgotten, erased, overlooked, or ignored. This LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning) local history tour is designed to preserve some of the rich stories and heritage of our Ithaca community. Our cisgender heterosexual allies working in solidarity have also played prominent roles. This tour is for anyone wanting to learn about our local LGBTQ history and culture.

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DEWITT PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

DeWitt Park has been the heart of Ithaca's religious, educational, and governmental activities from the community's earliest days and is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in the city. It received both local and National Register Historic District designations in 1971. The district contains a wealth of architectural styles, reflecting the work of some of Ithaca's most distinguished architects.

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LOWER EAST HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

The East Hill Historic District on the slope between Collegetown and Ithaca's business district includes the greatest concentration of historically and architecturally significant buildings in the city. The buildings date from 1830 to the 1930s and reflect many popular American architectural styles. This tour describes twenty-seven buildings in the lower portions of the district (i.e., west of Stewart Avenue) and includes many examples of Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles. Also represented are Second Empire, Swiss Chalet, Richardsonian Romanesque, English Revival, and Mission styles.

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RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS, DOWNTOWN ITHACA

Created By: Historic Ithaca, 1995

These religious buildings reflect a wide range of architectural styles and sacred traditions. Anglicans, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Jews, numerous Protestant denominations are represented. The particular ecumenical practices of each group, as well as Colonial Revival architectural styles, changing tastes, local climate, and the availability of particular materials all influenced the design of these houses of worship.

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CORNELL HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT

Created By: Historic Ithaca

Cornell Heights was Ithaca's first planned suburb, intended by its developers as an exclusive "residence park" for families of the Cornell University faculty and wealthy businessmen and professionals. The distinct character of the district--defined by a curvilinear street plan, lavish landscaping, generous setbacks, and the imposing size of many of the homes--was part of the developers' original plan and has remained largely intact. The area was designated a National Register historic district in 1989.

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EZRA CORNELL

Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County

Ezra Cornell (1807-1874) spent his early life in DeRuyter, New York, and he first came to Ithaca at the age of 21. He worked as a carpenter and then in Jeremiah Beebe's plaster and flour mill. At the age of 47 he was bankrupt. By the time he was 57, however, his fortunes had changed after his hard work and investments in the early telegraph industry paid off. The philanthropist co-founded Cornell University in 1865.

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ITHACA COLLEGE'S DOWNTOWN ROOTS

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Ithaca College began modestly in 1892 as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, founded in downtown Ithaca by a local musician, violinist William Grant Egbert. The Conservatory grew during the following decades and affiliated itself with several local institutions and in 1931 it merged with its affiliated schools to become Ithaca College. Today the College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 125 disciplines and welcomes over 4,500 students at its South Hill campus.

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WILLIAM HENERY MILLER

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

William Henry Miller (1848-1922) was one of Ithaca's most prolific local architects, dramatically reshaping the built environment of Ithaca and Cornell University. After attending Cornell for two years, he began practicing locally, designing such landmarks as Cornell's McGraw Tower, Uris Library, Risley Hall, and Barnes Hall, and numerous private residences and local churches. Check out the corresponding PocketSights tour of downtown Ithaca for more information about Miller's work.

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VILLAGE OF DRYDEN

Created By: Historic Ithaca

The Village of Dryden, settled in 1797, is a vibrant rural community in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Located at the center of the Town of Dryden, the village was established at the crossing of two main roads, one running north to Cortland and the other running east to Virgil. Today, this historic crossroads remains at the core of downtown Dryden. The village boasts a charming business district, while the surrounding countryside is dotted with small farms and forests.

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VILLAGE OF CAYUGA HEIGHTS

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Founded in the early twentieth century, it has enjoyed a close relationship with the university ever since. A constant theme is the influence exerted on the village by Cornell, which in 2015 celebrated the sesquicentennial of its founding as Cayuga Heights celebrated its centennial of incorporation. In other respects the story of the village is typical of twentieth century suburbanization in the United States. First developed as a streetcar suburb, Cayuga Heights grew with the advent of the automobile, expanded in mid-century, and by century’s end met the qualifications of an inner ring suburb as development spread around it.

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HISTORIC HAMLET OF BROOKTONDALE

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

The hamlet of Brooktondale has seen many name changes since it was settled as a Military Tract land grant.

After World War II, Brooktondale grew as a residential area less dependent on farming, with more residents commuting to work in Ithaca. Today, both the Community Center (built in 1964) and Brookton’s Market serve as gathering places for what is now a primarily residential neighborhood.

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THE VILLAGE OF TRUMANSBURG

Created By: Historic Ithaca

This wide-ranging tour features some of Trumansburg's noteworthy historic and architectural landmarks, including the homes of some of the village's earliest residents and several structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each site highlights a unique aspect of Trumansburg's story. Join us on a tour through the village's vibrant landscape, where past meets present!

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WHARTON STUDIO SILENT FILM TOUR

Enjoy the experience of discovering Ithaca's unique contribution to American movie history brought to you by Wharton Studio Museum, a nonprofit education organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating Ithaca's silent movie history. 

 

The Whartons produced hundreds of reels of silent films and notable episodic serials such as "Patria", "Beatrice Fairfax", and "The Great White Trail." They used as their backdrop Cayuga Lake, the stunning gorges, Cornell University's campus and downtown Ithaca.

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HISTORY & ART IN DOWNTOWN ITHACA

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

A walking tour of murals in downtown Ithaca that explore local history, and historic figures with ties to Ithaca and Tompkins County.

Explore historic snippets of Tompkins County through this public art walking tour of downtown Ithaca. Murals were created by different artists over more than two decades. Not all murals featuring local history are listed, and we encourage everyone to explore and enjoy all the public art downtown.