ITHACA, N.Y. — In honor of Tompkins County’s upcoming bicentennial celebration next year, The Ithaca Voice will be launching a series of stories about Tompkins Country history.

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For week one, generous help from the Tompkins County History Center enabled The Voice to gather photos, images or paintings from the first 100 years of the county. You can expect part two with the following 99 years next week.

In the mean time, please email Managing Editor Jolene Almendarez at or reporter Michael Smith at with any tips of your favorite bits of Tompkins County history.


The county is founded and named after Daniel D. Tompkins, a governor of New York and later Vice President from 1817 to 1824.

A model of the steamboat Enterprise, the first steamboat to sail on Cayuga Lake in 1820, helping launch a prominent steamboat business in the county.

Ezra Cornell arrives in Ithaca in 1828 to look for work.

The Clinton House opens in 1830 and called one of the finest hotels west of the Hudson River.

In 1840, a major fire on Owego (later State) Street broke out, destroying a warehouse and damaging 30 other buildings.

Ithaca became one of the first communities in the country to get telephone service in 1876, as indicated by the painting of State Street above.

A photo of an Ithaca Street Railway car (Ithaca Trolley). The service began in 1887 was discontinued in 1935.

The Ithaca Municipal Airport opens near Cayuga Lake in 1912.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.