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Traverse Tompkins

What is Traverse Tompkins?

Executive Director, Benjamin Sandberg rides  his bike for as many miles as possible in 24 hours. Throughout the challenge, he explores historic sites across Tompkins County.

Walk, bike, or roll your way to your own 24-hour challenge, or leisurely explore Tompkins County through our tours on PocketSights. 

Traverse Tompkins started in the fall of 2020 as a unique fundraiser to support The History Center in Tompkins County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Benjamin Sandberg biked all around the county, live streaming videos exploring historical points of interest in each municipality. His challenge was to ride as many miles as possible in a single 24-hour period. Despite high winds and a flat tire, he was able to ride a total of 175.1 miles. Almost 100 individuals made pledges of 10¢, 25¢, and $1.00, and raised over $7,000 for The History Center in a time of incredible need and uncertainty.

The community feedback to the inaugural ride was overwhelming. Folks asked how they might participate in future rides, or reached out with suggestions about thematic focuses for future rides. And so, the concept of Traverse Tompkins was born - a way to inspire folks to explore Tompkins County by bike, by foot, or by car! We invite everyone to participate this year - whether it looks like exploring the historic fire sites, pledging to support someone else's challenge, or signing up on your own. Regardless of how you participate, we hope you find a moment to Traverse Tompkins!

How do I participate?


There are two easy ways to participate! The easiest way is to explore fires of Tompkins County. There's no cost to use a tour, but we hope to see people explore. Look for our signs with the Finding Fires logo at some of the sites around the county and tag us in a photograph on social media at @TompkinsHistory #TraverseTompkins. 

If you are up to the challenge, join our Executive Director to amplify the impact for The History Center in Tompkins County. Anyone who participates - no matter the miles! - in the challenge through our campaign site will receive this year's T-Shirt featuring the Finding Fires logo

Donate to Support the Traverse Tompkins fundraiser!

Cash Donations are accepted in our Exhibit Hall.

Checks can be mailed to:

The History Center in Tompkins County c/o Dave Dier   

110 North Tioga Street                   204 Suite A                                 Ithaca NY 14850

We accept financial donations by cash, check, and credit in any amount. 

The History Center in Tompkins County is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Learn more in our 2020 GuideStar Transparency Profile

EIN: 15-6024061        RULING YEAR: 1972

Need more info, or interested in sponsoring an exhibit or program? Call 607-273-8284-ext 222 or email Ben Sandberg at

2021 Theme: Finding Fires

The #2021 Traverse Tompkins explored Tompkins County through historic fires that impacted all corners of Tompkins County. Whether you stop at the site of the A&P fire rumored to be retaliation by the Mob on the present day Commons, or trek over to Trumansburg to learn about the master craftsmen who doubled as the Podunk Arsonist, our fires of interest are a great way to learn more about Tompkins County.

Funds raised: $10,891

Miles ridden: 349

Cyclists: 3

Find Your Fire on Suggested Trails

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory


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