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This list includes websites built to share specific aspects of Tompkins County history. Most projects engaged with and utilized archival materials and knowledge from The History Center in Tompkins County and Historic Ithaca archival collections, but were developed and maintained by groups and individuals independent from our organizations*. The research compiled remains available at the web pages below, but not all the pages are considered active projects in the community. If you're looking for active local history groups and projects explore the Tompkins County Historical Societies page.  

*The History Center in Tompkins County cannot guarantee the historical accuracy of these projects, and any views shared in them are not representative of The History Center's policies or approach to historic research and/or archival work. 

Underground Railroad Hub (launched in 2023)

The projects featured here provide information about documented underground railroad activities in our region, tell us about  the small Black communities that settled here to escape slavery after New York state outlawed it in 1827, and inform us about those ordinary people who braved assisting freedom seekers at great personal risk to themselves and their families.



Tour of the Underground Railroad in Ithaca (2022)

This tour was put together by the students of HISTORY 1200: “The Antiracist Workshop: Race and Writing in America and Europe” (Spring 2022) at Cornell University. Each student focused on a site, a person, and a document that illustrate this fascinating local history. 




CineFiles-Ithaca hopes to engage you in the world of silent film -- the then and now of it.  Stay tuned for monthly posts about silent movies from filmmakers, historians, culture critics, and film devotees,  CineFiles-Ithaca is brought to you by Wharton Studio Museum, which is preserving and celebrating the role Ithaca, NY played in early American moviemaking, 



Voices on the Underground Railroad (2021-2022)

“Voices on the Underground Railroad” is a collection of short narratives that Cornell University students have written and mapped on to documented and rumored underground railroad stations and safe houses in Central and Western New York.



Cayutaville Quilt & Other Stories (2016-Present)



Tompkins County Rural Black Residents Project (2021-Present)

The Tompkins County Rural Black Residents Project (the TCRBR Project for short) merges history, genealogy, census records, and maps to spatially contextualize the stories of rural black residents in Tompkins County between 1820 & 1870.



Bill Hecht's Scanned Images for Tompkins County

Local resident Bill Hecht has amassed an impressive index of hundreds of scanned images including: Maps, Gazettes, Stereo Views, Photographs, Postcards, View Books, Newspaper Articles, Books, and more concerning Tompkins County. 

Bill Hecht's Scanned Images for Tompkins County


THIS IS ITHACA (2019-Present)

THIS is Ithaca is a podcast series that highlights different residents living in the small, college town of Ithaca, located in upstate New York. Each episode is a 10-15 minute audio portraita glimpse into the life of an individual. It's their words describing their lives, their work, and their thoughts on community. This series began in 2019 and episodes premiered on WRFI and other streaming services.

Website: and



Stories from Inside” is a project and website created by the History Center Youth Ambassadors to present selected stories of Tompkins County residents during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. The website includes diaries, press releases, photographs, poetry, and more from people across the community, including students, teachers, business owners, and local government officials. This project was created by the History Center Tompkins County’s Youth Ambassador Program and the submissions used in the website are included in our COVID-19 in Tompkins County Archival Collection.



Names on the Land - Tompkins County (2016-2019)

Names on the Land–Tompkins County explored the distinctive place names of this Finger Lakes region—Cayuga Lake, Cornell Heights, Syrian Hill, Rachel Carson Way, Besemer Hill, and many others—give us a ready lens through which to understand the people who have settled the land, the hills and forests and waterways they have traversed, the homes and businesses and public sites they have built, the flora and fauna they have tended and protected, and the diverse cultures they have embodied.

This website and blog showcases the work of the Names on the Land research team, under the auspices of the Office of the County Historian, to update Place Names of Tompkins Countythe essential historical reference work produced in 2004 by Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen and county municipal historians.





Ithaca Heritage was an heritage tourism initiative made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts from. This initiative included programs such as the Tompkins County Heritage Ambassadors, the Ithaca Heritage blog, and events and materials like the Ithaca Heritage PocketSights Tours, and annual Historic Pub Crawl were co-created by Historic Ithaca, Visit Ithaca, The History Center in Tompkins County, and the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

The Ithaca Heritage website was taken down in 2021. The content of the website is held by Historic Ithaca and The History Center in Tompkins County, and the tours developed under the project are available on the PocketSights app.


ITHACA BUILDS (2013-2016)

Ithaca Builds ran from 2013-2016 as a platform for residents to explore, learn about, and discuss development in the Ithaca area. Articles were researched and written about historic structures and renovations for: Sage Chapel, First Presbyterian Church, Tompkins County Courthouse & Old Jail, The Boardman House, and St. Paul's United Methodist Church.




The Cayuga Heights History Project was founded in 2013 to launch historic preservation efforts within the Village of Cayuga Heights, Ithaca, in honor of its centennial. The program collected house histories, preserved public and private documentary and material sources, researched the history of the village through its living residents and built structures, and collaborated with community partners to share information about Cayuga Heights history.


Finger Lakes Finns

The Finger Lakes Finns is a New York State 501(c)3, not-for-profit, charitable organization or club, dedicated to the heritage of Finnish-Americans in the southern Finger Lakes region including the rural areas around Spencer, Van Etten, Newfield, Ithaca, Danby, Trumansburg, and Interlaken.


Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


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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


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