History Happenings    Late December 2018
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner
"Then & Now: The history of The History Center in Ithaca"
by Gene Endres, published in  The Ithaca Journal
 
As one year ends and another begins, we look to Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions and doorways. It seems especially apt for Ithaca's History Center.
 
The History Center is looking back to the past 25 years, when it has occupied the first floor of the Gateway Center Building at the foot of the East State Street hill. It is also looking ahead in 2019 to occupying part of the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture, former home of Tompkins Trust Co. for 145 years on "Bank Alley" on the Ithaca Commons.
 
It's always hard to pack up and leave a place you've called home for many years. You look back to the history of that place.
 
Early in Ithaca's settlement, the waters of Six Mile Creek were seen as a source of water and power. The downtown location along that stream became a cluster of mills, lumberyards, sheds, livery stables and even a power plant that energized the Ithaca trolley system.
 
In 1908, Tompkins County native Harold W. Dean opened a hauling business in a large red livery barn near the creek at the foot of the State Street hill. Within a few years, he had expanded his operation to include hauling, warehousing and livery - providing horses and vehicles for hire.
 
Seventeen doctors stabled their horses and carriages at Dean's livery. By the time the country entered World War I, Dean was using gasoline-powered vehicles as much as horse-drawn ones. In 1925, he built a six-story warehouse on the site of his stables. This noteworthy building was one of Ithaca's first cast concrete structures, and was home to Dean of Ithaca Moving and Storage warehouse and offices.
 
The building was bought by Don Dickinson in the late 1960s, who continued it as a moving and storage warehouse but in the early 1990s converted the first floor to a museum space with archives, a research library, and a large meeting and exhibit space. The local DeWitt Historical Society museum had existed in various spaces around the city. In 1994, it moved into the new space and then in 2004 became The History Center in Tompkins County.
 
By the turn of the 21st century, Don and his wife, Sue, were looking to spend more time in Florida, and reached an agreement with noted local developer Mack Travis to sell the building. Travis acquired the property along with additional land Dickinson owned along the creek, and began a conversion of the warehouse building into offices called the Gateway Center, eventually adding a nearby luxury apartment building: Gateway Commons.
 
When Tompkins Trust built a new headquarters on Seneca Street, which opened in 2018, their former space downtown seemed like an ideal spot for The History Center to attract more tourists and locals. Thus it was time to pack up everything once again, and prepare to move. The new plans were exciting, even including the restored Tommy airplane. There is much to look forward to, even as there is much history to look back on, as all of Ithaca moves on into the future.
 
Gene Endres is a research assistant at The History Center in Tompkins County, and a member of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society.
December Hours Update


The Gateway Center was previously the Dean of Ithaca building, a warehouse for a moving company, as shown in this photograph from the 1950s.
Retail Sales

Discounts of 20% off continue throughout our retail selection. Flash sales are being announced the day before on social media. Saturday's flash sale sold our aviation action figures, Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, at a much lower price for one day only. Watch social media today to learn of tomorrow's flash sale.

The History Center in Tompkins County is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at  @tompkinshistory. We like to be followed.

See a product here or on social media you know your cousin in Oregon or colleague in Sweden would adore? We can ship it for you via the United States Postal Service.

Another exciting product has recently arrived at our store: "Tommy plane" centennial shirts. We now have the remaining shirts from the memorable flight of the Thomas-Morse airplane in September. Available in Small through Extra-Large, each costs $20 including tax, with proceeds benefitting the Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation and The History Center. Make like trustee David Furber and soar over to buy your own.


Ithaca Our Home

Ithaca Our Home (A Forty Year Musical Odyssey in Tompkins County)
by local legend Johnny Russo is still available!

A great gift for birthdays, holidays, graduations... Buy it at The History Center, open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM through December 22. Or attend the  Hometown Music Makers' Revue  on December 8 at the State Theatre of Ithaca, hear Johnny and the East Hill Classic Jazz Band, and buy it after the show.  Out-of-towners can contact 607-273-8284 x227 or community@thehistorycenter .net to arrange purchase and shipping.
An 18 song CD is included with the book.  
Fundraiser for the Tompkins Center for History and Culture


Only a few more Tuesdays remain to support local non-profits dedicated to history and culture. Embrace the Irish heritage of Ithaca and enjoy a purposeful pint.

Thanks to Kilpatrick's Publick House 
for supporting the  future home of  The History Center and many other organizations!  
Love the Ithaca Kitty? Want to host a Kitty-Thon?

Freshly stuffed Ithaca Kitties are selling fast at The History Center. Want to keep the tradition going? Host a Kitty-Thon with your colleagues, relatives, or whomever.

Read J.T. Stone's  Ithaca Voice article about the November 18 Kitty-Thon with the Friends of the Library. Then get in touch with The History Center to schedule your own.

We are Moving!
Packing Highlights 




This food strainer is one of many kitchen utensils in our collection dating back many years. It is being packed as we prepare for our move to the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture.

Call for Supplies and Volunteers

We are in the midst of packing for our move to the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture. This means safely transporting thousands of artifacts, hundreds of paintings, more than 3,000 local history books, 1,200 historic maps, several hundred archival collections and over 100,000 photographs.

Please give us your NEWSPAPERS and MOVING  BOXES and BUBBLE WRAP and some but less of your MAGAZINES! Since we will use them for packing historical artifacts, we can only accept items that are CLEAN, DRY, and ODOR-LESS.

If you can drop them off, please bring them to the back of the Gateway Center at 401 East State Street in Ithaca, up the elevator or stairs to Suite 100, and drop off in marked boxes outside the doors. If you cannot bring them, please send us the address and potential day and time best for picking up, and if possible, they will be picked up.

While the collections packing has been going for over a year, the public-facing areas of The History Center will be packed in less than one month. If you like to organize, clean, enter data, or do odd jobs, we are looking for volunteers in January.

Contact 607-273-8284 x227 or community@thehistorycenter.net with questions and offers regarding supplies and volunteering. Thanks for your consideration.
Looking Forward to 2019

December 22 marks the last day of retail sales in the current location and thus the final day it is open to the public in any capacity. The History Center will organize off-site programming in early 2019, including a tour of the Namygal Monastery.

Packing will culminate in January. The actual move into the Tompkins Center for History and Culture will take several days. Unpacking will happen throughout February and March, with 110 North Tioga Street opening to the public in April 2019. 

Save the date for our Celebrating History Gala: April 11, 2019.

History Happenings will be sent only once a month during January, February, and March. You can always call, email, or message The History Center via social media with any questions or concerns.

Finally, we as k for your support once more:

We are not sure how much more we could have possibly "packed" into the past year! Thank you for your support, participation, guidance and enthusiasm as we prepare to relocate The History Center in Tompkins County to the new Tompkins Center for History and Culture (TCHC) on the Ithaca Commons. We look forward to sharing with you the exhibit gallery, the Thomas Moore "Tommy" plane, the walk-through timeline, the story vault, the Cayuga Nation/Gayogo̱hó:nǫ exhibit, the children's area, the research library, and the programming room. It will be exciting to be in this spectacular new space and to have several built-in partners for collaboration, starting with a series of opening events in spring 2019. This new location will increase our visibility in the community and provide a dynamic platform for us to fulfill our mission and to highlight how the past, present, and future weave together.

While there are tremendous opportunities, we are mindful that there will also be challenges. We will be open for increased hours and take on responsibilities as one of the major partners in the Tompkins Center for History and Culture. Thank you for your support so far. Please help us now by being as generous as you can to assist us with this critical transition. We are poised for success from all our hard work over the past few years. Your financial support enables us to reach further and achieve more.  We are making history for Tompkins County!

Help us "fly" into 2019 as the Tommy plane lands in our new home. Make your gift online here or mail it to 401 East State/Martin Luther King, Jr. Street Suite 100.  

CONTACT US
 
Rod Howe | Executive Director | Director@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 222
 
Donna Eschenbrenner | Archivist | Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 224

Julia Taylor | Youth Educator | EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 229

Lucy Walker |  Community & Visitor Outreach Coordinator | Community@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 227

Nancy Menning | Bookkeeper & Office Manager  | Admin@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 225

Cindy Kjellander-Cantu | Design & Support Specialist | Design@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 223

STAY CONNECTED @TompkinsHistory