There’s not much to say. My name is Brian Crandall, and I’m a recent graduate of Cornell, class of 2010. My two big interests in the school are its  history and the development of its facilities (and those of the surrounding area). As a result, the primary focus of my posts will be on those two subjects. I like to take my camera with me on campus and do photo tours when I have the time.

Although I try to keep the facts and history as accurate as possible, I make no claims to the validity of the information. In many cases, I have provided links to my sources, which are numbered and listed at the end of a post. Newer posts are linked to their sources.

I’m always open to suggestions for new topics to write about with regards to Cornell’s history and the physical development of Cornell and the local area. If you have an idea for an entry, feel free to leave a comment.

109 responses

18 09 2008
Donna Goff

The Greystone house was built by Alice G. McCloskey (of the Nature Studies department and editor of the Rural School Leaflet) and another woman. By the time Alice died 19 Oct 1915 she was the owner of the house. She left the house to her assistant, Edward Mowbray Tuttle (my husband’s maternal grandfather). Edward married in October 1919 and sold the Greystone to the silent film start in 1919. So there is more history than you think.


18 09 2008

Thanks for that extra information! Comments like yours help to fill in the grey areas of history and help to paint a broader picture of the local history. Much appreciated!

4 03 2009

Hi there,

Came across your blog while trying to figure out if Cornell Heights would be a suitable place for our family to move to. Thanks for the interesting and informative tidbits about houses on campus that I’ve admired but never ventured to find out more about.
On another note, any insights you can offer on living in Cornell heights ? Noise levels, parking issues etc. for a family with kids?


5 03 2009
B. C.

I don’t feel fully qualified to answer that, since I’m a mere student. However, there’s a website called http://www.city-data.com that has a forum of posters dedicated to answering those types of questions and offering insight on places you’re looking to relocate. Best of luck!

21 09 2011

I grew up in Cornell Heights on Dearborn Place but it was many years ago. There has been quite of development towards Triphammer Road but the Heights has many small side streets, without frats, that are quiet and residential. Many professors live there and walk to work. Student housing WAS at a minimum there so parking was not an issue but that may have changed over the years.

5 03 2009

Thanks – I know of city-data.com but doubt if it’ll be that specific.

20 04 2009

I just came across your blog. Always nice to see someone who has an interest in Ithaca and Cornell. I grew up in Collegetown (many years ago). Hope you don’t mind if I add some comments and info (and pics) from time to time.

21 04 2009
B. C.

Hi Ex! I have to be honest, this blog takes most of my free time, so this is why I don’t post so much to SSP anymore. Drop by anytime.


21 04 2009

I had a feeling this blog might be yours. Miss ya at SSP, but I’m glad you’re still around where I can see your pics and opinions.

13 07 2009

Hey, I’m a current student and member of the Greek community. Just wanted to say keep up the good work with this blog; I read it often.

13 08 2009
LWM '62

You have a wonderful site. Your photograph of my old fraternity, Chi Phi, is one of the best I have seen.
I was at Cornell earlier this month and saw something on the libe clock that I had never noticed before.
When it is four o’clock, the big hand is on the XII and the little hand is on the IV. OK… right dummy … but for nearly every other clock the IV is shown as IIII !
Google has numerous explanations for the IV vs IIII, but after all of these years it is the first time I had noticed it.
Just shows that we old frats still pay attention, and thanks for letting me post this meaningless piece of trivia!

4 12 2010

I think that the clock isn’t that unusual! I am looking at two clocks with roman numerals. One an Eddie Bauer with IV and the other with IIII. Also Westminster in England has IV. ?

17 08 2009
Ed Marion

I found this blog today. Nice work.

17 11 2009

This is an incredibly informative blog. Great work.

Any chance you could revisit Ithaca College for an update on what’s happening over on that hill?

11 12 2009

Your blog is great. I especially like your info on Fraternities and on Cornell History!

19 12 2009

Great site. I was wondering if you had any idea what the story was behind this (http://applesandvcrs.tumblr.com/post/289856748/near-fall-creek-gorge-cornell-university) style of graffiti that’s all over campus. I’m assuming they’re all from the same person/group. Anyway, keep up the good work.

30 01 2010
Andrew Brokman

I am also a Cornell student blogger, and I would like to talk with you about posting some of your stuff on OneCornell.com. I would do this by including the title and first sentence in a post on OneCornell, and if you click on it, or you click [Read more], it will go to your site so the reader could see your whole blog. I would also be willing to display your site on my blogroll which could be found throughout. Please give me an email back if this sounds like a good deal.

My goal is to make OneCornell more holistic, and I am sure you want to get as many hits as possible. I think this could be mutually beneficial.

16 03 2010

I’m following the Alpha Delta Phi story closely for personal reasons…

I would like to make you aware that the author of the leaked email is a pledge who was acting as spokesman for the pledges (note in the email he says “…each of us must have…”). If there is hazing going on you are publishing the name and email address of a potential victim. Please consider redacting his name and email address…it will continue to show up for years in websearches linking him to this epsiode.

While IvyGate is what it is, hopefully you have higher standards. Thank you.

17 03 2010

All the “thank you’s” in the world are insufficient…

3 04 2010
Dan Meyer

Great site; thanks for being there.

26 04 2010

Thanks for your blog. Saw your posts on some of the fraternities and your query about 103 McGraw Place before Watermargin (pre-1947). In your 12/22/08 post, you list Sigma Phi Sigma as a previous fraternity at 103 McGraw Place. This seems to be backed up by the information you have from other web sites like the TKE web site (http://lgbtrc.cornell.edu//dos/greek/chapter_details.cfm?id=3272) and the link to a 1928 map labeling 103 McGraw Place as Sigma Phi Sigma (http://reading.cornell.edu/reading_project_06/gatsby/cpa1.htm).
In your 11/29/08 post, you also say that Watermargin (103 McGraw Place) is the former home of Phi Kappa Psi (which I had thought from your post became Rabco Apartments, but maybe they had multiple houses). Where did you get this information that Phi Kappa Psi resided at 103 McGraw Place? Was that a typo? If not, was that pre- or post-Sigma Phi Sigma? The reference I saw about Phi Kappa Psi on their web page (http://www.phikappapsi-cornell.org/141-tour-history.asp) said they built on McGraw (no address given) in 1895, which would match with Cornell’s 1890 date given for construction of the 103 McGraw Place house (http://www.fs.cornell.edu/fs/facinfo/fs_facilInfo.cfm?facil_cd=4758). If you could clear it up, I’m interested.
Also in this 11/29/08 post, you mention Watermargin in the list of former fraternity houses that became co-ops. In addition to being the former home of Sigma Phi Sigma, Watermargin actually started as a fraternity before it became a co-op, so it’s also the previous home of Watermargin fraternity.

27 04 2010
B. C.

The info for 103 McGraw Place came from an old Cornellian (1906), but it also matches with the chapter’s history webpage


Phi Kappa Psi lived in 312 Thurston (the old Wyckoff mansion) from 1915-1963, so I’m fairly sure that they lived in the Watermargin property from the 1890s to about 1915. I do not know if what the house was used for between 1890 and 1895, but an 1892 Cornell Daily Sun directory of fraternities found elsewhere on this blog suggests it was not used as a fraternity house during that time. Hope that helps!

28 07 2011
Dan Meyer

We built the Piano Box, 1 McGraw Place, in either 1890 or 1895, moving to the Fraternity Reserve from 72 Huestis Avenue (former Dinos and Nines) in C-town; stayed at the Piano Box until 1915, selling to another fraternity; from 1915 to 1964, we were at 312 Thurston Avenue; then back to West Campus in 1964.

9 04 2014

This article in the sun is about when Sigma Phi Sigma buys Watermagin from Phi Kappa Psi, if you’re still interested: http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cornell?a=d&d=CDS19150525.2.18&srpos=1141&e=——-en-20–1141-byDA-txt-txIN-sigma+phi+sigma—–#

I’m also not entirely sure yet what happened to the house in the seven years between when Sigma Phi Sigma becomes inactive in 1940 (http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cornell?a=d&d=CDS19401101.2.13#) and when they became an established co-op in 1947. There is evidence that the house was used for military purposes in WWII (http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cornell?a=d&d=CDS19430828.2.2&srpos=62&e=——-en-20–61-byDA-txt-txIN-103+McGraw+Place—–#) and that Watermargin was a University owned building at the time.

8 06 2010

Does the name C.W. Mason ring any bells? I was exploring a friend’s attic in Upper Collegetown, and we found “This House Was Built by the Retired Reverend C.W. Mason” written in chalk on one of the rafters. Basic googling revealed this: http://www.marshallhistsoc.org/mason.html; I could guess that Clarence William Mason could have picked up carpentry skills in those lumber yards. I’d love to hear if you have any background on this guy. Thanks!

13 06 2010
B. C.

I have not come across any information about C.W. Mason apart from what you’ve posted, but time wise it makes sense. Upper Collegetown was built out from about 1900 to about the WWII era, giving way to the East Hill area for newer developments. It seems fitting that he would buy a lot and build a house after his retirement (persumably 1920s or early 1930s) in a neighborhood that was still expanding at the time.

24 06 2010

Hello. I’m a former Cornell student. Have you ever come across what I call the ‘Secret Garden’ in Cayuga Heights? Not sure what it is, who owns it or its history but I’d be very interested in learning more about it. To find it walk on the left side of Stewart Ave heading North (heading away from the University into Cayuga Heights). Cross Fall Creek and Carl Sagan’s house. Continue until the ground falls away to the left of the sidewalk (concrete embankment raises the sidewalk up). I believe this is between Edgecliff Pl and Needham Pl. The ‘secret garden’ as I call it is right below the embankment. To get down you need to continue North until you get past the embankment, really close to the nearby house at the corner of Stewart and Needham. Head down and back south following the ground under the embankment (it may be trespassing at first because it seems like you need to walk on their property, not sure). You will find that, while very overgrown and neglected, the landscaping has been sculpted. There are small ponds, old concrete bridges over the stream, and the remains of concrete benches (no longer intact at all) and some kind of concrete alter.
I’ve always wondered about the history of the place. Who built it, for what purpose, and why did it fall into such disrepair? It is very beautiful and interesting. Well worth a visit. The only problem is to get down you have to briefly walk on the land of that nearby house (whose property may include the ‘garden’ for all I know) as I mentioned before so it might technically be trespassing. Nothing posted, however and I never ran into any trouble.

10 07 2010
Dan Meyer

Promise me you will turn this into a treatise mapping the mind of Cornell University and its architectural and construction decision-making; there is something deep and existential in the warped manner in which all this is done — especially this Gates Hall thingy. Hey, and the discussion of where Engineering buildings end and begin had me in stitches; they are almost like competing tumors looking for more space. For Ellis Phillips, here is some background: http://www.ellislphillipsfndn.org/ellislphillips/history.html

15 09 2010
Ron Demer

Your article about the former “hat clubs” Majura Nolanda and Beth L’Amed says they were banished from campus to the dustbin of history in 1949 after a member almost died of alcohol poisoning. Not so. They existed during my years at Cornell (1955-60) and are listed with member lists in the 1960 Cornellian pages 138-139.

9 03 2011

Really like your site, I am really into fraternal history and I enjoy your blog regularly. One bit of info that I think you may have missed in the “Fraternities You’ll Never (Probably) Visit” post. Phi Sigma Delta nationally merged with ZBT in 1969. The Cornell PSD chapter did not want to merge with the local ZBT chapter, they went local and petitioned AEPI whose chapter went inactive the year before. So one of AEPI’s multiple revivals stem from PSD.

28 06 2011

Hey how do I follow this like with RSS or google reader?

17 10 2011
Laura McCullough

looking for info on Ithaca College Circle Apartments.
found your blog very interesting.
have been a resident since 1986.
thanks for all the tidbits

19 11 2011

This is a great site. Have you done presentations to the community? Are you planning any in the future? The information and insight you provide should be visible to the entire community. Do other local website intentionally link to yours? …links to your site from other sites related to Ithaca and Tompkins County? Have you written for any of the local papers such as Tompkins Weekly or Ithaca Times? You offer a much needed public service. Thanks.

26 07 2012
Wand'rly Magazine (@WandrlyMagazine)

Howdy – wasn’t sure of how else to get in touch with you but as you seem to be the premier blogger who’s still posting in Ithaca, I thought you might be interested in an issue of our travel magazine we just put out which is 100% all about Ithaca & Cayuga Lake.

27 07 2012
B. C.

Hi! To be honest, I no longer live in Ithaca, although I have friends that still do. My body resides in one place and my heart lies in the Finger Lakes. I followed the link back to your twitter account, and what I can see, it’s a nice piece of work. I’m sure the county visitors bureau will be tickled pink.

13 03 2017

Hi. I just discovered your blog and wanted to say thanks for all the effort and interesting info. I’m looking forward to browsing some more posts when I get a chance. I grew up in Ithaca, went to Cornell, graduated with my Dad (his 2d Cornell degree) as Cornell’s first (supposedly) simultaneous parent-kid graduates, and now live near D.C. I never joined a frat, but my Dad was a ZBT alum who years later served as the Cornell chapter’s “grown up” (“adviser”?… not sure what you call the community member of a frat’s board of directors). He also was the creator of the “Ithaca Is Gorges” bumper sticker. I still have friends and relatives in Ithaca but don’t get up there nearly enough. Thanks again and… Blog on!

13 03 2017
B. C.

You dad was Howard Cogan? Mr. “Ithaca is Gorges”? He’s in the pantheon of Great Ithacans.

With work and luck, Ithaca will continue be as “gorges” as your father thought it was. Thanks for dropping in.

6 09 2012

Hello – I like your blog. You do a nice job.

The Cornell Heights Neighborhood is going to have a relatively informal ‘meet and greet’ with our ward 5 Alderpersons on 9/11 at 7pm. You are welcome to come if you can. If interested email me.

26 10 2012

Great job reporting on the blog, which I have been reading for years. I’d like to contact you offline by email, if possible.

26 10 2012
B. C.

Thanks! I can be contacted at ithacating*at*gmail.com.

29 12 2012

I wonder if you can comment on the number of new apartments being built in Ithaca from a historical perspective? It seems like there are many coming online but I don’t have a long enough perspective.

8 04 2013

Hello Branca,

I am a entering Grad Student at Cornell this fall and I am hoping to live near or around the commons area. I have had trouble finding places in the area and I was wondering if you knew any developments that were near completion for the upcoming fall semester, or of any places that caught your eye in the commons area. I would appreciate your help.

8 04 2013
B. C.

I don’t recommend specific places, and the housing under construction near the Commons is geared away from students. the largest student development underway is Collegetown Terrace.

You might take a look at the catch-all for apartment listings: http://ithacarents.com/
Craigslist is another good option.

26 07 2013

Any updates on various condo projects that have been talked about in Ithaca (Cayuga Green, Gun Hill, others?). I’m staying in Ithaca after graduation and would like to buy something in the next few years. Condos typically sell for less than a free-standing home. What’s going to develop in the next couple of years that maybe I should wait to see, or will it be nothing worth waiting to see?

27 07 2013
B. C.

Cayuga Green is undergoing site prep/testing, with the aim of starting construction by the fall. Gun Hill, as I have it understood, is being tweaked but has been making progress towards something workable for the site. Most everything else I’m aware of is apartments. There are some older condos in Ithaca, such as Sevanna Park (60s era) and Commonland Community (80s era). Some other condo communities are covered here: http://www.cjhomes.com/condoreport.html

Hope that helps!

19 12 2013

Hi Brian.. Really like your blog, have been following for a few years now. Was wondering if you know anything about the Tao Epsilon Phi building.. I know the frat was banned earlier this year, but was wondering about the building itself. I live in the neighborhood, and every time I pass it, it looks more and more abandoned. Have you heard anything about them and what may happen to their building?

21 12 2013
B. C.

Hi Heather,

The building is owned by their alumni group. The fraternity had its university recognition revoked in January after a strange but disturbing hazing incident in the fall of 2012. These revocations/expulsions typically last for a minimum of four years (to remove any students with ties to the defunct chapter). So, I imagine January 2017 might be their first opportunity to reoccupy the house as a fraternity. In the meanwhile, it’s up to the alumni board to decide how they want the house filled, if they want it filled. Some do renting to private groups, other mothball properties. Theoretically, they could also opt to let it fall into disrepair, and there’s little legal recourse as long as they keep paying taxes on the parcel. Hope this provides some insight!

7 01 2014

remove the ‘ small ‘ to get the big versions

7 01 2014
B. C.

Nice aerials of the Ithaca/Cornell area. They look to be from about summer 2012, given the state of Collegetown Terrace. Thank you for sharing!

17 01 2014

Hey BC,
I’m guessing you’ve seen the article (1/17/14) in the IJ regarding the new Incubator which will occupy part of the Carey Building (and will include up to three more floors added in the future). Looks like Mr. Travis is putting the final nail in the thought of another Hampton Inn going in that area.

17 01 2014
B. C.

I did notice that. I had heard something was planned for the Carey Building’s space. I’m also keep an eye out for any conceptual massing or renderings of the additional three floors they’re considering for a future expansion.

10 04 2014

Hello Brian – thanks for this wonderful blog! Very helpful as I plan to move to Cornell in the fall for grad school. Two questions: 1) Assuming that the Greenways project is dead? 2) Any thoughts on Eastwood Commons and/or Commonland Community? Please feel free to respond via email. Thanks again!

10 04 2014
B. C.

Hi Beth, thanks for dropping by! Regarding Question 1, I’d say it’s not dead, just on the back burner. INHS, a local non-profit housing developer, is partnering with Cornell (and both move at a glacial pace), and the time frame for its construction has the project starting construction in 2015, with build-out over a few years. Regarding Question 2), I know someone who’s very familiar with those developments, and she just gave the okay for me to pass on her email. I will get that out to your gmail later this evening.

23 04 2014

Hi Brian.

I’d be interested in your contact re: #2 as well.

10 04 2014

Thanks so much for the response and the help, Brian!!

19 04 2014
Jackie Sutton


This blog is excellent. I’m a fellow Cornell Alum (class of 2006), and have been teaching history since my graduation. (Took a year off to get my MA at NYU). Your photography is excellent. I’m looking forward to reading your future posts.



19 04 2014

Hi Brian,
Hope you’re doing well. Jeff Stein here, former managing editor of the Cornell Sun. I thought I had your email address but haven’t been able to find it — mind shooting me a message at jstein1129@gmail.com? Take care. The blog looks great.

23 04 2014


Check out this really fascinating interactive map (and the associated study) that shows for Tompkins County you need an income of $18 an hour just to afford a 1 bedroom apartment.
That’s about 50% more than some of the surrounding counties.


In fact, TC is higher than ALL upstate counties. the next closest counties are way downstate — Orange and Dutchess. Tompkins County is ranked 94th out of all counties! Even worse than the North Dakota boom towns.

Granted, there are very few counties that are as student/college dominated as Tompkins (Centre county in PA, home of State College is another one). However, the student population (supported in this town by affluent parents) has a very definite upward pressure on rents. No wonder we’re seeing an increase in rental developments (mostly on the expensive side).

Also, this helps explain the great influx of traffic every weekday into (and out of) Tompkins County from people living in the more affordable adjacent counties.

23 04 2014
B. C.

Interesting article, thanks for sharing Tina. There’s without a doubt a housing crunch in the Ithaca metro, Ithaca Builds actually just posted an article about that this afternoon: http://ithacabuilds.com/2014/04/23/affordable-housing-in-ithaca/ . The relative isolation of Ithaca, a growing job base, the student population and other factors have become a sort of perfect storm for rapidly rising rents, and in the long-term I don’t believe this is sustainable outside the college student market. There are at least surrounding towns and counties to temper the impacts, but I really feel the ball is in Ithaca and Tompkins County’s court, they can either be proactive with the encouragement of smart growth and affordable non-student housing, or it can go one of two negative ways: 1) so much restriction that there’s no construction, prices continue to rise rapidly and middle-income residents are priced out of the area, or 2) a lack of oversight that would allow unsustainable sprawl. Developers see the area as a strong and profitable market, so it’s up to the community and its representatives to play this to Ithaca’s advantage.

I’m also checking right now with my friend to see if I can pass on her contact info, I’ll send you an email if she’s okay with me sharing her email once again.

24 05 2014

Hey BC, I sent you a PM on SSP when you get a chance.
Also, thanks for keeping up the blog, always a treat when I see a new post.

14 06 2014
chad moore

The old Friendlies at 323 Elmira Rd being remodeled for?

14 06 2014
B. C.

I haven’t seen any paperwork or news about the old Friendly’s, but I’ll check.

15 06 2014
B. C.

It will be a Denny’s.

H/T to Jason over at Ithaca Builds.

20 06 2014

I just stumbled upon a new info center, check out SSP PM.

6 08 2014

There’s quite an article ref: hotel rooms in the Ithaca Times.

6 08 2014
B. C.

Oh, I noticed. and read through it with interest. I plan to include it in my next news roundup.

7 08 2014

I didn’t think they could sneak that one by you.

13 12 2014
David Harding

Hi Brian,

I found your blog a couple of months ago and have enjoyed browsing. I grew up in Collegetown. My parents rented an apartment at 208 N Quarry St for two years (1953-1955) while I attended Cornell Nursery School. We cut through the lot at 707 E Seneca St to get to the East Hill School playground. Then they bought the house at 202 Eddy Street, the one that burned this past March. We lived there 1955-1978, while I attended East Hill Elementary School, the old DeWitt Junior High, IHS, and Cornell (undergrad through PhD).

It will be interesting to see how the new apartments at 202 Eddy turn out. I’ve been poking around through various on-line sources trying to reconstruct the history of the original building and the ones around it. I’ve also been looking at its first owner and presumable builder, William H Perry.

I also have a tie to Cornell Heights, having walked through it every day for several years while living at the Residential Club (now Hurlburt House) and Kappa Delta Rho. By the way, in contrast to our TEP neighbors, KDR got a minor facelift this fall.

6 01 2015

Hello Brian,

My fraternity brother above, Dave Harding ’71, mentioned the improvements at KDR. As a Board member, I directed the work in Sept and Oct of this past year and would be glad to share the details with you. Please contact me at thyngsd@gmail and provide me your direct email — I can then send you a full description of the work along with good pics of before and after. This might be the basis of your monthly blog soon. It is good to highlight long term structural improvements like ours in the Cornell community. We believe that our new official color scheme is quite unique and distinctive in our almost 40 chapters nationwide. We also have very nice new evening lighting at the house that you should see at night. Hope to hear from you !

Scott D. Thyng ’72

Kappa Delta Rho, Beta Chapter
312 Highland Rd
Ithaca NY 14850

10 03 2015

Hello, I really appreciate you posting updates on ongoing construction projects in Ithaca and articles about architectural history of Ithaca. I was wondering if you could provide updates on the cornell linac project (https://brancra.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/whatever-happened-to-the-cu-erl-project/)
I havent heard anything about it or if the project is even on at all.

10 03 2015
B. C.

The last I heard a few months ago was that the ERL project doesn’t have the funding to move forward, and is not likely to have the funding to move forward for at least the next few years.

22 04 2015
Jonathan Ochshorn

RE: FIne Arts Library in Rand Hall, you may be interested in my recent blog post: http://jon.ochshorn.org/2015/04/cornells-proposed-fine-arts-library-in-rand-hall/

22 04 2015
B. C.

That is very interesting. I’ll refer readers to your post in my next news roundup. Thanks for sharing Jonathan.

18 05 2015
Stuart Lewis

Brian: would you kindly add me to your list of those receiving your Blog. I would appreciate that. Stu Lewis Email: bowtie023@aol.com

17 06 2015

Thanks for the grey website. I’ve just been accepted to grad school at Cornell and am looking for some guidance on where to live. I am married and have a 2 year old so obviously safety is the number one priority. Beyond that I am looking for a good neighborhood that is located reasonably close to campus as well as other amenities.

Do you have any thoughts?

18 06 2015
B. C.

Hello T,

It depends on what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, and what your price range is. Fall Creek is where a lot of young families live, including many Cornell grad and professional students. Bryant Park might have some units, but tends to be more expensive and permanent-resident oriented. Eastern Heights and Lansing are further out and slightly cheaper, but tend to offer fewer amenities and are more car-dependent. I’d advise staying out of inner Collegetown, which is mostly undergraduates. Try Craigslist to see what’s available, and ask for more advice on city-data.com or Reddit. If you’re still unsure where to move, I can pass on the name of a couple realtors who can help you out.

17 11 2015

Hi Brian, this is KiRa from Carol Bushberg Real Estate, we have a new listing for sale we thought you might be interested in knowing about. It’s a piece of land in the Town of Ithaca that is potentially sub-divisible into 26 building lots. All services are available. Do you have an email address I can send our marketing packet to? It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens. Thanks! KiRa

17 11 2015
B. C.

Hi KiRa,

ithacating*at*gmail.com will work. I’ll include it in the Friday news round-up. Thanks for the info, it’s much appreciated!

15 12 2015

Hi Brian: What about a story on the road closure on Cornell’s campus at Forest Home Drive and East Ave. Busy intersection for student walking. Students are hopeful this will turn into a permanent closure because of the ease in crossing the closed portions side of road. No one seems to know what is going on there. Thanks, Enjoy your Blog.

7 01 2016

Came across your website while researching property sales for a lot of land in the 400 block of Troy Road. It’s been sold numerous times now since you reported the following in September 2015:

“Meanwhile over in Danby, Chris Petrillose of Petrillose Properties picked up a 2.11 acre parcel along the 400 block of Troy Road for $34,000. Given that that area has seen a lot of scattered small-scale development (1 & 2-family homes) in the past few years, and that Petrillose finished work on duplexes in Ithaca town, a couple rental units seems likely.”

Neighbors on Troy Road have ‘heard’ that a development company is now the the third buyer of this land since it went on the market last year and is now slated to become a group home – in the middle of residential homes. Do you have any information on this?

7 01 2016
B. C.

I’m aware that it was resold (at a tidy profit, all things considered) in November to someone who lives nearby. I am not aware of any plans, but one thing to consider is that if it’s a small group home (like the size of a single-family home) that meets zoning regulations, it’s permitted by the town’s low-density residential zoning without the need of planning board or BZA approval: http://ecode360.com/8661813

7 01 2016
B. C.

Quick addendum – there was a second parcel further south on the 400 Block that sold to a development company and was previously sold in 2011. The company is Castle Peak Dev. LLC, which is Avalon Homes’ parent company. If someone were planning group housing, it wouldn’t be Avalon’s typical approach (they do for-sale single-family housing), but it’s not impossible.

7 01 2016

Is it not the same parcel? Chris sold it (and yes, for a nice profit!) and unfortunately I cannot locate whom he sold it to, it had been listed in the Ithaca Journal and now I can’t find it. To the best of my knowledge, there was not another parcel up for sale in the 400 block of Troy Road. Neighbors are highly suspicious because at this time, the only activity that seems to occur on this parcel of land is late at night. How big was the parcel of land that Castle Peak Development purchased?

7 01 2016
B. C.

They’re two separate parcels. The first one is the 2.11 acre 4.-1-34.1, between 417 and 455 Troy. Castle Peak’s is 4.-1-43.4, a 4.75 acre parcel between 467 and 487. They purchased it on December 8th.

29 05 2016

Hi Brian,
This is a wonderful site – I read it weekly and love the way you stay up to date on virtually everything. One thing I’ve noticed recently is a trend towards carving off building lots from existing parcels in the Village of Cayuga Heights. One of these came before the ZBA I serve on a couple months ago, and two more are before our Planning Board now. I think you mentioned a small but similar pattern developing in the City of Ithaca – any thoughts on what’s happening and why?

29 05 2016
B. C.

I have noticed that (Berkshire, Highland, Triphammer), and I dunno if there’s a general trend towards it, or just an unusual coincidence. In many of the cases, the subdivisions appear to be for double-lots, properties that had previously been consolidated, or at least the older filings of the plat subdivisions seem to indicate as much. I’d say most of the ones in Ithaca city fall into this category – for example, 203 Pearl was consolidated with 201 by its previous owner and used for an in-ground pool, but the couple who brought the property five years ago decided to build a rental house in place of the pool, and sub-divided the properties. Reasons for the subdivisions will vary – the new owners might want the financial gain from sale, they may seek to develop the other parcel and rent it out or use by a child or elder parent, or it may be a split of land holdings between family members.

30 05 2016

Thanks – the numbers are low enough that it could easily be coincidence. It isn’t something I remember seeing much until recently, and there probably aren’t that many parcels that could be split easily anyway.

4 12 2016
Steve Fontana

Hello Brian,

I’ve greatly enjoyed your column over the past year since I discovered it. As a native Ithacan who grew up working in Collegetown and attended Cornell, I especially appreciate your pieces on East Hill history.

I had an idea for a topic. The local architect Jagat Sharma has been the designer for the majority of the apartment buildings since the “bad old days” of CTown in the 70’s. He was my architect for the 401 Eddy, 109 Dryden, and 327 Eddy projects. He is a very interesting man, and has quietly been the guiding hand behind most of Collegetown’s private sector transformation.

An interview with Jagat may be a nice fit to the work you’ve done over the past six years.

Keep up the good work!

Steve Fontana
Fontana Apartments
saf25 @cornell.edu

4 12 2016
B. C.

Hi Steve,

If only he’d agree to it. I’ve been trying to interview Jagat for years, but he does not wish to be interviewed.

26 05 2017
Jack Young

If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see happen in the southern part of the Town of Lansing, I’d be interested in hearing from you. My impression is that the Town is open to many possibilities, and if they can bring sewer up from the south it could be one of the most innovative areas for development over the next 20 years. I suspect that most landowners there would be quite receptive to your ideas – I certainly would.

Jack Young

30 05 2017
B. C.

Hi Jack,

With my work for the Voice, it’s toeing an ethical line to make suggestions, but I’d start with looking at the 2016 county housing study and at current market trends. We know that there’s a big demand for moderately-priced for-sale housing, and even bigger demand for rentals. Then there’s acknowledgement of the challenges – cost of materials/labor, access to infrastructure, the entitlements process. It’s up to what each developer is comfortable with. Would a suitable ROI be achieved with a modular setup like Tiny Timbers, would townhouses like those at the Belle Sherman Cottages work? If a larger project, maybe a mix of rentals and for-sale? Are concepts like aging-in-place or sustainability important to the developer’s ethos?

My own opinions trend towards Form Ithaca’s: for South Lansing, maybe smaller (<2000 SF) for-sale units on smaller lots, maybe townhomes or "missing middle" housing where feasible, with more traditional street networks (connected internal roads, sidewalks) and easy access to trails or neighborhood commercial retail (a mixed-use component would be great). I think those features would help Lansing capitalize on trends, tapping into some of what makes Fall Creek and Belle Sherman so desirable, but perhaps at a lower price per SF, with lower-maintenance, more energy-efficient living.

10 06 2017
Jack Young

Thanks very much for the suggestions – I would definitely like to see a mixed-use component in that area, being a big fan of neighborhoods where you can meet your basic needs without having to get in a car multiple times each day. I have to admit, however, that I’ve been stunned by the cost of building infrastructure locally – the price of roads, utilities and storm water management facilities alone make moderately-priced neighborhoods hard to develop profitably given current conditions. Sadly, that constraint promotes sprawl along existing roads rather than green-field development in close-in areas like southern Lansing – a classic case of unintended consequences. We hope to try something along these lines in southern Lansing if sewer does eventually come to the area, but without it I’m not sure I see very many options to change the template that others have used so far. As a community we put a lot of energy into defining what we’d like to see locally, but not much attention gets paid to making sure it’s affordable. And if it’s not affordable, it doesn’t happen. That being said, my impression is that the Town of Lansing understands these tradeoffs, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

My own personal dream is to build clustered developments of 20 to 30 houses each around a “Village Green”, surrounded by common land and complimented by small amounts of neighborhood-focused commercial, apartments/townhouses, recreational facilities and footpaths. I would also like to see a more substantial bike/walking trail connect these developments with the Village of Lansing and also run north towards the proposed Lansing Town Center.

There would be a passing resemblance in these clustered developments to Eco-Village, but more so to a traditional English Village. I believe that development along these lines could capture many of the environmental benefits of Eco-Village without requiring a deep social and political component that would put some buyers off. Southern Lansing already has a bit of commercial, recreational facilities like The Rink and Eastlake, several nature trails and a great close-in location. All it would take to open up the possibility of tying all this together and making it into a unified neighborhood is sewer access and a positive attitude towards testing the options that sewer access would allow.

Any additional feedback would be appreciated, of course!

24 07 2017

I would love another update on the 201 college Ave building as I am a tennant patiently waiting to see if it will be done. It is only two and a half weeks away from its move in date so I would love to see some pictures and thoughts about how it has progressed and your thoughts on the remaining timeline.

7 08 2017
Fred Conner

FYI, I notice that Cornell is excavating in the empty lot on University Ave (next to Phi Sigma Kappa) where CU razed a building just a year or so ago.–Fred

17 08 2017
B. C.

Hi Fred,
Thanks for the heads up. I checked the project site, checked the facilities website, but I’m still not sure about the scope of the work. Hoping to find out soon.

5 09 2017

Brian, Just wondering if the City Centre and Harold’s Square projects are considering posting construction cameras while the buildings are going up?

6 09 2017
B. C.

Not that I’ve heard, although TCAD occasionally offers photo updates of City Centre from their office overlooking the site.

7 09 2017

Too bad, that could have been a bit of good publicity for the community to enjoy.

3 12 2017

We live in Belle Sherman and would like to get your blog.

22 01 2018
Keith Eisenman '01

That HOLT project is Watkins Glen, it matches up perfectly on Google maps

22 01 2018
B. C.

So it is. Thanks for solving that mystery Keith!

8 08 2018
William Warmus

Cornell is in the process of some major changes to the composition, width, and direction of pathways on the Arts quad. I can not seem to find the name of the landscape architect overseeing the project, or any published plans: could you perhaps point me in the right direction?

10 08 2018
B. C.

Here’s the Art Quad sidewalk replacement project application from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission review: https://www.cityofithaca.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05082018-1618

No landscape architect on file, however. Conact info for the Cornell person charge is in the application.

29 08 2018
Jennifer Gaffney

Hello! My name is Jennifer Gaffney. I am the property manager at City Centre Ithaca. I wanted to reach out to you to invite you to our temporary Leasing Office Grand Opening this Thursday, 8/30/2018 from 4 PM – 8PM. We will be located at The Commons, 210 E State St, Ithaca NY. Enjoy food, drink and floorplans! Hope to see you there!

All my best,

11 10 2018
Michelle Stone

Greetings! I am going through my father-in-law’s things and found an engraving of what I assume to be a building on the Cornell campus by Albert Edward Millikan, who did a series of such etchings in the 1930s. This one is unlabeled but signed by the artist and dated 1930; it was printed by the Ithaca Engraving Co. I am trying to figure out what the building is/was. It features a square, four/five-story Romanesque tower at a corner. My father-in-law grew up in Forest Home and his father worked as a meterorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau on the top floor of Cornell’s Roberts Hall in the 1920s and 1930s, but this etching doesn’t seem to resemble the few photos of old Roberts Hall, now demolished, that I can find on the internet. Any suggestions? I can send you a copy of the etching in email–perhaps you will immediately recognize the buildng. Thanks very much. Your blog is very informative and entertaining!

12 10 2018
B. C.

Hi Michelle, it sounds like it might be Barnes Hall, but feel free to send a copy to ithacating@gmail.com and I’ll let you know for sure.

5 04 2019
Val Bunce

Hi. In the March piece, you mentioned Alvah Wood. I would like to know more abt Alvah Bugbee Wood. I live in one of hi.s houses, which also became the first Ornithology lab at Cornell.

13 04 2019
B. C.

Hi Val, here’s a little more about him: http://cityofithaca.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/04012015-740

If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of your home, contact Pat Longoria over at Historic Ithaca and she can help you with the research. I may not always agree with H.I. on the advocacy side, but they’re good folks: pat@historicithaca.org

30 07 2019
Louise K. Joseph Arts and Sciences, 1964

Re your article on dogs on campus and Jim’s Place. In the summer of 1960 (my freshman year) a member of Tau Delta Phi and a hometown friend told me that they had no one to take care of their 6 month old St. Bernard puppy, Ellie, daughter of Esmond (of Sigma Phi) and Molly(?). M y parents said absolutely not, so I took her home for the summer. And thence begins the tale of a wonderful 8 years on campus – for me and for her. As an undergraduate woman I was required to live in the dorms. So during the school years she “slept and ate” at Tau Delt, made her way to Risley, then Balch, then Mary Donlon to pick me up and walk to the arts quad with me. She made frequent side trips to Noyes Lodge where she parked herself at the short order counter,
attended many classes with me, had her own spot in Sibley Library where I worked for 2 years after graduation. Beebe Lake was a favorite of hers during warm weather. She was also a frequent and unaccompanied visitor to Jim’s Place – where Billie at the short order counter kept tossing her hamburgers.
As I was then living in an apartment at the top of that hill, she often made her own way there to visit and eat. Those were the days.

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