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County History

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125 East Court Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 274-5551
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County History

Tompkins County History

There is a major business complex adjacent to the County Airport. Over 80 companies in the county are here because their founders studied or taught at the university.
Traditionally the county, outside the City of Ithaca, voted Republican. With the increase of population after 1950, the Democratic core increased and in 1993 the County Board for the first time had a Democratic majority.
The county is served daily by The Ithaca Journal, which began in 1814, The [Cornell] Daily Sun [1880], and The Ithaca Times, a weekly news publication.
The county’s history was first treated in H. Hurd, History of Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins Counties, New York (Philadelphia, 1879) and in John Selkreg, Landmarks of Tompkins County (Syracuse, 1894). Horace King wrote an essay about Ithaca in 1847, H. C. Goodwin published Ithaca as it Was, and Ithaca as it Is, in 1853, and Henry Abt published Ithaca, in 1926. Recent treatments include Carol Kammen, Peopling of Tompkins County: A Social History (Interlaken, 1985) and Jane M. Dieckmann, A Short History of Tompkins County (Ithaca, 1986). Also useful is W. Glenn Norris, The Origin of Place Names in Tompkins County (Ithaca, 1951) or the updated Place Names of Tompkins County, published in 2003 by the Municipal Historians of Tompkins County. There is also The Towns of Tompkins County, edited Jane M. Dieckmann (Ithaca, 1998). See also The Architectural Heritage of Tompkins County with photographs by Richard Corth, published in 2002.