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> Tompkins County Bicentennial

Bicentennial List of Upcoming Events

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On April 7,1817, by act of the New York State Legislature, the counties of Seneca and Cayuga were divided, and Tompkins County was formed.

In 2017, Tompkins County celebrates the 200th anniversary of its founding. The Tompkins County Bicentennial Commemoration Commission is coordinating a year-long community celebration to mark this significant milestone.

Please explore our website to find out more about how Tompkins County is commemorating this important anniversary during 2017, and how you can become involved in our County's Celebration.

We look forward to a celebration that will allow our residents to become better educated about the county’s rich history; that will better acquaint them with the diversity of our people and the services we provide in the present; and that will give us a time to look forward as to how we can best progress into the future for the benefit of all of our people.
Michael E. Lane, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature Co-Chair, Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission

Programs will entertain, educate, introduce residents to the workings of the county about which they might not know, and will involve using our history up to the present and to leave information about the county to the future. There will be a focus on what people appreciate about the county, how they live and work here, what places are of particular importance, and people of today and the past we might celebrate.
Carol Kammen, TC Historian Co-Chair, Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission
The Bicentennial Commission welcomes ideas and suggestions for the Bicentennial.
To suggest an idea or proposal, contact County Historian Carol Kammen at, or by mail at Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission, care of the Tompkins County Historian, 125 E Court Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

Bicentennial News

Nov. 28, 2017
Forest Home is a small residential hamlet located on the banks of Fall Creek in the Town of Ithaca. First settled in 1794, it quickly evolved into a water-powered industrial and milling community. Early names for the community included Sydney’s, Phoenix Mills, Phoenixville, and Free Hollow (aka Flea Hollow).
In... Read More
Nov. 27, 2017

Fall Creek Gorge, that mile-long portion of Fall Creek from the base of Ithaca Falls eastward to Beebe Dam, had long been accessible on the north side only to the most ardent and daring of climbers and hikers. Ithaca entrepreneur and Civil War veteran William Gordon Johnson (1834-1897) saw enormous potential for attracting visitors to a scenic pathway along the gorge’s still undeveloped side... Read More

Nov. 19, 2017

The Hamlet of Myers in the Town of Lansing got its name from the early settler, Andrew Myers, Sr., who arrived at Salmon Creek in 1791, 26 years before Lansing and Tompkins County were formed.  The hamlet is on a point of land formed where the mouth of Salmon Creek empties into at Cayuga Lake. At the time Myers built a log cabin for himself, his wife, and children, his land was part of the... Read More

May. 19, 2017

By S.K. List

Camp Street was named for Hermon Camp (1787-1878) and for the Camp house, the impressive Greek Revival-style home he built between 1845 and 1847, which stands almost alone on one entire Trumansburg block. ... Read More

May. 05, 2017

Tonight's Bicentennial festivities at the Tompkins County Library (see below) will provide a first opportunity to sample the new Bicentennial commemorative ice cream, "Tompkins Swirl!"
Attendees will be treated to free scoopers of this delicious new ice cream from Sweet Melissa's, and will receive copies of Michael Turback's delightful books, "Ice Cream Sundaes" and "The Banana Split... Read More

Apr. 25, 2017

In celebration of the County’s bicentennial, Tompkins County Public Library will offer after-hours access to "Mapping Tompkins," a commemorative community art project, and a dramatic reading of County Historian Carol Kammen’s original piece, “Nine Towns and a City,” Friday, May 5 from 5 to 8 p.m., during Downtown Ithaca’s Gallery Night.

Through illustrated maps created by more... Read More

Apr. 21, 2017

On the northwestern edge of Ithaca’s Fall Creek neighborhood, a turn from busy State Route 13 (North Meadow Street) leads to tree-lined Dey Street. Only three blocks long, the street has a relaxed, neighborhood vibe. Its tidy late-Victorian homes sit close to the street on narrow lots..

... Read More

Apr. 10, 2017

Tompkins County Legislature Chair Michael Lane, left, receives a plaque from Cornell University, Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina on April 7, congratulating
Tompkins County on its bicentennial, and thanking county... Read More

Apr. 07, 2017

By Tompkins County Historian and County Bicentennial Commission Co-Chair Carol Kammen
Published in the Ithaca Journal  April 7, 2017

Today marks the bicentennial of Tompkins County. Created by the State of New York in 1817, the county has changed its shape over time, and has expanded and altered its form of government, moving to becoming a charter county in 1970 and in... Read More

Mar. 23, 2017

By Deborah Martin-Plugh

In 1821, in the first year of the Town of Enfield’s establishment, 27-year-old Peter Van Dorn built a tavern on Mecklenburg Road (State Route 79) on what was then known as the Catskill Turnpike. A New York state historic marker stands on the site... Read More

Mar. 10, 2017

Just a half mile long, Layen Road runs east-west between Jersey Hill Road and Townline Road in the northwest corner of the Town of Danby. It got its name from a family who settled on this hilly site in the early years of the Great Depression and ran a dairy farm for... Read More

Feb. 10, 2017

Written by County Historian Carol Kammen, co-chair of the Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission.  Published by the Ithaca Journal Feb. 10, 2017.

For more information on the "My Tompkins" Mapping Project, and to access the map, click on the "Faces, Places & Spaces" button to the left.

... Read More

Feb. 09, 2017

In celebration of Tompkins County’s Bicentennial and National Poetry Month, the Tompkins County Public Library is seeking poetry about living in Tompkins County to be distributed during “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

Poem in Your Pocket Day” is an annual initiative designed to spark interest and excitement in poetry by sharing free poems... Read More

Jan. 03, 2017

At the January 3rd meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature, Legislature Chair Michael Lane noted the start of the County’s Bicentennial Year, saying that 2017 will be a year of events and activities, which will begin with art shows during January... Read More