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Schmitt Real Estate------------------Apartments for Rent

Apartments in Ithaca NY, the Downtown Historical District & the Fall Creek Residential Neighborhood.

Specializing in Housing for CU & IC Graduate Students, Faculty & Professionals for over 30 Years

History of Fall Creek, Ithaca, NY


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The Fall Creek neighborhood was recognized as early as the mid 1830’s. At that time the downtown was a low swampy area with a number of mills along the creeks. There was just a scattering of homes before 1860. With limited transportation it was necessary to have many small businesses within the community. There were as many as 10 corner grocery stores operating at the same time. Other small businesses over the years include a stable, lumberyard, Johnson’s boat yard, ice company, glass manufacture, gas stations, Saunders Barber Shop, hair salons, dentists, diners, drug stores, laundromats, movie theater, Schmitt’s Heating & Air Conditioning, Albanese Plumbing, Inlet Glass, Spencer Auto Body Repair and more.

County fairs were a major source of entertainment in the 18th and early 19th century. The Tompkins County Fair was first located in Fall Creek on land that includes Auburn Street Park and the area to the north. When the fair was moved to another location, the Ithaca Calendar Clock Company built its factory on the block between Adams Street, Auburn Street and Dey Street.

The first calendar clock was invented by J.W. Hawes and was patented in 1853. In 1864/65 Henry B. Horton of Ithaca, invented a much better machine and obtained patents. He went to both the Seth Thomas Clock Company and Waterbury Clock Company but when neither offered enough, he returned to Ithaca and went into business with Charles Johnson, Harvey Platts and John Selkreg and began the Ithaca Calendar Clock Company. It was first located on the corner of State Street and Cayuga Street and moved a number of times until the winter of 1873/74 when they bought the old fair grounds. Construction began in June of 1874 and the company moved in one year later. By 1875 there were about 60 employees that produced 30 clocks a day. There was a fire in February of 1876 that totally destroyed the building. The building was rebuilt and flourished until the early 1900’s. It finally closed in 1918.

Larger businesses in Fall Creek were the Ithaca Calendar Clock Factory, Ithaca Gun, a commercial laundry. Milk, bread, coal for heating and ice for refrigeration were delivered to the house.

Until the early 1960’s Route 13 did not exist and there was no through traffic. You could rent a horse and ride through the trails and woods to Stewart Park.