Looking back by means of the Tompkins County Directory from 1868-69, it is easy to see what sort of a village this was, what people needed and how the needs of life were met.
The directory does not tell us everything, but it does reveal some interesting patterns.
There are 12½ pages in the directory devoted to Ithaca, which encompassed the village and the town. That combination of town and village explains why there are so many farmers listed, some with five acres of land, but many with farms of 75 to 150 acres.
Many of these farmers claim a second occupation, such as Newell Hungerford, who listed himself as a fruit grower, farmer and “frescoe” painter. Perhaps he painted the lovely borders up by the ceiling or at the chair rail to be found in some of our older farmhouses.
There were also a number of small businesses associated with farming. One man sold and repaired implements; George Jackson worked as a cattle broker, buying and selling cattle in the area and around the district.
When farmers went into Ithaca, to shop or to go to the courthouse or the bank, they could get a meal at the Farmers’ Dining Room, at 77 E. State St., run by Henry O. Hayes. Other places to find a meal in Ithaca would include the hotels, such as the Ithaca Falls Hotel at Lake and Railroad Avenue (now Lincoln Street) run by Robert Johnson; the Alhambra House at 18 E. State St.; or the Washington House run by the widow of Michael Herson, at 12 S. Cayuga St.
The interesting thing about these addresses is that in 1867, just before the publication of this 1868-69 edition of the Tompkins County Directory, Owego Street was renamed State Street. And it was on State Street and…