As part of Tompkins County's bicentennial celebration. officials marked Ithaca's place in local history by installing a sign in front of City Hall. Kelsey O'Connor/Ithaca Voice

ITHACA, N.Y. — The history of the City of Ithaca as Tompkins County’s longtime seat was celebrated Wednesday night as part of the county’s ongoing bicentennial celebrations.

The county has been celebrating the 200th year of its founding in 2017 with events and new signs across the county. On Wednesday, before Common Council, several speakers marked the occasion by a new sign installed just outside the doors of Ithaca City Hall.

Related — Tompkins Bicentennial: 20 images from the county’s first 100 years (1817 – 1917 )

Speakers included Tompkins County Legislature Chair Mike Lane, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, City Historian Mary Raddant Tomlan and County Historian Carol Kammen.

Mayor Svante Myrick said, “This is a wonderful, wonderful gift…a recognition of our history.”

He said that over the past 10 years, he has found that he gets better at his job the more he knows about the city and county’s past.

This sign, he said, is a recognition of the people who have helped shape the city and make it what it is today.

Tompkins County Legislature Chair Mike Lane called Ithaca “the vibrant center” of the county.

Regarding the City of Ithaca, the sign reads, “Originally part of Iroquoia, the 1400 acres developed by Simeon DeWitt became the county seat when Tompkins County formed in 1817. Named village 1821; a city in 1888.”

The founding date, April 7 1817, marks the day Seneca and Cayuga counties were divided and Tompkins County was formed.

The Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission has coordinated events all year. On the bicentennial website, the commission goes into detail about Ithaca’s founding.

Reporter Jolene Almendarez contributed to this article. 

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.