Cayuga Heights, New York

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Cayuga Heights, New York
Cayuga Heights, New York is located in New York
Cayuga Heights, New York
Cayuga Heights, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 42°27′59″N 76°29′19″W / 42.46639°N 76.48861°W / 42.46639; -76.48861Coordinates: 42°27′59″N 76°29′19″W / 42.46639°N 76.48861°W / 42.46639; -76.48861
Country United States
State New York
Incorporated1915 (1915)
Named forCayuga Lake
SeatMarcham Hall
 • MayorLinda Woodard
 • TrusteesJennifer BIloski, James Marshall, Maryann Friend, Richard Robinson, Peter Salton, Kate Supron
 • Total1.8 sq mi (4.6 km2)
 • Land1.8 sq mi (4.6 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
 • Total3,729
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,100/sq mi (810/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
Area code(s)607
FIPS code36-13079
GNIS feature ID0969981

Cayuga Heights is a village in Tompkins County, New York, United States and an upscale suburb of Ithaca. The village is in the Town of Ithaca, directly northeast of the City of Ithaca and Cornell University's main campus.

The population was 3,729 at the 2010 census. The village is home to many faculty members at Cornell, including its president.


After the Revolutionary War, much of Upstate New York was divided into tracts to be given to veterans. Several veterans received lots in what is now Cayuga Heights, and started farms.

In the early 1800s, Ithaca started to grow as a small city and inland port. In 1865, Ezra Cornell started Cornell University. Students and faculty members initially lived on campus and in Ithaca, but rapid expansion in the late 1800s and early 1900s spurred new development north of the Fall Creek gorge. Two trolley bridges were built across the gorge, and a streetcar connected downtown, Cornell, and the budding residential development north of the gorge.

In the 1901, local businessmen Charles Newman and Jared Blood bought nearly 1,000 acres of farmland and started the "Cayuga Heights Land Company." They hired landscape architect Harold Caparn, who designed the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to design an organic, curving, park-like layout of roads and trees. Cayuga Heights was incorporated as a village in 1915, consisting of one-half square mile of land from the City of Ithaca line to what is now Upland Road. In 1924, Cayuga Heights Elementary School was built.

After World War II, Cayuga Heights continued to expand. The Community Corners Shopping Center was built as a small suburban shopping plaza for residents in 1947, and in 1952, the village opened its own wastewater treatment plant on the shore of Cayuga Lake. The village resisted attempts to be annexed by the growing City of Ithaca, and instead more than tripled in size in 1954, when it annexed approximately 1.4 square miles of land in the Town of Ithaca extending from Upland Road to the Town of Lansing border. A large addition was built onto Cayuga Heights Elementary School in the late 1950s. In 1969, the First Congregational Church relocated from downtown Ithaca to a new building on the former site of the Country Club of Ithaca, which had relocated a mile east.

The village was a founding member of the Bolton Point water system when it opened in the mid-1970s.

In 1980, Cayuga Heights Elementary School closed due to declining enrollment. It reopened in 1988.

In 1995, the last large plot of open land in Cayuga Heights, the former Savage Farm, was developed into a retirement community, Kendal at Ithaca, by the Kendal Corporation.[2][3] Kendal has since become home to many retired Cornell faculty members; a local joke for many years was that it had the best physics department in the country, as Nobel-prize winner Hans Bethe, along with Boyce McDaniel, Dale Corson and many other physicists, were long-time residents.[4][5]

Government and politics

The main governmental body of the Village of Cayuga Heights is the board of trustees.[6] Meetings are convened by the Mayor or by an appointed deputy.[7] The village offices are in Marcham Hall, a stone mansion built by a granddaughter of Ezra Cornell[8]

On January 12, 2015, the board of trustees of the Village of Cayuga Heights unanimously adopted a resolution declaring freedom from domestic violence to be a fundamental human right.[9]


  • Frederick G. Marcham, 1956 - 1987[10]
  • Ronald Anderson, 1988 - 2002
  • Walter Lynn, 2003 - 2007
  • Jim Gilmore, 2008 - 2012
  • Kate Supron, 2012 – May 2016[11]
  • Linda Woodard, June 2016 – present

Fire Department

The Cayuga Heights Fire Department was founded in 1955 and provides fire, rescue, and ALS first-response emergency medical services to the village, areas of the Town of Ithaca, and parts of Cornell University. The department is an all-volunteer agency with response times averaging under three minutes. This is due to the department's dedicated volunteers, as well as the innovative and highly successful "bunker program" that allows for 7-8 Firefighter/EMT's to live in a second floor dormitory and provide duty shifts in exchange for their room in the station.[12] Unlike conventional membership recruiting/acceptance methods, the department recruits and restricts new member acceptance to bi-annual "recruit classes" in tandem with the academic semesters. As a result, many firefighters are Cornell students.[13]

The department's current home, the Ronald E. Anderson Fire Station, was built in 2000 and named after the then-mayor. (The fire company is technically a 501(c)3 non-profit independent of the village, which allows it to sponsor annual fundraising drives.)

Police Department

The Cayuga Heights Police Department is a small department consisting of a chief, a sergeant, four full-time officers, a clerk, and several part-time officers and school crossing guards.[14]


Cayuga Heights is located at 42°27′59″N 76°29′19″W / 42.466338°N 76.488678°W / 42.466338; -76.488678 (42.466338, -76.488678),[15] on the eastern slope of Cayuga Lake. The elevation ranges from 900 feet near the Community Corners to 400 feet near the lake. Several streams and steep gorges cut through the village.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), all of it land.

The village is at the south end of Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes.

Cayuga Heights borders, on its north, the Village of Lansing.

Two examples of old-growth oak/hickory forest are in the village: Palmer Woods, on the south side of the village near Cornell campus, and Renwick Slope, on the far western part of the village by Cayuga Lake. Both are managed by Cornell Plantations.

The village has gotten national attention for its large population of white-tailed deer. In addition to deer, the village also hosts foxes, wild turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20183,674[1]−1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 3,273 people, 1,497 households, and 772 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,850.9 people per square mile (714.0/km2). There were 1,584 housing units at an average density of 895.8 per square mile (345.5/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 85.73% White, 1.86% African American, 0.06% Native American, 8.95% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.19% from other races, and 2.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.57% of the population.

There were 1,497 households out of which 17.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 38.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.71.

In the village, the population was spread out with 15.3% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 24.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $74,258, and the median income for a family was $122,746. Males had a median income of $70,893 versus $33,621 for females. The per capita income for the village was $47,493. About 1.5% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under the age of eighteen or sixty-five or over.

Points of interest

  • The Country Club of Ithaca
  • The Community Corners Shopping Center, a small shopping center of detached buildings featuring a wine shop, the Heights Restaurant, Talbots, a Gimme! Coffee, a gym, florist, and several other businesses.
  • Kendal at Ithaca
  • Pleasant Grove Cemetery
  • Sunset Park, a small village park bordered by stone arches with a panoramic view of Ithaca College, the City of Ithaca, West Hill, and Cayuga Lake

Deer controversy

Two tagged white-tail deer in Cayuga Heights

Cayuga Heights has gotten national attention for its large population of white-tailed deer, as many as 125 per square mile.[18] The efforts to control the deer population have sparked huge controversy in the village.

In 2011, the village Board of Trustees approved a plan to reduce the deer population by sterilizing 20 to 60 does in two years, while killing the remaining 160 to 200 deer in the village.[19] Paul Curtis, a Natural Resources Professor at Cornell who has worked with the board of trustees, said "The primary problems that the deer cause to the community are damage to garden plants, deer-vehicle accidents and the potential threat of the spread of foreign diseases.” Opponents of the deer culling program have criticized the culling program as "war on sweet innocent deer", "brutal slaughter" and Cayuga Heights as a "constant killing field".[20] Local opposition group has accused the board of trustees actions as deceptive and dishonest, and sued the village to stop the culling.[21] Few residents agreed to allow the village to cull deer on their property, and in November 2012, the board of trustees abandoned its plan to partially cull the deer, instead deciding to capture and sterilize does.[22]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "At Last, Life Care Comes to New York". The New York Times. 11 October 1994. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  3. ^ Oser, Alan (28 January 1996). "Options Broadening For Retirement Living". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  4. ^ @stevenstrogatz (12 November 2013). "Local humor: They say that Kendal of Ithaca, where Bethe retired, had the best physics department in the country" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Alexander, Karen (11 May 2003). "Grandparents Are Returning to College, to Retire". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Meeting Dates, Agenda & Minutes of the Board". Village of Cayuga Heights. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Privilege of the Floor at Meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Cayuga Heights" (PDF). Village of Cayuga Heights. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  8. ^ Szekely, Beatrice (13 June 2015). "The Story of Marcham Hall" (PDF). Cayuga Heights History Project. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Village of Cayuga Heights Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes and Agenda" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Frederick Marcham, Cornell Professor, 94". The New York Times. December 19, 1992. Retrieved 2014-09-11.
  11. ^ Casler, Andrew (26 May 2016). "Cayuga Heights mayor resigns". Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  12. ^ Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas (2016-08-17). "Too Few at a Fire: Declining volunteer numbers leave departments vulnerable". Ithaca Times. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  13. ^ Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas (2017-09-12). "Cornellians Find Friends, Purpose at Local Fire Department". Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  14. ^ "Cayuga Heights Police Department 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  18. ^ Doran, Elizabeth (26 July 2015). "How one NY village has declared war on deer". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  19. ^ Chaisson, Bill (6 July 2011). "Cayuga Heights deer plan part of regional effort of population reduction". Ithaca Times. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  20. ^ "ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell: War declared on deer?" (video). HLN. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  21. ^ "Cayuga Heights Board of Trustees Approves Deer Reduction Plan". The Cornell Daily Sun. April 21, 2011. Archived from the original (url) on March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  22. ^ Nutt, DW (21 November 2012). "Heights suspends plan to cull deer" (PDF). Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ [3]
  26. ^ Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Importance of Growing Up Village, Front Porch Republic

External links