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Cayuga Heights, New York
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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
County Tompkins
Incorporated 1915 (1915)
Named for Cayuga Lake
Seat Marcham Hall
 • Total 1.77 sq mi (4.58 km2)
 • Land 1.77 sq mi (4.58 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
 • Total 3,729
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,039.62/sq mi (787.61/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
Area code(s) 607
FIPS code 36-13079
GNIS feature ID 0969981

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. 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.


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), 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.
1920 179
1930 507 183.2%
1940 651 28.4%
1950 1,131 73.7%
1960 2,788 146.5%
1970 3,130 12.3%
1980 3,170 1.3%
1990 3,457 9.1%
2000 3,273 −5.3%
2010 3,729 13.9%
2019 (est.) 3,604 −3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census 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 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

Notable people

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