From Sawmill to Scenery at Buttermilk Falls

People by the ruins of a mill at the base of Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, NY

Three people sit near the ruins of the former mill at Buttermilk Falls sometime in the 1800s.

Three people sit near the old mill by the base of Buttermilk Falls, in this old photo provided by photographer and local historian Bill Hecht. As with many of the gorges and mills around Ithaca and the Finger Lakes, mills gave way to those seeking the balm of scenery. This photograph suggests that transition. In the 1866 book, The Scenery of Ithaca and the Headwaters of Cayuga Lake, edited by Spence Spencer, we find that it was a sawmill in his description of this very scene for prospective tourists.

Page from Spence Spencer's Scenery of Ithaca and the Headwaters of Cayuga Lake

A page about Buttermilk Falls in Spence Spencer's 1866 book, The Scenery of Ithaca and the Headwaters of Cayuga Lake.