Located in central Upstate New York at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca is famous as the home of Cornell University. It is also the seat of Tompkins County, a popular summer resort. Ithaca was founded in 1789 and named for the home of the ancient Greek hero Ulysses. It was incorporated as a village in 1821 and as a city in 1888. The City of Ithaca is surrounded on three sides by the Town of Ithaca, home of Ithaca College. The two entities form a single community and share many public services.
Major buildings cluster in four areas: Cornell University, Collegetown (just south of Cornell across Cascadilla Creek), Ithaca College, and downtown. The Titus Towers housing complex stands alone several blocks south of downtown.