StIf one wants to travel from Geneva to Ithaca today, one would drive most of that distance on Route 96A to Ovid, then Route 96 the rest of the way to Ithaca. That route today has no tolls; however, that did not happen when this basic route was The Ithaca & Geneva Turnpike.
According to the mass Encyclopedia of New York State, turnpikes or toll roads became the best means of overland travel in the early 1800s until the growth of the railroad network in the 1850s. These privately funded toll roads followed straighter roads than local “common roads” and were typically ditched and drained.
In New York state, most of the new campuses in the early 1800s were built by private universities without state support. Local property owners bought out the type of property in those turnpike companies to gain better access to markets and better land resources. Between 1791 and 1830, one-third of all business charters granted by the state of New York were for turnpike companies. With the necessary approval of the state, these private companies would build roads or toll roads, that is, they would have to use paid workers. Certain things are received which would not receive any charge of worship or funeral; to go either to a gristmill to grind corn for family use; to the blacksmith’s shop or the doctor; or to any inhabitant within four miles of the toll gate.
Several new depots were built in the greater Finger Lakes area, allowing for regular travel and delivery of US mail, as well as bringing new settlers to the area. Many of these rapier trees were cut down on the turnpike route, then the base was called “corduroy road”, in which the trunks were placed on the ground (like the corduroy pants that have a rough texture, these trunks still had their trunks. creating a rough bark).
In the 1810 US Census, the largest community in what was then Seneca County (created March 24, 1804) was the growing seat of Ithaca. Geneva was the most important community in Ontario County. In 1803, the initial work was done to open up a heavy tree road. In one section of the length of that road, William Rappley and several other men in the present town of Covert cut down many trees to create a road in that thickly wooded area.
A good road between Ithaca and Geneva allowed travelers from downstate New York to travel from Newburgh to Ithaca, then to Geneva to connect with the Genesee Road, which connected all the way to Buffalo. This helps explain why on March 19, 1810, the Ithaca & Geneva Turnpike Co. was incorporated to construct a road connecting those two communities. A new “corduroy” road was completed and put into use in 1811.
The route from Ithaca followed what is now Route 96—Jacksonville, Tremain’s Village (now Trumansburg), to Happy Landing. From there it followed what is today County Road 139 to Ovid Village, then Ovid Village to Baleytown (Ovid Landing or Mos Willard), then to Geneva via Sullivan Trail 1779. This new road allowed travelers from Newburgh or Catskill to travel to Geneva in just two days. would arrive!
Tumpike board of directors of the company of James McCall and Samuel Ingersoll of Village (now Interlaken); Abner Tremaine and the Trumansburg Green Archer; Thomas the Younger of Pratt’s Corners (now Covert); and William Harlow, Henry Wood, and Hugh Dobbin. He was given the power to sell 1,800 shares of stock at $25 per share to build new road bridges. The estimated cost of the road was $45,000.
Toll-gates were established at intervals of not less than 10 miles, the toll-gates not being placed within 5 miles of Ithaca or Geneva. There were taxes;
• For each cart of two animals, one hundred and twelve.
• For each coach, phaeton, or curve, two animals, 25 cents.
• 6 cents for each cart drawn by one animal.
• For each drawn by two animals, 6 cents.
• For every wolf is drawn by one animal, 4 cents.
• For every twenty animals, 8 cents.
• For each horse and rider, 4 cents.
At Farmer’s Village, the shop in Main Street had a lot of business as a stopping point for stagecoaches operating on this new road.
Only 10 years after the opening of this Newburgh Turnpike (that’s what it was called locally), steamboats began to be operated on Cayuga Lake to take passengers on the journey from Ithaca down Cayuga Lake to Cayuga Bridge (today Cayuga) to take the stagecoaches. operating on the Genesee road west to Geneva and beyond. This led the board of directors to decide to close the Turnpike company.
The following notice appeared in the local newspaper:
“Notice is hereby given that the President and Directors of the Ithaca and Geneva Turnpike Company will apply to the Legislature of the State of New York, at the next session, for an act to authorize the delivery of said Company to the public. The Ithaca and Geneva Turnpike Road, and all their corporate privileges; and that said public road will be declared from and after March 15. – Dated December 17, 1822.
By order of the Board of Directors;
Nicoll Halsey, Pres’t.
Hermon Camp, Sec’y.”
As noted in this newspaper, the turnpike company was about to be asked of the New York State Legislature. This was successful, with the Legislature approving to begin this turnpike road as a public highway on March 15, 1823.
This turnpike may have ceased operation, but it established today’s major free public highways—routes 96 and 96A—providing a fairly direct connection between Ithaca and Geneva.