15 Intriguing Facts About Ithaca, America’s Best College Town

5. The World’s Most Famous Digital Instrument Was Created by an Ithacan

photo by glacial23 via Wikimedia Commons

What do The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Wendy Carlos, The Doors, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and others have in common?

They all were huge fans of the Moog Synthesizer, a digital instrument created by Bob Moog. 

This synthesizer was one of the greatest inventions in the history of music; thousands upon thousands of recordings, performances, and more featuring Moog synthesizers have been created.

All thanks to one of Ithaca’s most celebrated former residents, Bob Moog.

4. Ithaca College & Cornell Produce Many Fulbright Scholars

Cornell – photo by sach1tb via Wikimedia Commons

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a list of the most-awarded Fulbright Institutions in America in 2017, naming Ithaca College as well as Cornell University among them. 

In a city with so much intricate history, it is amazing that both of the city’s schools produce scholars who regularly win one of the highest honors in all of academia.

What does it take to be a Fulbright? Not only scholarly excellence, but also an idea and an application in alignment with the Fulbright’s ideals of promoting global academic partnerships.


3. The Campbell’s Soup Label – Yeap, That’s Ithaca Too

photo by Famartin via Wikimedia Commons

Back in the 19th-century, Campbell’s Soup’s colors were actually black and orange. 

However, when one of the companies executives in the 1800s saw a Cornell University football game, he noticed something interesting…

The Cornell colors were composed of a distinctive shade of red as well as white. 

Soon thereafter, Campbell’s Soup changed its color scheme to colors almost identical to that of Cornell University.


2. You Can Walk Through a Scaled Version of the Solar System in Ithaca

The first obselisk in the scaled model – photo by Teresacurl via Wikimedia Commons

Located around the Ithaca Commons, a picturesque pedestrian mall spanning over two blocks, is one of the world’s most interesting science exhibits.

Known as the Sagan Planet Walk, named in memory of famed Ithaca resident and Cornell professor Carl Sagan, this museum features a walkable scale model of our solar system.

The walk is scaled down to one five billionth the size of our actual solar system. However, it is accurate in terms of the proportional distance between each of the obelisks used to outline the solar system.


1. The Ice Cream Sundae Was Invented in Ithaca

The oldest existing documented record of the ice cream sundae is from Ithaca. 

After performing a service at the local Unitarian church, Reverend John M. Scott went to the local pharmacy, asking shop owner Chester Platt for some ice cream. Instead of serving just regular ice cream, Platt scooped some ice cream, along with cherry syrup and toppings. Thus, the cherry sundae was created.

While other towns in America claim to have made the first sundae, Ithaca has the historical records to prove it

An advertisement for this sundae later appeared in 1892 in the city’s Ithaca Journal, a daily newspaper that started in 1815 and, amazingly, is still in publication over 200 years later.


There really is no place like Ithaca in the world. What other facts about Ithaca do you know? Share them in the comments below.

Featured Image by Maeshima hiroki via Wikimedia Commons

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