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The basic premise is simple - how many miles can you bike, run, paddle, or travel in a 24-hour period, and how much history can you explore? Compete against other "traversers" for the most miles traveled - or simply explore at your pace and style! Find out more on our campaign site:

Support Traverse Tompkins: Building Bridges | PledgeIt for Charities

Here's How It Works!

There are two ways to participate and join the effort to keep our history alive.

Option 1: Sign up for free and commit to asking your community for pledges to support your travels. Fueled by your obvious love for history and Tompkins County, reach out to your friends, family, and colleagues to pledge their support for your challenge. Their pledge - of any amount - gets calculated after you complete your mileage.

Option 2: Buy an entry ticket! Asking for pledges isn't for everyone, but Traverse Tompkins should be. Your ticket price goes directly towards supporting The History Center's mission, and you still get to explore the bridges of Tompkins County!


The History of Traverse Tompkins

Traverse Tompkins started in the fall of 2020 as a unique fundraiser to support The History Center in Tompkins County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Benjamin Sandberg biked all around the county, live streaming videos exploring historical points of interest in each municipality. His challenge was to ride as many miles as possible in a single 24-hour period. Despite high winds and a flat tire, he was able to ride a total of 175.1 miles. Almost 100 individuals made pledges of 10¢, 25¢, and $1 in support of each mile he rode, and raised over $7,500 for The History Center in a time of incredible need and uncertainty.

The community feedback to the inaugural ride was overwhelming. Folks asked how they might participate in future rides or reached out with suggestions about thematic focuses for future rides. And so, the concept of Traverse Tompkins was born. Traverse Tompkins 2021 saw a small collection of riders explore the history of Fires in Tompkins County through a series of tours visiting sites of historic fires. The fire tours for Ithaca, Dryden, Trumansburg, and Tompkins County are available on the free PocketSights app. With more riders and more pledges to preserve local history, 2021 rides raised almost $12,000.

Traverse Tompkins rides generally take place in September each year. Join us and explore Tompkins County history!

Contact to learn how to get involved, or with interest in sponsoring a future program

Donate to Support the Traverse Tompkins fundraiser!

Cash Donations are accepted in our Exhibit Hall.

Checks can be mailed to:

The History Center in Tompkins County c/o Ben Sandberg

110 North Tioga Street                               

Ithaca NY 14850

We accept financial donations by cash, check, and credit in any amount. 

The History Center in Tompkins County is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Learn more in our 2020 GuideStar Transparency Profile

EIN: 15-6024061        RULING YEAR: 1972

Need more info, or interested in sponsoring an exhibit or program? Call 607-273-8284-ext 222 or email Ben Sandberg at

2023 Theme: Building Bridges

If “Ithaca is Gorges,” then one result is that Ithaca is also bridges. Tompkins County has an elaborate infrastructure of bridges built to cross our numerous creeks, streams, and steep-sided gorges to keep people and vehicles moving. Some of our early bridges no longer exist, like the romantic covered bridge at Halseyville. Built in 1833, it crossed Taughannock Creek on what is now Route 96 just southeast of Trumansburg and was replaced in 1928 with a simple concrete structure. It was one of three covered bridges that were originally built in Tompkins County, with the only remaining one now in Newfield. 

Funds raised: $19,047

Miles ridden & run: 398.5

Cyclists & Runners: 9

Brindley Street Bridge, Ithaca - 1937

Six Mile Creek Bridge, 1935

2022 Theme: Facing Floods

The 2022 Traverse Tompkins explored Tompkins County through major storms and floods that impacted our region. From the floods of 1935 to Hurricane Agnes in 1972 major flooding has repeatedly re-shaped the Southern Tier. Ben Sandberg and Michael Smith completed 350 miles on Saturday September 24th raising $13,368, with the generous sponsorship of Servpro of Broome, Tompkins, & Tioga Counties. 

Facing Floods research is preserved through the 2022 virtual exhibit, a self-guided PocketSights tour, and through the New York Heritage Digital Collections Tompkins County Flood Photographs.

Funds raised: $13,368

Miles ridden: 350

Cyclists: 2

Ben's 2022 ride was sponsored by     of Tompkins & Tioga Counties.

FACING FLOODS - Self-Guided PocketSights Tour

Explore historic flood sites across Tompkins County!

Tompkins County has suffered several major floods throughout its history. Situated in New York’s Finger Lakes region, its many creeks and streams, (and Cayuga Lake itself), pose considerable threats during and after heavy rainfalls. In 1857, 1901, 1935, 1956, 1972, and 1981 the area was devastated by floods that destroyed property and threatened (and took) lives and livelihoods. 

Download the FREE PocketSights app and access the tour through your personal device. 

This tour was created through the support of: 


2021 Theme: Finding Fires

The 2021 Traverse Tompkins explored Tompkins County through historic fires that impacted all corners of Tompkins County. Whether you stop at the site of the A&P fire rumored to be retaliation by the Mob on the present day Commons, or trek over to Trumansburg to learn about the master craftsmen who doubled as the Podunk Arsonist, our fires of interest are a great way to learn more about Tompkins County.

Funds raised: $10,891

Miles ridden: 349

Cyclists: 3

Self-Guided Tours of Historic Fire Sites

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


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