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City Lights History

Check Availability and Make ReservationEdward H. Marshall and Dairy
City Lights Inn was built in the 1860’s as a Greek Revival Farm house. In 1884, Edward H. Marshall purchased the house and with a few cows, he started a milk route. On the 150 acres of land surrounding the home, he owned and operated Starland Dairy.
Marshalls of City Lights Inn in Ithaca, NY
Chase's Road Stand of City Lights Inn in Ithaca, NY
City Lights Antiques of City Lights Inn in Ithaca, NY
His two sons, Bert and Fred helped expand the business as a premier dairy farm in NYS, built with the object of securing the very best sanitary conditions and produced certified milk. The business was very successful. The farms produced the roughage for 110 purebred Holsteins, produced about 10,000 bushels of grain per year, and delivered about 1,200 bottles of milk to Ithaca a day. The dairy barn burnt down in the 1970s. The original milk bottles are now used to serve juice at breakfast at the inn.

But the dairy wasn't the only farm enterprise on the property. Edward Marshall's sons started a chicken hatchery on the property in 1944 called Marshall Brothers Hatchery. All the original hatchery buildings can still be found on the property. The hatchery business grew to include five other farms on about 350 acres of land. It's almost hard to imagine how many eggs and hens were being produced: the 196,000 egg capacity of incubators produced over a million chicks a year and hen laying houses on all the farms held 11,000 breeder hens.

Antique Business
As the story goes, in the mid 1950s, the brothers were not paying their feed supplier and when he came to collect they just gave him the deed to the farm and walked away. Eventually in the 1970s a local entrepreneur bought the property. He ran many successful businesses on the property, for example, a tree nursery supplying local residents. Trees from the time are still on the property, some reaching 50 ft tall. Another was  Chase’s Road Stand Inc. that provided fruits and vegetables for wholesale and retail. A third business was City Lights Antiques Inc. that specialized in furniture restoration, custom tables, and antique sales. City Lights Antiques ran successfully for 20 years: the antiques part of the business was around until just a few years ago.

The Inn
The antiques business is is the source of the Inn’s name. Originally The Inn at City Lights, it was then changed to City Lights Inn. City Lights comes from the buildings across the valley lighting up the hill at night. It's a play on the name Starland, the original name of Marshall's dairy business. When homes burned gas for lights, the hill looked like a land of stars.

The current owners have many ideas to transform the property, but have yet to decide on one to pursue.
City Lights Inn B&B  |  1319 Mecklenburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850  |  607-227-3003  |  stay@citylightsinn.com
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