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Estevan (440) 2015 Honda Fit

Estevan Fuertes

Estevan is named after Estevan Fuertes. Born in Puerto Rico in 1838, Fuertes was a successful civil engineer who worked on public infrastructure in Puerto Rico, on the Croton aqueduct for New York City, and on early Panama canal surveys for the US Government. From 1873-1902 he served as the Dean of Cornell School of Civil Engineering, where he re-structured and built up the size of the school significantly. He was an advocate of laboratory-based learning, and played a key role in the planning and construction of both a large hydraulics research laboratory on Fall Creek and the Fuertes Astronomical Observatory. His son was Louis Agassiz Fuertes, a famous ornithologist and bird illustrator.

Tommy (1122) 2019 Honda Fit

Historical Tommy plane

“Tommy” is the nick name for the Thomas-Morse aircraft, which was produced in Ithaca from 1918 until the technology was surpassed in the 1930’s. Last year, Ithaca aviation enthusiasts marked the 100th anniversary of the Tommy plane and highlighted this lesser know piece of local transportation history. Utilized in WWI, Tommy planes were among the first planes to be used in large scale military operations, and were used by seasoned pilots to make solo flights. This advanced aviation technology allowed pilots to take aerial photographs for reconnaissance and surveillance used in mapping and military strategy. The propeller for the Tommy plane was made of wood, as were many other details, and manufactured by a piano company!

Barbara (1827) 2016 Honda Fit

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) worked in plant cytogenics, meaning she used microscopes to investigate plant genetics at the cellular level. She demonstrated the phenomenon of chromosomal crossover, which increases genetic variation in species. She also discovered transposition – genes moving about within chromosomes – often described as jumping genes, and showed that genes are responsible for switching the physical traits in an organism on or off.

She would have been recognized as a remarkable scientist regardless of her gender or era, but the fact that she made such significant contributions at a time when women were so discriminated against makes her story that much more impressive. Not until the 1960s, when other scientists began to corroborate her results, was McClintock’s work recognized for what it was. And once the accolades started coming in, they didn’t stop. She was a member of the first cohort of the MacArthur Fellows in 1981, and in 1983 she was awarded a Nobel Prize for having discovered controlling elements – almost 40 years earlier.

McClintock received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D degrees from Cornell University.

Matilda (2420) 2012 Toyota Prius C

Matilda Joslyn Gage

In 1826 Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage was “born with a hatred of oppression.” Reared in a house in Cicero, NY that was a station on the Underground Railroad, she would later face prison for assisting escaped slaves after the Fugitive Slave Law was enacted. She was also known for her advocacy on behalf of Native Americans. In 1852, Gage addressed the National Women’s Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York. Solidifying her position in the women’s suffrage movement, she founded the Women’s National Liberal Union. A prolific writer, Gage co-authored History of Woman Suffrage with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Eubalaena (2528) 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

Right whale skeleton

Eubalaena glacialis skeleton hanging at the Museum of the Earth.

Eubalaena is named after the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) skeleton that rests at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca. Right whales are among the grandest and most endangered marine mammals. At birth they are around 14 feet long. Over their long life span (between 45 and 70 years) right whales can grow to be 52 feet long, which is bigger than a bus! The head of these gentle creatures typically measures 1/3 the length of their body.

As of 2019, only 400 North Atlantic right whales remain. This endangered species suffers greatly from human impact. Initially its population dwindled due to whaling, and it continues to struggle due to the dangers of entanglement in fishing equipment, being struck by shipping vessels, and increased noise pollution that disrupts whale communication. We named the new van Eubalaena to bring attention to the right whale’s plight.

Sophronia (2491) 2012 Honda Fit Sport

Sophronia Bucklin

Sophronia is named after Sophronia Bucklin. Born in 1828, this Ithacan served in the Hospital Service as a nurse during the Civil War. After the battle of Gettysburg, Bucklin served in a tent hospital ministering to the most wounded soldiers. She was an efficient and dedicated nurse, and a compassionate friend to her patients, many of whom she corresponded with after the war. She published an account of her experiences entitled In Hospital and Camp: A Woman’s Record of Thrilling Incidents Among the Wounded in the Late War.

Stewie (2564) 2013 Toyota Prius C

Edwin Stewart

Edwin C. Stewart was the son of David B. Stewart, the first Mayor of Ithaca. He attended public schools in Ithaca, then went on to serve in both the NYS Assembly and Senate. He became Mayor of Ithaca in 1920. Mayor Stewart led the renewed interest in the reopening then Renwick Park for use as a lakeside municipal park. One month before the park’s formal opening, Mayor Stewart died and the park was renamed Stewart Park in his honor.

Moog (2696) 2018 Toyota Yaris iA

Bob Moog

Our newest car is named Moog after the Moog synthesizer. Bob Moog (1934-2005) was an innovator in the world of electronic music for more than 50 years, expanding the boundaries of sonic expression and affecting the lives of musicians and music lovers around the globe. His invention of the Moog synthesizer in 1964 (in collaboration with Herb Deutsch) revolutionized almost every genre of music, offering performers new sonic possibilities in which to express their creativity. For many musicians, the synthesizer transformed their lives and work.

In 1957 Bob Moog began his doctoral studies at Cornell University, where he was the recipient of the prestigious RCA Fellowship. It was also in Ithaca in 1957 that he created the Vanguard Theramin. In 1963, the R.A. Moog Company opened its doors on Main Street in Trumansburg, NY, the company from which the Moog synthesizer was born. The company was at this location through 1971 when it was purchased, renamed “Moog Music” and relocated to Williamsville, NY.

Learn more about the Moog synthesizer and Bob Moog’s legacy from the Moog Foundation.

Connie (3295) 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

Connie Cook

Connie Cook

Constance E. Cook (1919-2009) was a pilot, lawyer, Assemblywoman, and women’s rights activist. She was also the mother of Cathy at Diane’s Downtown Automotive, which has been our partner in taking great care of the Carshare fleet for a decade. Connie attended Cornell University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree and a Law degree from the school. After graduating, she became one of the few female lawyers on Wall Street, and worked in New York City for a number of years, before returning to Ithaca. Connie was the first female Assembly member from Ithaca (one of only three female assembly members at the time), and was the first woman vice president at Cornell University. Her legacy includes drafting the bill that legalized abortion in New York State, and being the driving force behind the Episcopal Church allowing women to be ordained.

Konstantin (3519) 2016 Honda Fit EX

Dr. Konstantin Frank

Dr. Konstantin Frank pioneered the use of European grape varieties in the Finger Lakes region. Born in Ukraine, his PhD thesis focused on cold-weather techniques for growing Vitis vinifera. He came to the United States in 1951, and eventually moved to the Finger Lakes when he took a position at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station. With his experience in growing grapes in cold weather back home, he successfully disproved the critics who thought it was impossible to grow Vitis vinifera in the region. Only a decade after arriving in the US, he founded Vinifera Wine Cellars and began a legacy of renowned Rieslings and other wines that we love today.

Kurt (3836) and Kilgore (3837) 2013 Honda Fits

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, a reluctant chemistry major, was an Assistant Managing Editor and Associate Editor of The Cornell Daily Sun, which allowed him to pursue his more humanistic interests. Vonnegut studied at Cornell for three years before he was drafted by the U.S. Army. He went on to be a well-known novelist.

Kilgore Trout is a character that appears in several of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. He is loosely based on Vonnegut’s fellow writer, Theodore Sturgeon, who like Vonnegut’s character shares a name with a fish.

Haley (4224) 2012 Toyota Prius C

Alex Haley

Alex Haley was born in Ithaca in 1921. While a member of the Coast Guard, Haley turned his attention to journalism. Ultimately, he would achieve the rank of Chief Journalist in the Coast Guard, a position created in his honor. His post-Coast Guard journalism lead to an editorial position with Reader’s Digest, then at Playboy, where he created the interview feature. Interviewing prominent citizens for this position led to his collaboration with Malcolm X on his autobiography. He is best known for his book: Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

Gino (4522) 2017 Honda Fit

Gino Bush

Gino Bush has been active in pursuing social justice in Ithaca for at least 25 years. Gino founded and led the Circle of Recovery, a support group for former addicts. This group expanded into Ithaca High School where Gino worked to mentor and empower young men.

Gino was the force behind getting streets renamed to honor Bishop Cecil Malone and the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Gino also persuaded the leadership of Cayuga Medical Center to hire formerly incarcerated individuals. This made CMC one of the few local large employers to routinely give those with felony records a chance at decent employment. Gino’s contact with CMC leadership also led to at least two members of their leadership team joining the board of directors of Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources. (Photo credit: Ithaca Times, 2009)

Ben (5284) 2013 Toyota Prius

Ben Nichols

Ben Nichols served three terms as mayor of Ithaca (1989-1995) after retiring from his 30 year tenure as professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University. While he was mayor, Nichols persuaded Cornell to contribute to local emergency services otherwise funded by property taxes and spearheaded attempts to extend domestic benefits to same-sex couples in Ithaca.

Devon (5525) 2015 Toyota Prius II

Brachiopod fossils

Devon is named after the unique and fossil rich Devonian Shale formations common in the geology of the Ithaca area. Finger Lakes geology exposes interesting fossils and sedimentary rocks from the Devonian Era (350-400 million years ago), some unusual igneous intrusions, and a lot of glacial features, both erosive and depositional.

Learn more:
On the Rocks: Local Geology is Right in Front of You (Ithaca Times, 2014)
The Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institute

Pearl (5575) 2012 Toyota Prius C

Pearl White

Silent movie starlet Pearl White first took the stage at age six. By age thirteen she was riding horses bareback in a circus. It is no wonder she performed most of her own stunts in the silent films that made her a star. Known as the “Queen of Serials,” she is best known for her portrayal of the title character in The Perils of Pauline. Pearl White lived at the Ithaca Hotel in 1915 while she was working with the Wharton Brothers silent film studio on The Exploits of Elaine.

Elizabeth (6093) 2013 Toyota Prius C

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is best known for her activism in the women’s suffrage movement. She is recognized as the main author of The Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, an 1848 manifesto delivered at the first women’s rights convention, which was held in Seneca Falls, New York.

Beebe (6372) 2018 Toyota Prius C Two

Elizabeth Beebe

Elizabeth Beebe

Beebe is named in honor of Elizabeth Beebe (1830s-1905), who dedicated her life as Ithaca’s first social worker in the West End of Ithaca.

She was selected to become the city missionary because of her age, because she was educated and respected, and because she was divorced, a socially awkward position at the time. Being divorced also meant was that she had no home and no family to care for and so was free to take up the city’s work.

The services provided by Elizabeth Beebe and the Ladies Union Benevolent Society have since been taken over by state social services agencies. Elizabeth Beebe felt that we were all our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that we had a social responsibility to aid others. (Source: The Ithaca Journal, Sept. 2014)


Jacqueline (6646) 2019 Honda Fit

Mama Scott at BJM

Mama Scott at BJM

Jacqueline Elizabeth Melton Scott (1937-2019) was born and raised in Ithaca. Known in the community as Mama Scott, she was an activist, teacher, and mentor to innumerable people in Ithaca throughout her life. From an Ithaca Times article in February of 2012: “After she graduated from Ithaca High School, Melton-Scott went on to Fisher College in Massachusetts, later creating a school in Cambridge, Mass., and teaching at Harvard University. An activist, seemingly from birth, Melton-Scott returned to Ithaca in the 1990s when her mother’s health was fading. After her return and a stint as outreach coordinator at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell, she was asked to take the reins at Southside Community Center as its director.”

Later in her life, Mama Scott continued her association with Southside, and became a daily presence at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, and GIAC, where her words of wisdom were heard by a new generation of children. Jacqueline worked tirelessly to make Ithaca more inclusive and equitable, and truly left a great legacy.

Clara (7434) 2019 Honda Fit

Clara the Steamboat

Clara the Steamboat

Clara was a steamboat that plied the waters of Cayuga lake in the 19th century. She was sleek and fast, and was the winner of the only official steamboat race to take place on Cayuga Lake, though the car that bears her name is not meant to be raced! In the 19th century steamboats were the only means of transporting people, goods, and even the mail north of Ithaca. With the opening of the Erie Canal, they were a major driver of the economy in Ithaca.

Ruth (7526) 2020 Honda Fit

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth is named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Cornell alumna (class of ‘54) and Supreme Court Justice from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was the second female appointed to the highest court. Ginsburg was born and raised in Brooklyn and resided in Washington, DC for much of her life. Justice Ginsburg became known as the Notorious R.B.G. due to her legacy as a fierce, vocal advocate for gender equality and a reliably progressive interpreter of the law. Ginsburg was a legal scholar and professor, enjoyed opera, and consulted with international governments about how to implement aspects of the US Constitution into their legal systems in her time outside of the court. A cultural and feminist icon, Ginsburg contributed to securing increased access to essential health care and legal rights for all people.

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Frances (7529) 2014 Toyota Prius C

Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins was the U.S. Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945), as such becoming the first female member of the U.S. Cabinet. Perkins championed the labor movement, and played a key role in the establishing minimum wage and overtime laws, the Social Security Act, unemployment insurance, and federal laws regulating child labor. After her career in public service, Perkins was a lecturer at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations until her death in 1985. We named this Prius C “Frances” in honor of her contributions to safer working conditions.

Kitty (8897) 2019 Honda Fit

The original Ithaca Kitty

The Ithaca Kitty was born in 1890 when Ithacan Celia Smith, who was skilled at sewing and toy design, looked at her polydactyl cat Caesar and declared, “You know, I could make him, in three pieces.” Celia proceeded to create what became a popular and renowned “sew-at-home” toy design. Her sister Charity Smith painted the original fabric in the likeness of Caesar, omitting only his extra toes. The family patented the design, and the toy was sold widely and displayed at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair. Ithaca Kitty’s impact was dynamic; the toy’s incredible likeness to a live cat allowed farmers to use it as a scarecrow, and the toy softened the way for the popularity of rag toys and teddy bears in the decades to follow. You can purchase your own Ithaca Kitty from The History Center in Tompkins County.

Tess (9140) 2015 Toyota Prius C

Illustration from the novel

Tess is named after Tess of the Storm Country, a novel written by author Grace Miller White in 1909. White lived in the West End of Ithaca, which was an impoverished area home to squatters, known at the time as the Rhine or Silent City, which is also the setting of the novel. Tess and her father are squatters, and the novel follows the story of their conflict with the wealthy landowner Elias Graves. Inspired by current events and cultural currents at the time of its conception, the novel blends history with fiction, including the tragic Chi-Psi fire of 1906, conflicts over illegal net fishing in the waters near the Rhine, and changing women’s roles during the suffrage movement. Tess of the Storm Country was made into a movie four times, in 1918, 1922, 1932, and 1960. Learn more in this article from the Ithaca Journal.

Irene (9297) 2017 Toyota Tacoma

Irene Castle, 1914

Irene is named for Irene Castle, famed ballroom dancer and silent film actress. She and her husband, Vernon Castle, were credited with reviving the popularity of modern dancing. Veron Castle died following a plane crash in 1918, and shortly thereafter Irene married Robert E. Treman and moved to Cayuga Heights. The current Sigma Chi fraternity house at Cornell was previously owned by Castle, given to her as a wedding gift by her new father in law, Robert H. Treman. She sold the house to Sigma Chi after divorcing Treman in 1923.

Through her numerous performances, Irene Castle became a fashion icon, and ushered in changing trends in skirts and corsets, and began the bob haircut trend popular in the later flapper era. Castle was also a long-time animal rights activist.

Levi (9369) 2016 Honda Fit

Levi Spaulding

Levi is named for Levi Spaulding, who moved north to Ithaca from the deep south during the Jim Crow Era and soon became an established and respected pillar of Southside and the larger Ithaca community. He opened his own barbershop, and as of 1903 he was also the manager of the Arion Orchestra. He was notably the Ithaca Police Department’s first African American patrolman, often seen directing traffic at the corner of Aurora & State. He died of heart attack in the line of duty after pursuing a suspect in a dramatic axe murder case in 1930. Source: The Ithaca Times. Click here to read the full coverage of Levi Spaulding’s story.


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