Walk this Way: Near Westside

In trying to stay physically active, I sometimes find myself getting bored doing the same-old, same-old routine at the gym, which has prompted me, when the weather’s good for it, to walk sometimes instead. In doing so, I’ve found that Chemung County is full of interesting places to take a stroll, from the sidewalks of downtown Elmira to the parks of Big Flats and beyond.

So I thought I’d use a series of posts to share a few of my favorite local walks, starting with Elmira’s historic Near Westside.


The district, as its name would suggest, is located in the City of Elmira, just before the Town of Elmira (or the West Side) begins. It’s marked with a number of signs like the one above, and all of its street signs have little Victorian houses printed on them, so it’s easy to know when you’re in the district and when you’ve wandered outside its borders.

Easily, the best part about walking the district is getting to look at the unique, intricate homes that line Church, Water, Gray, Grove, Walnut and the other streets in this vicinity. More than 80% of the houses in this area were built before 1914, and while some are in wonderful shape and others could use a little TLC, they’re impressive feats of architectural achievement and they all have tons of character.

Basically, they just don’t make them like this anymore:





Some of them even have the hitching posts of old still out front:


I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite homes, and this fun-but-little-known-fact about Elmira…the Near Westside represents the largest concentration of Victorian homes in all of New York State. A walking tour is a great way for both tourists to experience the district and locals to appreciate that it’s right here.

Plus, it’s good for a lil’ exercise, too.




Rookie’s Tip: Stay tuned for more “Walk this Way” posts highlighting additional Mark Twain Country walks!

For more information about the district, contact:


353 Davis Street
Elmira, NY 14901
(607) 733-4924