The population of the City of Elmira is about 35,000 people, with about 100,000 living in the surrounding Horseheads-Corning area – big city enough to be dynamic and diverse, small town enough to be accessible and friendly.
Within a ten-block radius of the Elmira College campus, there are many restaurants, a performing arts center, a fine arts museum, and shopping. There are about 60 churches, serving most denominations, within walking distance of campus. Shopping malls, movie theaters, and dozens of restaurants are minutes away by car or public transportation.
Many scholars say Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) did his best work in Elmira, penning the American literary classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many other works in his study. In 1870, Clemens married Elmira College alumna Olivia Langdon of the Class of 1864. In 1983, the Langdon family gave the study and the historic Quarry Farm to Elmira College. Now Quarry Farm is used as a residence for visiting Twain scholars from all over the world. The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm offers year-round educational programs.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Space Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins, fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, Heisman trophy winner Ernie Davis all hail from Elmira.