Saturday, February 18, 2012

New York's Acropolis on Morningside Heights Part 1

1868 (Battle took place 1776)
If we attempt to use the landscape in strategically planning a battle, the current location of Columbia University would be ideal. Above is a layout of the land and movement of troops, both British and American. Funneled between the North/Hudson River and a steep drop into Harlem; the above map depicts flanking and forward positions which proved advantageous. Key people involved in the battle were; Major Leitch, Colonel Knowlton General Clinton and General Washington. Gen. Washington was said to have already retreated and intended to use this as an advantage, knowing the British would pursue and not expect such a plan (activated by the landscape).  
More images of the Battle of Harlem

-Over 100 years after the battle-

 The above image is significant in understanding the swift development of the land through transportation and the access to the 'Points of Interest' indicated at the bottom portion. The list includes Columbia College located near the foot of Central Park (2nd location) as well as Cleopatra's Obelisk and access to steam lines. We can see how the Map and Guide were shaped to support social gatherings and general services (parks, theatres, hotels or markets, hospitals and asylums). In this image, it does stop near the insane asylum which is the current location of Columbia University (3rd location). If we dig further into the past, late 1700's, we can discover Columbia's first location. Each location was a symbol for education as we can see below...Over a decade later, we leap forward to the dedication of the current location and the conceptualization of the 'Sons of New York'. 


Screenshot (excerpt p26) from: Dedication of the "new site", Morningside Heights. Saturday the second of May ... General Clinton, addressing the New York convention. Published by Columbia University 1896.

This excerpt above stands out echoing the sentiment of a "broader vision". The content in the 100 plus pages articulates plans and reveals sketches for us to gather a great understanding of the collaborative mindset and the significance the space will have. George William Curtis, “This is the moment to secure this crowning opportunity for the old college to become the magnificent and adequate representative of the just aspirations of the city for an institution which is symbolic of the higher interests of every great and prosperous community”. (p32) In previous class discussions we've discussed how the vision of developers are projected upon the land as well as the people it intends to attract.

From the below image, try to picture College Walk and Low Memorial Library, named for his father...the transition from pastural lands spanning from Lenox Ave., to what became a football field (South Field) and tennis courts for Columbia,  then eventually Butler Library.

1893 (www)

1897 (www)

Below, this image shows Teacher's College on the right and Barnard College's Brinckerhoff Hall which is now part of Milbank Hall. across the path. Off the path, if you are able to zoom in (link below), you would be able to find a young woman and baby buggy. This remains a welcoming campus to the community and to growing families while remaining focused on the growing academic programs. Even in this image I have difficulty making out the elevations and layout of what I currently know...

1910 (www)

*Additional media 
Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development By Andrew S. Dolkart: Cronology of Morningside Heights pages xiii-xix

Columbia University and Morningside Heights By Michael V. Susi: Historical Images

Bowery Boys podcast on Columbia College 41:46: The Bowery Boys #90: Columbia University
Audio file/podcast, rich with information regarding past locations, presidents, who's who, schools and architecture.


Cassandra said...

The photo of the mudfield with the cows is priceless.

Cassandra said...

The photo of the mudfield with the cows is priceless.

Cassandra said...

The photo of the mudfield with the cows is priceless.