Nearly 30,000 students attend Columbia University, located in Morningside Heights in New York City. But how many know the many secrets of the school? Here are 15 fun facts about the institution:

1. Columbia is Built Atop a Former Mental Asylum

Bloomingdale Mental Asylum-Columbia University-King's College-Manhattan-Morningside Heights-NYCImage from Wikimedia Commons

The current location of Columbia University was built on the former Bloomingdale Asylum, a public hospital petitioned for by the doctors at King’s College (formerly Columbia University pre-Revolutionary War). The 26-acre bucolic institution extended over to where the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is today. Columbia University moved to this location in 1897, with a campus designed by McKim, Mead and White.

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4 thoughts on “The Top 15 Secrets of Columbia University in NYC

  1. The Battle of Harlem Heights began as a terrible rout for the Americans in the face of superior British troops. Sure of their victory and contemptuous of the Americans, the British bugler blew the Gone Away call – a signal used in the fox hunt. The Patriots were so angered that they turned and fought to victory against the British.

  2. The Poe mantlepiece is in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which does house the University Archives, but the mantlepiece is not part of that collection. I believe it is part of the general collection. You can visit it on the 6th Floor of Butler Library. Butler Library’s lobby is also a whispering gallery.

  3. How about the nuclear reactor in Pupin hall? It fully built and ready for operation but protests from the surrounding community halted the project before it could be fueled. I remember inspecting it in 1970 as part of a tour for prospective engineering students. This was no desktop experiment. It was massive and occupied several floors. It looked like something out of a James Bond movie.

    1. It’s mentioned in the piece, but we’re curious if it still exists. We visited down there but didn’t see anything in the basement that might be it (we think(.

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