5. King’s College
As King’s College, Columbia University began in the vestry hall at Trinity Church, then moved to a campus near present day City Hall.
Alexander Hamilton sings about getting a scholarship to King’s College in “My Shot,” and Philip Hamilton has just graduated from the college in “Blow Us All Away.” Though founded originally in Trinity Church, the location of King’s College that’s relevant to the musical was bordered by present-day West Broadway, Murray Street, Barclay Street and Church Street.
When the American Revolution began, the president was Myles Cooper (a royalist) – Cooper was threatened and ultimately chased back to England by a mob of patriots in May 1775. Hamilton held off the mob long enough for Cooper to escape by doing what he did best, launching into a speech (condemning the mob’s conduct).
The campus was used as a military hospital during the war, first by the Continental Army and then by the British after they seized New York in late 1776 (until they vacated the city in 1783). King’s College was renamed Columbia College in 1784 and renamed Columbia University in 1896 (From 1847 to 1897 the campus was located in Midtown from 49th and 50th Streets, between Madison and Park Avenue, the land was only sold to the Rockefellers in 1985!). Columbia moved to its upper Manhattan location in 1897.