10. Columbia University

A memorial at Columbia University

The Battle of Harlem Heights, which took place in September 1776, occurred at the site of present-day Columbia University and Riverside Park. The battle was a turning point in the Revolutionary War following difficult Patriot losses at the Battle of Long Island and Landing at Kips Bay. American and British troops skirmished at today’s 106th Street and Broadway, and fighting was documented to have extended northwards to 125th Street.

Most of the fighting, though, took place around 120th Street and Riverside Drive, which is today the northern end of the main Columbia campus near Teachers’ College. A plaque on Columbia’s Math Building marks the site of the battle in which the Americans successfully pushed the British back to 106th Street after they advanced north. Although around 30 Americans were killed, the battle was a moral victory for the troops under Washington, Greene, and Thomas Knowlton. George Washington noted of this maneuver, “This little advantage has inspired our troops prodigiously. They find it only requires resolution and good officers to make an enemy give way.”