New York City Travel
A guide to the neighborhood of Morningside Heights home to Grant's Tomb, Columbia University, Cathedral of Saint John the Devine and Riverside Church    
 
 
Morningside Heights.

PRESIDENT SETH Low, of Columbia University, called the Morningside Heights the "Acropolis of the New World"; and to make good the name has crowned the plateau with the Low Memorial Library, pure Greek in design and with Pallas Athene at the threshold. The Library was given by President Low as a memorial of his father, Abiel Abbott Low, a citizen of Brooklyn and merchant of New York. The Library fronts on 116th street and is approached by the South Court, which is the principal entrance to the University ground.

The court is 350 by 130 feet, and consists of a paved esplanade, with granite wall and balustrade on three sides, and great Italian stone vases, fountains, flowers and shrubs, and broad steps leading up to the Library grade, to feet above the street. It is in the Italian style, and is an architectural feature unique in America. The two Irish yews, one on each side of the stairway, were brought to America more than a century ago, and were transplanted here from the old college site in 49th street. The flag standard was presented by Lafayette Post, No. 140, G. A. R. The Library building, of Indiana lime-stone on a granite base, and is considered one of the purest examples of classical Greek architecture in America. The plan is that of a Maltese cross, the central feature being the rotunda, vaulted by the immense dome.

A panel above the portico contains the record of Columbia's past:
King's College, founded in the Province of New York by royal charter in the reign of George H. Perpetuated as Columbia College by the people of the State of New York when they became free and independent; maintained and cherished from generation to generation for the advancement of the public good and the glory of Almighty God.

In the Library is treasured the old iron crown that once formed the finial of King's College. With its 285,000 volumes the Library ranks fourth in value of book collections in this country. The reading room is open to the public daily and at night.
The University has grounds of eighteen acres. The Campus, at the north end of the grounds, with its groves of oaks and chestnuts, is surrounded with a massive iron fence; this has on the Broadway side a bronze gate, which is a memorial of Herbert Mapes ('90 Arts and '92 Mines), who shortly after graduation sacrificed his life in an endeavor to rescue two girls from death by drowning.

Columbia occupies historic ground. Embedded in the masonry of the Engineering Building on the Broadway side is a bronze tablet erected by the Sons of the Revolution to commemorate the Battle of Harlem Heights, won by Washington's troops on this site, September 16, 1776.

The relief pictures the charge of the Rangers and riflemen under Major Andrew Leitch, of Virginia, and Colonel Thomas Knowlton, of Connecticut. Leitch is represented as fallen, and Knowlton with waving sword encouraging his men. Both were mortally wounded in the charge, Knowlton bequeathing to us his dying declaration, "I do not value my life if we but get the day." In the main battle which followed, on the plateau which lies to the west, the Americans did "get the day" in the face of superior numbers, and won a victory which inspired lasting courage and confidence in the Patriot army.

Across Broadway from Columbia is Barnard College, for women, the three halls—Fisk, Milbank and Brinkerhoff—forming an attractive quadrangle on 119th street. The College, which took its name from Dr. Charles Barnard, a former President of Columbia, is a department of the University. Hamilton Court, a dormitory for Columbia students, with rooms for 1,000, is on Amsterdam avenue northeast of the Universiy grounds. The Columbia Boat House on the Hudson at the foot of 115th street was given by Edwin Gould, a graduate of 1888. The athletic field is at Williamsbridge. The College of Physicians and Surgeons, a department of Columbia, is on West 59th street.

TEACHERS' COLLEGE, opposite Columbia, at 120th street, is for the training of teachers. It was founded in 1886 by Miss Grace Dodge, and is now a part of Columbia University. The Horace Mann School is a large private school conducted in connection with the College. Visitors are welcome from Monday to Friday inclusive, in the College.

Overlooking Morningside Park at 116th street and Morningside avenue is the monument by Karl Bitter in memory of Carl Schurz, Defender of Liberty and Friend of Human Right.

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