Sep

14

Weird Columbia History

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I bet you there’s like a million fucking ghosts in there.

Columbia University is old. Like, very, very old. Founded in 1754, this school has a ton of history. So, if you’re interested in the past of CU and have 45 minutes to spare, the Visitor Center in Low offers free historical campus tours every Monday and Wednesday at 1 pm.  However, if you’re like the majority of students and aren’t free right in the middle of a Monday or Wednesday, don’t fret. We sent first year Cyril Mauro to take the tour and collect a round-up of some of the cool/fascinating/eek! facts:

  • The facade of Low Library is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. So for all of you CC Freshman (myself included) who are and will continue to be dragging themselves through the classics in Lit Hum, maybe reading on Low Beach while basking in the glorious Ancient Roman-inspired architecture can help boost your morale.
  • Columbia (King’s College, at the time) was originally located downtown near the southern tip of Manhattan, close to where City Hall currently stands. It was then moved uptown when more space became available in the rural northern reaches of the island.
  • The Morningside Heights campus is situated the site previously occupied by the Bloomingdale Lunatic Asylum. The only remaining building from the asylum days is Buell Hall, which is the oldest building on campus. It’s better known now as the Maison Frainçaise.

  • The Curl, the sculpture located in front of Columbia Business School, looks fairly abstract from the ground. However, apparently when seen from above, it looks like a dollar sign. My guide joked that the only people who can see the “$” are graduates of the business school itself, as they can afford to do fly above it. So, for all of you Financial Econ majors out there, hopefully one day you will be able fly your chopper uptown to see The Curl’s full glory for yourselves.
  • Havermeyer Hall has been home to much more than your orgo class. The building’s largest lecture hall, Room 309, is one of the most filmed classrooms in the United States, with blockbuster films such as Ghostbusters, the Spider-Man Trilogy, and Malcolm X making use of the gargantuan space.
  • The mural immediately inside the front doors of Butler depicts the Greek Goddess Athena battling evil demons. With all of these odes to the ancient empires of Europe around campus, the Core’s emphasis on the classics makes a little more sense now.

So there you have it! If you’re looking for something interesting to do, love Columbia and its history, and want to get out of Butler for an hour, going on a historical campus your will be well worth your time. It’ll give you a little context on how CU got to be where it is today, while also giving you solid ammunition to use when your friends and family back home quiz you about this institution.

Shawty got Low via Columbia

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2 Comments

  1. Melinda Brill

    Yup - way to go Cyril . Whatcha writing about next?

  2. A literate SEAS student  

    There are like 5 typos in this article. Sloppy.

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