Low Memorial Library:
The Building of a Great University
f ilent as a majestic .sailing ship our
days pass, the pace seemingly regulated by us. As we race to the end of a
century it is fitting that we pause to reflect upon the work of previous gen¬
erations and celebrate their enduring gifts. Without reflection our current
decade might easily pass with no notice of cause for celebration.
In 1891, since Columbia College had already outgrown the Park Place and
the 49th Street campuses, the Trustees of Columbia College decided to pur¬
chase the property of the Bloomingdale Asylum, 116th to 120th Street
between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The Trustees wisely decided
against taking the monies for this purchase from the College's already
incumbered funds. Two million dollars was raised, not with great ease, from
wealthy benefactors, citizens of New York, and alumni. Once the property
was secured, a plan for use of the Asylum buildings was proposed but never
executed. New buildings were needed.