They didn’t used to call Morningside Heights “Asylum Hill” for nothing. Before Columbia built its campus on Broadway and 116th Street, the grounds were occupied by the Bloomingdale Lunatic Asylum. Buell Hall, below, is the only campus building that was originally part of the asylum.
Opened in 1808, the asylum was named for Bloomingdale Road, the old name for this stretch of Broadway. Until the late 1800s, the neighborhood was bucolic and sylvan, and through the years the asylum became somewhat of a tourist attraction. In 1893, it relocated to Westchester, and Columbia, then on Madison Avenue in the 50s, took over, building the campus as we know it today.
Look closely; I love the family of deer hanging out on the asylum grounds.