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Bloomingdale Asylum

For much of the nineteenth century  the landscape of the future Morningside Heights was dominated by a major mental hospital. A pioneering institution, it was widely admired for many years, but came to face serious challenges and criticism during the last 25 years before its departure to White Plains in 1894.  Thanks to its strategic placement at the center of a narrow ridge and its dogged defense of that position in the late 1880s, it created the space for the coming of Columbia University and the ultimate transformation of the Heights into an "acropolis" of educational, religious, and public institutions.