117th Street

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A vestigial 117th Street sign can still be glimpsed on Morningside Drive, between EC and Faculty House

117th Street does not exist. At least, not in Morningside Heights. The stretch of the street that once lay betweeen Riverside Drive and Morningside Drive was first eviscerated by the main Columbia campus, which when constituted as a superblock in the 1890s stretched from 116th Street to 120th Street. The next segment to go was that between Broadway and Claremont Avenue, swallowed for the Barnard campus.

The remaining portion of the street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside, was actually developed with rowhouses and became known as Dean's Row because it contained the original homes of many Columbia deans, as well as language houses and other organizations, including:

But these were all torn down, and the street abandoned, when the elevated plaza that leads to East Campus and the International Affairs Building was constructed in the 1960s and 70s.

A vestigial street sign announcing the presence of 117th Street still stands on the eastern side of Morningside Drive where it once intersected with the street. It now points to the ugly metal gate between Faculty House and East Campus.


  1. There is some conflict on this point. While the University's 1943 Catalogue states that 423 W 117th is the home of Deutsches Haus, the gift of Edward D. Adams, John B. Pine's 1920 volume of charters, statutes, real estate conveyances, endowments, and other things states that 419 W 117th Street was purchased with a gift from Edward Adams, and that the building had been known as Deutsches Haus until Nov. 4, 1918 when the trustees voted to rename it Columbia House. Pine goes on to note that the work conducted in the house also lapsed until 1920 when the trustees voted to revive the unused deutsches haus endowment. "Charters Acts of the Legislature Official Documents and Records" compiled by John B. Pine (1920) pgs. 112, 411, 463-4.