Our timeline lists significant events in the history of Manhattanville, together with a listing of selected national and world events that provide context for Manhattanville's development.

"One hundred years ago, Manhattanville was changing quickly; in many ways changing more in the first half of the 20th century than even in the 21st Century."

Kenneth T. Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor in History and Social Science, Columbia University
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Henry Hudson exchanges goods for food with Lenape Indians at the present site of Manhattanville.

1613 | Juan Rodriguez, born in Santo Domingo (now known as the Dominican Republic) to a Portuguese sailor and an African woman is considered the first immigrant, the first person of African heritage, the first merchant, the first Latino, and the first Dominican to settle in Lower Manhattan.


Dutch begin to settle in the “Hollow Way,” as they called the valley that would eventually become 125th Street.

1664 | The English capture New Amsterdam from the Dutch and rename the city New York.


Harlem grows to include forty Dutch farming families.


The Battle of Harlem Heights culminates near the present Morningside campus, Columbia University. It is the first major victory for General Washington in the American Revolution.

1789 | Bill of Rights is adopted. George Washington elected 1st president of the United States.

1799 | Gradual emancipation of slaves is declared in New York State. Several decades will pass before slavery is finally and totally abolished.


The Village of Manhattanville is founded by merchant Jacob Schieffelin, local Quakers and others.


The Grid Plan for Manhattan calls for the gradual development of orderly construction as far north as 155th Street.


The first stage coach line opens in New York, running from near City Hall to a stop at 129th Street.

1820 | Harriet Tubman is born. Born into slavery, she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, and subsequently became one of the most successful "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. She is credited with leading more than 300 slaves to freedom.


Manhattanville features fifteen houses and two private schools. The population consists of British, Dutch, and African Americans.


Manhattanville’s population booms to 500 residents.


The Hudson River Railroad is completed, connecting Manhattanville to the downtown area.

1852 | Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.


Manhattanville’s streets are partly paved. Its first library opens.

1857 | James Buchanan is inaugurated as the 15th president. Dred Scott v. Sandford: Landmark Supreme Court decision holds that Congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states, and that slaves are not citizens.

1861 | The American Civil War begins.

1862 | The process of pasteurization is discovered in France.

1865 | 13th Amendment is ratified abolishing slavery.


A streetcar line opens allowing passengers to travel from 125th Street to City Hall in an hour and a half.

1868 | 14th Amendment is ratified granting citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” and overturns Dred Scott v. Sandford.

1870 | 15th Amendment is ratified giving African American men the right to vote.

1871 | Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, emigrates from Puerto Rico to New York. He is considered by many to be the “Father of Black History.”

1873 | Ten years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation a former slave, John Roy Lynch is elected Speaker of the House for the State of Mississippi becoming the first African-American in the U.S. elected to this position.


Nearly all of Manhattan’s milk supply arrives by railroad. The 130th Street depot is a major hub.

1886 | The Statue of Liberty is dedicated.

1892 | Ellis Island opens to immigrants.


The Sheffield Farms company opens the first milk pasteurization plant in the nation.

1898 | Spain cedes Puerto Rico to the United States under the Treaty of Paris, concluding the Spanish-American War.


Manhattanville has more than 600 buildings and a population nearing 15,000.


The subway opens, leading to a building boom, and finally connecting the neighborhood seamlessly into the rest of the city.


Sheffield Farms works with reformers to supply healthy, inexpensive milk to the city’s poor.

1908 | Ford introduces the Model T.


The Sheffield Farms dairy company builds a new processing plant and six–story stable in Manhattanville.


The International Pure Milk League is founded by two women who live on Riverside Drive.


New York City mandates that all milk sold to children must be pasteurized.

1914 | Panama Canal completed​.


Thomas Edison shoots a film in front of the entrance to the Claremont Theatre at 135th Street.


Sheffield Farms supplies 20 percent of the city’s milk.

1917 | United States enters World War I. Puerto Ricans are granted U.S. citizenship.

1919 | Prohibition Era begins.​

1920 | 19th Amendment grants women the right to vote.​


The Harlem Renaissance leads to a flowering of arts and letters among African Americans in upper Manhattan.


Sheffield Farms becomes the largest dairy products company in the world.

1927 | Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic.

1929 | Stock Market crashes, the Great ​Depression begins.

1931 | The Empire State Building opens to the public.


The George Washington Bridge opens to traffic, lots of traffic.

1932 | Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected 32nd president, institutes the New Deal to end the Depression.


Sheffield Farms hires African–American foremen at its 125th Street plant.


The last milk–delivery horses in Manhattanville are replaced by trucks.


Charles R. Drew received a Doctorate in Medical Science from Columbia University, the first African American to do so. Dr. Drew, whose research focused on blood plasma was responsible for the “Blood for Britain” project which collected blood.

1941 | Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. The United States enters World War II.

1954 | Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas declares that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional.



General Grant Houses open.

1960 | John F. Kennedy elected 35th president.


Manhattanville Houses open.

1963 | President Kennedy is assassinated.

1965 | Voting Rights Act passed to prevent states from disfranchising minority voters.

Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is assassinated.

1967 | Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African–American nominated and confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

1968 | Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

Robert F. Kennedy, candidate for U.S. president is assassinated.

1970 | Commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, thousands of members of the LGBT community march through New York into Central Park in what is considered America's first gay pride parade.

1981 | Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman nominated and confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

1989 | David N. Dinkins is elected as the first African–American mayor of New York City.


MTA opens Manhattanville Bus Depot.

2000 | Vermont becomes the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions.

2001 | On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with Al–Qaeda hijack four airliners and carry out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two planes crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, a third plane hits the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashes in a field in Pennsylvania.


Lee C. Bollinger is inaugurated as the 19th president of Columbia University. During his inauguration speech, President Bollinger identifies the need to find space for the University to continue to meet its mission.


Cuban native Jordi Reyes–Montblanc is elected Chair of Community Board 9. President Bollinger announces the intention to build a campus in the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone of West Harlem.

2003 | The Supreme Court rules in the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger that the use of affirmative action in school admission is constitutional if it treats race as one factor among many.


NYC breaks ground on West Harlem Piers Park.

2005 | Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


The West Harlem Local Development Corporation is formed.


Columbia University begins the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure in June and finishes in December.

2008 | Barack Obama is elected 44th president the first African–American president of the United States.


General Project Plan Adopted and Affirmed.

Pat Jones becomes CB9 Chairperson.


West Harlem Community Benefits Agreement signed by President Lee C. Bollinger and WHLDC President Julio Batista.

2009 | Sonia Sotomayor becomes the third female and first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

U.S. Senate confirms Columbia Trustee Eric H. Holder, Jr. United States Attorney General.


Columbia University holds a groundbreaking ceremony for the Manhattanville Campus.


The Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions is signed by Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger.


Former CB9 Chair and West Harlem Local Development Corporation President Pat Jones dies.
Columbia earns first LEED–ND Platinum certification in New York City.

2012 | President Barack Obama re–elected.


Manhattanville Campus Dedication.