The New York Public Library noted on Twitter, "Today in 1754: King's College opens in NYC, it will eventually be renamed Columbia University. http://bit.ly/M6UYJQ." Which means the school is 258 years young as of today—let's celebrate with a short lesson...
King George II chartered the school to "promote liberal education." King's College was first located in a small school house in lower Manhattan, and in 1755, Trinity Church presented "King’s College with a parcel of land bordered by Church Street, Barclay Street, Murray Street and the Hudson River, and intersected by Park Place." After that it moved to a three-acre site on Park Place, by the Hudson River in 1760. Then after a seven-year suspension between 1776 and 1783 (you know, the Revolutionary War), the school reopened in 1784 as Columbia College.
In 1857, the school moved to Madison Avenue and East 49th Street, the former Deaf and Dumb Asylum, as a temporary site. Columbia acquired 18 acres in Morningside Heights in 1892 and then finally moved there in 1897. Now, the school is planning more expansion—17 acres in Harlem (aka Manhattanville).
Click through for a look at the school, from the past to the present.