Secret Labyrinth Underneath One of New York’s Top Schools


Are you ready to dive deep into some underground history and mystery? There’s a network of secret tunnels under Columbia University, in New York City. But that’s not even the most interesting part. These tunnels are part of the original campus of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum.

Btw, the modern-day definition of “sanity,” and appropriate treatment for what that is, is far different from what it was in the 1700s and 1800s. Mental health was a fairly new field in America at this time, and treatments were largely experimental. What went on inside these kinds of institutions was not usually public knowledge…

A little bit about Columbia University 0:28
Bloomingdale Insane Asylum 1:43
What the treatment was like 4:16
The Bloomingdale Insane Asylum scandal 5:33
What’s so special about those tunnels? 6:56

#secretplaces #ColumbiaUniversity #BrightSide

Preview photo credit:
Alma Mater: By Nowhereman86 – Own work, CC BY 3.0 ,
Animation is created by Bright Side.

– Originally established as King’s College in 1754, it’s name later changed to Columbia College, and then to Columbia University in 1912.
– Columbia has been ranked among the top universities in the world numerous times. It even has research institutions outside of the U.S., called Columbia Global Centers.
– The Asylum opened in 1821, originally intended only for male patients. In 1837, a ward for female patients followed.
– Despite its therapeutic gardens and lovely walkways, the Asylum eventually declined financially, lost funding, and closed in the 1880s.
– It should also be mentioned that Bloomingdale Insane Asylum was built during a time when an effort was being made to make radical and positive changes in the mental health field.
– The most prominent scandal happened in 1872, when a New York journalist named Julius Chambers decided to write an article about the true nature of asylums.
– Chambers spent ten long days inside the walls of this institution. After his release, he published a series of articles in the New York Tribune.
– His hard and unpleasant work led to the exposure of some of the not-so-nice treatment that the patients were receiving, and the release of a dozen patients was set in motion.
– The underground tunnels connect most of Columbia University’s buildings, but the bulk of them are underneath Buell Hall.
– Today, the passageways house large-scale piping and electrical equipment – basically the guts of the Columbia University campus.
– Technically, taking a journey through the tunnels is discouraged, but the cement walls of the tunnels display generations of graffiti, spray-painted drawings, poetry, inspirational quotes, Latin verses…even helpful directions for those traveling through the tunnels and trying to find their way!

Music by Epidemic Sound

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