|The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past|
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|Free Academy Building (1849-1927).
This building was home for the College from 1849 to
1907. It was designed by James Renwick, Jr. and
located at Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street. It was likely the
first Gothic Revival college building on the East Coast. James Renwick
derived the form
of this building (and that of his previous design, Grace Church)
from the King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, and from Belgian
and Dutch town halls. The Free Academy rapidly outgrew its original space
of one hundred
and twenty-five feet by eighty feet by expanding to the east and
south. After the College of the City of New York (renamed in 1866) moved
new quarters in Hamilton Heights, the old building served as the
home of students in the preparatory classes. It served as the commerce school
the College between 1907 and 1927.
The old structure was deemed unsafe for further occupancy in 1927 and was demolished to make way for the building at 17 Lexington Avenue designed by Thompson, Holmes and Converse. The cornerstone was laid in 1929 by New York City Mayor James J. Walker and opened for classes for students enrolled in the City College School of Business in 1930. The building is presently occupied by the faculty, staff and students of the Bernard M. Baruch College, which became a separate senior college of CUNY in 1968.
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