John Dykeman Blog

aimless ramblings of a humble gentleman from Montreal. Urban Gardening, Travel, Flight, Art, Science

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Location: Kirkland, QC, Canada

Sharing some images and thoughts from travel, local area, garden. Family roots in USA.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Baker Field Columbia and Dyckman family in Manhattan

Baker Field of Columbia University is at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, in New York City.

This is mostly dedicated to athletic pursuits, with the football pitch located there as well as the rowing club along the shoreline. 

This land was previously part of the Dyckman farmland and estate, centered on the mansion, Mon Désir (My Desire) which was in the middle of this land. The topography here is flat, and only 30 feet (10 meters) above the Hudson (to the west), and Spuyten Duyvil (north) and East River. To the south, it is the highlands of Inwood Heights. This was also at one time, part of the Dyckman family farm holdings and it is where the Dyckman House (last Dutch style farmhouse on Manhattan Island) is situated.

The Baker Field area was sold at the turn of the last century to Columbia University for $700,000 which was obviously not a huge sum for such a valuable piece of property. However, Columbia didn't develop the land as a real estate venture, but preferred to keep this holding as a wide open area.

The Mon Désir mansion was kept as a place to house visiting teams and as equipment storage for up to the 1950's, but was razed to make way for more purpose built batiments. 

See the evolution of Spuyten Duyvil region over the centuries, as the channel was straightened to allow for ship travel. At the same time it was widened and dredged . The municipal borders remained the same so the northmost part of Manhattan, now part of the mainland, (Marble Hill) is still technically part of Manhattan. A bridge (called Farmer's or Dyckman Bridge) spanning the East River at one time is now a roadway (see middle panel).

Spuyten Duyvel showing the marshland, and bridges (Farmers and Kingsbridge, which was Philipse toll bridge) Philipse Manor started directly north and was run with iron hand by Frederik Philipse, using slaves to build a feudal farming enterprise (of which Philipse was lord and master).

Another perspective looking north west from The Bronx


Johnson Iron Works on shore of Spuyten Duyvel 

 Aerial view of Baker Field with the widened Spuyten Duyvel waterway



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