Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Geer Memorial Gate

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Institution Name: Barnard College
Original/Historic Place Name: Geer Memorial Gate
Location on Campus: main entrance to campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1921original construction Polhemus & Coffin
Designer: Polhemus & Coffin
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1921-present (2006)other (main gate)

The Barnard campus expanded southward following the 1901 purchase of the block bounded by West 116th and West 119th Streets, Broadway, and Claremont Avenue. However, even after the completion of Brooks Hall and Students' Hall (now Barnard Hall), the campus did not have a prominent gate defining its entrance. In 1921, Helen Hartley Jenkins and Grace Hartley Jenkins donated funds to Barnard for the construction of a main entrance gate on Broadway, opposite the front entrance to Barnard Hall. This gate was a memorial to Helen Hartley Jenkins Geer (class of 1915). The gateway is significant to the Barnard campus, defining the main entrance to the college from Broadway. It is also significant as a beautiful work of architecture and design by the New York firm of Polhemus & Coffin. The gateway consists of a pair of large rusticated stone posts of Italian Renaissance design, six smaller posts, ornate French rococo-inspired wrought-iron gates capped by elaborate cartouches, and an iron fence.


Barnard College, New York, New York: Executive Summary: Architectural Campus Master Plan: November 2002. New York: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, 2002.

Dolkart, Andrew S. Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, 203-24.

"Geer Memorial Gateway, Barnard College, New York," Yearbook of the Architectural League of New York (1922).

Miller, Allice Duer, and Susan Myers. Barnard College: The First Fifty Years. New York: Columbia University Press, 1939.

White, Marian Churchill. A History of Barnard College. New York: Columbia University Press, 1954.


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Last update: November 2006