Ankling to Cooper Union

You know, I always thought it was “Coopers Union” and not “Cooper Union”.  But three plaques say it is “Cooper Union”.  Not a huge wording difference, but I guess it could mean the difference between a guild of barrel makers and a place founded by somebody by the name of “Cooper”.

And what is Cooper Union?  Well, here it is below, located at the corner of 4th Avenue, Cooper Square, and Astor Place.  Yeah, three adjoining streets; including the mysterious “4th Avenue” which disappears north of 14th Street.


But that’s just a building.  Cooper Union is actually the second of my above possibilities: “Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art“, a very selective and august university.  It was founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper and is known for giving full scholarships to its students.  Cooper was an industrialist and inventor.  He designed the first American steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb; and, according to Wikipedia, has a certain claim on the invention of Jell-O.  Now, that’s a diverse set of achievements.

But the building itself is also an achievement.


According to the plaque above, the Union building is the oldest building in the United States supported by rolled structural beams, a forerunner of today’s skyscrapers.

The next plaque is for both the school and the building.  It states “Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art – Peter Cooper, inventor, civic leader, philanthropist, founded this institution offering free education to all.  In its great hall, birthplace of many important social and political movements, American’s leading citizens have spoken.   Among them Abraham Lincoln, whose 1860 address here contributed to his presidential nomination.   Designed by Frederick A. Peterson, this building was opened in 1859.”


Right next to the Union is a square named, appropiately, Cooper Square.


The monument in the middle gives Cooper’s name and birth/death dates (February 12, 1791 and April 3, 1883, respectively).


Explore posts in the same categories: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

One Comment on “Ankling to Cooper Union”

  1. […] But three plaques say it is ???Cooper Union???.? Not a huge wording difference, but I guess it … to George Maloney, Jr.’s Coopers’ Union Local 15 Collection, …George Maloney, Jr.’s Coopers’ […]

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