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There are a number of springs and wells in Bloomingdale and Morningside Heights. We know where they are thanks to James Reuel Smith and his book, “Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx”. In 1897, he began his quest to document all springs and wells north of 59th Street in Manhattan and all in the Bronx. A-la New York Times fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham, Smith, with his camera, rode his bicycle to his sites. When he died in 1935, he left his notes and photographs to the New-York Historical Society, along with sufficient funding to publish “Springs and Wells” in 1938. Smith found the following ones in the Bloomingdale and Morningside Heights area:


Spring near the Hudson River Shore at West 104th Street


Well near Broadway and West 108th Street


Spring in Central Park near Central Park West and in line with West 109th Street


Spring just north of Cathedral Parkway between Morningside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue. Opposite the site of the spring was the Women’s Hospital, of which the eastern section of its wall remains. Water from the spring flows from a tube placed in the modern wall, and a lengthy drain was placed along the wall so that the sidewalk would be free of slippery ice in the winter.


Spring and well under the stable of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, now Columbia’s campus, approximately 250 feet east of Broadway, and about half way between 114th and 115th Streets.


Spring near Amsterdam Avenue east of the Croton water gate-house by West 119th Street.


Well 75 feet west of Claremont Avenue on the south side of West 119th Street.


Spring on the side of the hill west of Grant’s Tomb between 122nd and 123rd Street.

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