Thursday, December 29, 2011

West Gym, Harpur College (S.U.N.Y.), 1092 Bunn Hill Rd, Vestal Gardens, NY

Photo courtesy of Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives

Binghamton University was established in 1946 as Triple Cities College to serve the needs of local veterans returning from World War II of the Triple Cities area. Established in Endicott, New York; the college was a branch of Syracuse University. Originally, Triple Cities College offered local students the first two years of their education, while the following two were spent at Syracuse. However, starting in the 1946-47 year, students were allowed to earn their degrees entirely in Binghamton.

When the college split from Syracuse and became incorporated into the State University of New York (SUNY) in 1950, it was renamed Harpur College, in honor of Robert Harpur, a Colonial teacher and pioneer who settled in the Binghamton area. He was a teacher of mathematics at Columbia University (known then as King's College). One of his prized pupils was Alexander Hamilton while he studied there in 1774.(1) Harpur served in various capacities in the New York government during the American Revolution.
Somewhere from 1787 to 1795 Robert Harpur secured a "patent", so called, in Warren township, covering some 60,000 acres of land, and began to develop it. Harpur seems to have been a man of more than ordinary ability, having recieved the distinction by some historians of being "the most distinguished pioneer who honored the county of Broome with a residence."

In 1951, the college began a move to its current location in Vestal, New York. The 387-acre (1.57 km2) site was purchased from a local farmer, anticipating future growth for the school. Colonial Hall, the original building of the former campus, stands today as the Village of Endicott Visitor's Center.

The campus broke ground at its current location in Vestal, New York, in 1954.
The first building to be constructed on the new campus in Vestal was the East Gymnasium, completed in 1957. The north end of campus houses two separate gyms -- the East Gym and the West Gym -- for student recreation and varsity athletic purposes.

In 1965, the campus was formally designated the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Binghamton University was adopted as the informal name in 1992.

In 2004 the West Gym was replaced with a Fieldhouse, including an Aquatics Center.

Jerry performed here on
5/2/70 early and late shows with NRPS and The Grateful Dead.

2.)^Press & Son Bulletin, Binghamton, NY, 2004-01-25


  1. Love your blog. Wanted to let you know the photo above was not the site of the Harpur Dead show. That shot is the East Gym (formerly Women's Gym) -- and Dead played West Gym, formerly known then as Men's Gym. I was a student there 1973-77 and heard amazing tale of that night!

  2. I've added the correct photo I got from Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.

  3. This article is great and refresh the happenings of centuries ago. Thank you for sharing this blog.