Foundation Building - Cooper Union

7 E. 7th St.
New York
NY 10003

Foundation Building - Cooper Union

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Cooper Union's Foundation Building is an Italianate brownstone, and the first structure in New York City to feature rolled-iron I-beams for structural support; Peter Cooper himself invented and produced these beams.[11] The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961,[3][12][13] and a New York City Landmark in 1965.[14]

On February 27, 1860, the school's Great Hall, located in the basement level of the Foundation Building, became the site of a historic address by Abraham Lincoln.[15] Abraham Lincoln's dramatic speech opposed Stephen A. Douglas on the question of federal power to regulate and limit the spread of slavery to the federal territories and new States. Widely reported in the press and reprinted throughout the North in pamphlet form, the speech galvanized support for Lincoln and contributed to his gaining the Party's nomination for the Presidency. It is now referred to as the Cooper Union Address.[16]

Since then, the Great Hall has served as a platform for historic addresses by American Presidents Grant, Cleveland,[17] Taft,[18] Theodore Roosevelt,[19][20] Woodrow Wilson,[21][22][23] and Bill Clinton. Clinton spoke on May 12, 1993 about reducing the federal deficit and again on May 23, 2006, as the Keynote Speaker at The Cooper Union's 147th Commencement along with Anna Deavere Smith.[24] [25] He appeared a third time on April 23, 2007, along with Senator Edward Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Norman Mailer, and others, at the memorial service for historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Most recently, Barack Obama delivered an economic policy speech at Cooper Union's Great Hall on April 22, 2010.[26] [27]

In addition to addresses by political figures, the Great Hall hosts semi-annual meetings of the New York City Rent Control Board, as well as incidental organized protests and recreational events. It is the stage for Cooper Union's commencement ceremony as well as the annual student orientation meeting for incoming freshman students. Cooper Union's Great Hall was also the site of the school's inauguration, whose primary address was given by Mark Twain.

The Great Hall also continues to serve as an important metropolitan art space and has hosted lectures and performances by such key figures as Joseph Campbell, Steve Reich, Salman Rushdie, Ralph Nader, Hamza Yusuf, Richard Stallman, Rudolph Giuliani, Pema Chodron, Michael Bloomberg, Evo Morales, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

(Sources:www.wikipedia.org/cooper_union
www.flickr.com/photos)

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