Thursday, February 20, 2014

☞ REMEMBER: The House Beautiful of Harlem




If there ever was a building that needed an individual landmark designation in Harlem, The Lafayette Theatre should have been the one.   This central Harlem establishment was called The House Beautiful by locals and had numerous clubs such as Connie's Inn and The Ubangi Club along with being the birthplace of Harlem's black theater on a national level thanks to non other than Orson Wells.  So what happened?

It probably would be easy to blame the developer for tearing down the building on the corner of 131st and ACP/7th Avenue but the neglect of the landmark had been many decades in the making.  By the 70s, one corner of the building had been demolished and by the time the 90s rolled around the church that owned the theater decided to remove all of the ornaments on the main facade.

The land was finally sold by the mostly shuttered church over a year ago, the remaining structures demolished and the pretty standard glass residential building rising on the spot will now have a new house of worship within.  It appears that all involved will have something to gain but Central Harlem will be the big loser as far as its historic past is concerned.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, quite a loss and the old photo shows a striking theater.

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