Friday, November 20, 2015


Who can guess the location of this Harlem block taken circa 1931? We immediately spotted a clue with the distinct brownstone at the right which made us look for the mansion building to the left side of the picture.  Barely visible is the curved brick facade which was turned into a government health facility but was previously owned by one of the first women to be a self-made millionaire during the early years of the Harlem Renaissance.  This iconic address would be torn down decades later for another public building which still stands today.

ANSWER:  As some have guessed, this is West 136th Street just west of Lenox Avenue.  The brownstone with the open romanesque balcony was the clue that first got our attention.  Then the Black Tower of Madame C.J. Walker was the other indicator since we knew that it became a health clinic owned by the city by the time the Depression years came about: LINK

Photo courtesy NYC Department of records


  1. 136th and Lenox Ave. The former site of Madam C. J. Walker's mansion.

  2. 136th street between Lenox & ACP

  3. West 136th street at Lenox Ave. Current location is the Countee Cullen Library..

  4. Yes, it's West 136th Street, east of Lenox Ave. The more famous residence and business which is only barely visible to the left (the library replaced it) was Madame C J Walker's home, the "Dark Tower" and her local hair and beauty school on the ground floor.