Thursday, March 8, 2012

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The Dark Tower

One of the most famous physical legacies of the Harlem Renaissance was the Madame C.J. Walker salon that would be known as the Dark Tower. Located on 108-110 West 136th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue (today's Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard), the townhouse would not only become the Harlem headquarters of the Walkers, but also would become known for entertaining the cultural elite of the Renaissance years. By the end of the Depression years of 1941, the townhouse was demolished by the City of New York, and the Countee Cullen Library was constructed soon after, still standing today. Heading towards the mid 20th century, historic preservation was not viewed as important, so a great cultural heritage was lost. In the perfect world, the library and the original Walker building could have been combined for the ultimate historical source on Harlem. Take the 2,3 to 135th Street to get to the Library today. Photo courtesy NYPL


  1. Of course a libray was needed. However, New York CIty continued to destroy many buildings that played a historic part within the city. When the beautiful Pennsylvania Station was destroyed in 1961 to make way for Madison Square Garden and outrage was heard from the citizens of NYC, the NYC Landmarks Commission was formed to save historic buildings from the wreckers ball. Madame CJ's home which could have become a museum, was not protected and the powers that existed had their way.

  2. Leaving it intact would have made a lovely homage to the genius of Mr. Vertner Tandy as well as a symbol of the historic period known today as the Harlem Renaissance.

  3. what a loss! it could have made a grand library, much better than the ugly monster that replaced it