555 Edgecombe Avenue

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Paul Robeson Residence
(555 Edgecombe Avenue)
555 Edgecombe Avenue from north.jpg
555 Edgecombe Avenue is located in Manhattan
555 Edgecombe Avenue
555 Edgecombe Avenue is located in New York
555 Edgecombe Avenue
Location555 Edgecombe Avenue, Manhattan, New York City[1]
Coordinates40°49′43″N 73°56′25.5″W / 40.82861°N 73.940417°W / 40.82861; -73.940417Coordinates: 40°49′43″N 73°56′25.5″W / 40.82861°N 73.940417°W / 40.82861; -73.940417
ArchitectSchwartz & Gross[3]
NRHP reference #76001248
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 8, 1976[4]
Designated NHLDecember 8, 1976[5]
Designated NYCLJune 15, 1993

The Paul Robeson Residence, also known by its street address of 555 Edgecombe Avenue, is a National Historic Landmarked apartment building, located at 555 Edgecombe Avenue at the corner of West 160th Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was originally known as the "Roger Morris" when it was built in 1914-16 – after the retired British Army officer who built the nearby Morris-Jumel Mansion – and was designed by Schwartz & Gross, who specialized in apartment buildings. The building is architecturally relatively non-descript, with an exterior of brick and stone with nods to Beaux Arts architectural elements. It has thirteen floors and a penthouse. The main entrance is two stories in height, set in an arched opening with ironwork at the peak.[6]

For the first 25 years of its existence, the building was restricted to white tenants.[1] Around 1940, as the racial characteristics of the neighborhood changed, this policy was dropped. Subsequently, the building became known for the noted African-American residents, including musician and composer Count Basie, boxer Joe Louis, musician and bandleader Andy Kirk,[7] actor and producer Canada Lee, the psychologist Kenneth Clark,[2] and the actor and singer Paul Robeson,[3] a major figure of stage and screen who lived in the building from 1939 to 1941.[6]

After Robeson's death in 1976, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in his honor.[6][8][9] In 1993, it was designated a New York City landmark.[3] Edgecombe Avenue has also been co-named "Paul Robeson Boulevard".

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Brockman, Jorg (photographs) & Harris, Bill (text) (2002). Five Hundred Buildings of New York. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. p.387. ISBN 978-1-57912-856-2
  2. ^ a b White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000), AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.), New York: Three Rivers Press, ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5, p.524
  3. ^ a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009), Postal, Matthew A. (ed.), Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.211
  4. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  5. ^ "Paul Robeson Residence". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-18. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06.
  6. ^ a b c Gomez, Lynn (2012-01-16). "National Register of Historical Places Inventory -- Nomination Form: Paul Robeson Residence". United States Department of the Interior: National Park Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  7. ^ Andy Kirk, as told to Amy Lee, Twenty Years on Wheels, University of Michigan Press, 1989, p.114
  8. ^ NPS Civil Rights
  9. ^ Paul Robeson Residence Accompanying 3 photos, exterior, from 1976.[dead link]

External links[edit]