Utopia Neighborhood Club House

Harlem, New York, New York, USA

Date of closing unknown

The Disappointed Tourist: Utopia Neighborhood Club House , Ellen Harvey, 2024. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ 61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

We need more places like this in the world. Anon.

The building at 170 W. 130th street was originally converted from a private home to the Sojourner Truth House in 1920 to provide temporary care for “delinquent colored girls.” It was one of several enterprises created by the Utopia Neighborhood Club, a Harlem African-American women’s social club that aimed to meet the acute need in the neighborhood for children’s health and educational services. In 1928, the women of the Utopia Club hired Vertner Woodson Tandy, the first African-American architect registered in New York State, to redesign the facade of the building. The Utopia Children’s House and the Utopia Neighborhood Club was a vital resource to hundreds of Harlem children, including the African-American artist Jacob Lawrence, who studied there under Charles Alston. The building’s first floor was used as the headquarters for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. It is currently a private residence located in the Harlem historic district, designated in 2018. The painting is based on a photograph by Orlando Fernandez/World Telegraph & Sun.