The Hotel Olga–the premier hotel for African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance–is now rubble

Updated: Mar 16


An ad for the Hotel Olga in The New York Age in 1923

In April scaffolding appeared around 695 Lenox Avenue, the boarded-up building on the corner of 145th Street that once housed the Hotel Olga, the premier hotel for African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance.

It was the first real sign the notable three-story building would likely will be torn down. Local historian Eric K. Washington called it "one of the last iconic structures of that storied era," where guests such as Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith stayed when segregation in public accommodations was still a fact of life.

And now the building is officially gone. A demolition crew got to work in late October, and only fencing and rubble remain. New signs reveal the owner as "Lenox by the Bridge LLC."

Last spring a worker behind the desk at the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, which has its headquarters around the corner at 106 West 145th Street, said the activist's planned civil rights museum would be going up on the site of NAN's current offices as well as 695 Lenox Avenue. The employee said to expect an official announcement on the organization's website.

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