23. Will Marion Cook House (1918)

Will Marion Cook House

Located in the St. Nicholas Historic District of Harlem, the Will Marion Cook House is a townhouse whose namesake African-American musician and composer lived there from 1918 until his death in 1944. The historic district, colloquially known as “Strivers’ Row,” was developed by David H. King, Jr. and was where a number of leaders of the Harlem Renaissance resided.

Cook began his musical career as a student under Antonín Dvořák in 1894 and 1895, and just a few years later he would collaborate with Paul Laurence Dunbar on the musical Clorindy: The Origin of the Cakewalk. Cook founded the New York Syncopated Orchestra, an early jazz group that brought Black musicians to the UK, and he would go on to perform with his orchestra in front of King George V. Cook gained significant fame for his musical In Dahomey, which had 53 full performances. Cook would go on to influence other African-American artists like Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker.