9. Lewis Latimer House (1889)

Lewis Latimer HouseLewis Latimer House

The Lewis Latimer House in Flushing, a red and white Victorian home, honors Lewis Howard Latimer, an African-American inventor and humanist born to fugitive slaves who lived in the home from 1903 until his death in 1928. Latimer was one of the founders of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Queens, and he was known for his work with figures like Hiram S. Maxim, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. The red and white house, which dates back to around 1889, contains a museum dedicated to Latimer’s work and the achievements of other black scientists.

George Latimer, his father, escaped from Virginia to Boston before his subsequently capture and imprisonment. Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass strove to grant George freedom through a publication called “The Latimer Journal, and the North Star.” Growing up in the Antebellum period, Lewis Latimer joined the Union Navy in 1864 and later became an expert draftsman while working at a patent law office. After learning about physics and engineering, Latimer would work with Edison, under whom he invented and patented the carbon filament, which improved the production of the incandescent lightbulb. He also authored “Incandescent Lighting,” the foundation for modern electrical engineering theory. He would also go on to draft drawings for Bell’s invention of the telephone.