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369th Regiment Armory

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Home of the World War I Harlem Hellfighters

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Central Harlem
Infrastructure, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

Written by Tracy McFarlan, with contributions from Elena Martínez, for Place Matters and the Fall 2017 Local and Community History course of NYU's Archives and Public History Program

The 369th Regiment Armory stands on Fifth Avenue between 142nd and 143rd Streets in Upper Manhattan, just off Harlem River Drive. The hulking red brick colossus was originally built to house the 369th Infantry Regiment following World War I, and is still used to this day by the 369th Sustainment Brigade of the New York Army National Guard. The building combines the signature medieval fortress-like style of earlier New York City armories with contemporary Art Deco elements. It was designed and constructed in two parts, the drill shed from 1920 to 1924, and the administrative building from 1930 to 1933. Today, the building serves as a place for the 369th Sustainment Brigade to meet, train, and prepare for deployment – as well as a massive monument to the men who fought and

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Sources

“Ceremony of Breaking Ground for Armory of 15th Regiment.” New York Age.
November 6, 1921.

Chodnicki, Cheryl, and Marjorie Pearson. “369th Regiment Armory Designation
Report.” New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. May 14, 1985.

Dickey, Christopher. “WWI's Harlem Hellfighters Who Cut Down Germans and Gave
France Jazz.” Daily Beast. May 29, 2017. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the- harlem-hellfighters-who-cut-down-germans-and-gave-france-jazz.

Garcia, Sandra E. “A Life Dedicated to Raising the Profile of a Black Army Unit
Overlooked by History.” The New York Times. October 2, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/03/nyregion/an-oversight-of-military- history-is-addressed-in-harlem.html.

“Governor Cuomo Announces $2.2 Million Rehabilitation of the Entrance Facade at
the Harlem Armory, Home of the New York Army National Guard's ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ (Press Release)." The Official Website of New York State. April 28, 2016. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-22- million-rehabilitation-entrance-facade-harlem-armory-home-new-york.

James, Nathaniel, President of the 396th Historical Society, in an interview with the
author, November 3, 2017.

Little, Arthur W. From Harlem to the Rhine: The Story of New York’s Colored Volunteers. Covici Friede Publishers, 1936.

“Members of the Old 15th Tell How Colonel William Hayward Won the Name ‘Hell
Man.’ – 15 Wounded Arrive.” New York Age. February 8, 1919.

Sammons, Jeffrey T., and John H. Morrow, Jr. Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War:
The Undaunted 369th Regiment & the African American Quest for Equality.
University Press of Kansas, 2014.

Sammons, Jeffrey T. “Harlem’s Rattlers: African American Regiment of the New York
National Guard in World War I.” History Now: Journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Accessed November 30, 2017. https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/world-war- i/essays/harlems-rattlers-world-war-i-regiment.

Nominations

Bill Miles

Home of the highly decorated World War I Harlem Hellfighters, the first black and Puerto Rican regiment to fight on French soil, whose band introduced jazz to France. In the 1990s Arthur Ashe conducted tennis clinics here for neighborhood youth.


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