The Lewis H. Latimer House
34-41 137th St., Flushing
The Lewis H. Latimer House in Flushing was home to the African American inventor and electrical pioneer Lewis Howard Latimer from 1903 until his death in 1928. The house is now a museum owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and operated by the Lewis H. Latimer Fund.
Constructed between 1887 and 1889 by the Sexton family, the Latimer House is a Queen Anne-style, wood-frame suburban residence that remained in the Latimer family until 1963. After being threatened with demolition, the house moved from Holly Avenue to its present location on 137th Street.
Latimer, who was born in 1848 to fugitive slaves, taught himself mechanical drawing while in the Union Navy. Throughout his career, he worked with acclaimed scientific inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim and Thomas Alva Edison. Latimer played a crucial role in the development of the telephone and, as Edison’s chief draftsman, invented a patented carbon filament used in incandescent light bulbs.
Today, the Latimer House hosts public programs and exhibitions that call attention to Latimer’s and other African Americans’ contributions to science, technology and American life.