William Rhinelander Stewart, philanthropist and financier

William Rhinelander Stewart (1852-1929) was born in NYC. He was president of the Rhinelander Real Estate Co. and an officer of the Greenwich Savings Bank and the Corn Exchange Bank. As a philanthropist, he was active in the work of the Conference on Charities and Corrections and served as president of the State Board of Charities for twenty-five years. Mr. Stewart is often considered responsible for Grant’s tomb funding, Washington Arch in Washington Square Park and was the President of the State Board of Charities in NY. The family was one of the oldest in NYC. He was also rumored to be a… Read More

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William Roche, Renaissance Ballroom

William Roche was an African American Real Estate Agent that helped build the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem. Constructed in 1921, the combination ballroom, casino and movie theatre was touted as the first non-segregated institution of its kind. Mr. Roche (Roach) was an immigrant from Montserrat who became a major player in uptown real estate and a member of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA. He owned a house cleaning business, but bought the northeast corner of 137th Street and Seventh Avenue, now known as Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. With Joseph H. Sweeney and Cleophus Charity, they built the Renaissance Theater there in 1921. They expanded… Read More

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