National Negro Opera Company

National Negro Opera Company

Built in 1894, this residential property served as headquarters for the National Negro Opera Company, the nation’s first Black opera company, established by Madame Mary Cardwell Dawson in 1941.

The home also provided temporary rooming quarters for singer Lena Horne and sports heroes such as Steelers Roy Jefferson, John Nisby, and Marvin Woodson and Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.

The house is now vacant and severely deteriorated, but local advocates are working with community partners to create a plan for stabilization and identify potential new uses that honor the building’s legacy.

On May 24, 2022, in Lincoln-Lemington, a groundbreaking took place at the National Opera Company House. The city joined with the community to restore and preserve the original home of the National Negro Opera Company which became the first permanent Black opera company in the country when it was founded in 1941.

For more information contact:

  • The Young Preservationists Association
  • 700 River Avenue
  • Suite 318
  • Pittsburgh PA, 15212
  • Phone: (412) 342-8972