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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Wilson, August, House
Reference Number 13000254
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
Town Pittsburgh
Street Address 1727 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 04/30/2013
Areas of Significance Literature
Link to full file
From his birth in 1945 until almost age thirteen, August Wilson and his siblings were reared by his mother, Daisy Wilson, in a small apartment behind Bella' s Market at 1727 Bedford Avenue. The house and the surrounding Hill District community would become central to Wilson 's writing and the direct source of inspiration for his ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle, a decade-by-decade anthology of African American life in Pittsburgh during the twentieth century. Critics regard Wilson as one of the leading American playwrights of the late-twentieth century. From the 1980s, when he first emerged as a significant figure in the American theater, until his death in 2005, he won seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, two Tony Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes. He is best known for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984), Fences (1985), and The Piano Lesson (1987). His plays examine such themes as personal identity, racial injustice, the struggle for power, and spiritual growth. Many of Wilson's works also employ rituals and belief systems derived from African American culture, and borrow extensively from jazz and the blues. By exploring the spiritual and cultural heritage embodied in the Hill District, Wilson hoped to re-envision and reclaim lost history, thereby facilitating collective healing and regeneration for African Americans.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria