Happy Birthday Woody Guthrie!

Happy Birthday Woody Guthrie!
74 Charles Street (Image Via Google)
74 Charles Street (Image Via Google)

74 Charles Street (Image Via Google)

Singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie was born on this day 104 years ago. Although he passed away in 1967, he remains a strong influence on many contemporary artists.

He wrote his best known song, “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940 as a response to “God Bless America” which he believed was unrealistic to most Americans. In the period after he wrote the song and before it was published in 1944, he lived in Greenwich Village from 1943-1944 at 74 Charles Street. A plaque was installed on the building in 2013 to honor Guthrie as part of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center Medallion program, which has placed over fifty historic plaques throughout the five boroughs. Watch the 2013 Woody Guthrie Plaque dedication ceremony here. One of the speakers at the ceremony was Guthrie’s close friend, composer David Amram, whom GVSHP has featured as part of our Oral History program.

The 2013 Woody Guthrie Plaque on 74 Charles

The 2013 Woody Guthrie Plaque on 74 Charles

We have discussed Guthrie’s impact on the music industry several times including the famed Almanac House; his role in folk music of the 1940’s1950’s, and 1960’s; and his influence on Pete Seeger.

For a period in the early 1940’s, Guthrie lived in an apartment at 148 West 14th Street, just east of 7th Avenue.

For a period in the early 1940’s, Guthrie lived in an apartment at 148 West 14th Street, just east of 7th Avenue.

Although GVSHP did not place the plaque on 74 Charles Street, we have placed eight (and counting) plaques throughout the neighborhood to honor our cultural history. Read more about GVSHP’s plaque program here.

If you know a location with a strong link to the past that deserves a plaque, please email us at info@gvshp.org.

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