Known Name(s)

Harris (Primary)
Harris (Secondary)


138 Goffe St. New Haven, CT (Primary) (1939, 1940, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950)
734 Orchard St. New Haven, CT (Secondary) (1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955)

Establishment Type(s)

Beauty Parlor

Physical Status


Detailed History

The Harris Beauty Parlor was listed in The Green Book for eleven years, from 1939 to 1950. It was one of ten African American hair salons in Connecticut advertised in the travel guide. The property continues the same use today, as the Sharper Image Unisex Salon. 

The beauty parlor’s first location at 138 Goffe St. was built prior to 1886 and was housed in a one-story wing added sometime between 1901 and 1923. According to New Haven city directories, Frances Harris, an African American woman from Virginia, was running the beauty shop when it first appeared in The Green Book in 1939. A current stylist at Sharper Image recalled Harris, for whom her cousin worked at one time. 

In 1947, Harris relocated her business to 734 Orchard St., a multi-family home that was built in about 1890. Harris had purchased the house with her husband Curtis, a railroad fireman, in about 1945 and she lived there into the mid-1960s; Curtis died in 1949. She offered beauty services in her home here through at least 1960. 

Between 1948 and 1950, both locations were listed in The Green Book under the Harris Beauty Parlor, a discrepancy that reveals how difficult it was for The Green Book to keep current with its information. In fact, beginning in 1947, the beauty parlor at 138 Goffe St. changed ownership and went by a number of different names, including "Lopes & Twyman" and the "Kay-Velle Beauty Shop,” none of which were reflected in The Green Book. Both names referred to two women consistently listed in association with the salon throughout its Green Book years: Katherine E. Lopes and Marvelle K. Twyman. Lopes was an African American woman who lived with her husband, Matthew Lopes, just up the street from the beauty parlor at 680 Orchard Street. Little could be found on Twyman.

In the 1960s, much of the Dixwell neighborhood was demolished under New Haven's urban renewal program, so it is surprising that 138 Goffe Street survived. Today it stands amid such urban renewal flagships as the Florence Virtue co-ops by John M. Johansen and the Dixwell Firehouse by Venturi & Rauch.

734 Orchard St. is listed in the Winchester Repeating Arms National Register Historic District.

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