UPDATE (January 2014): Though the house remains vacant, crucial repairs to the front porch have been completed thanks to a partnership between the Coltrane House, the Alliance, the 1772 Foundation, and Youthbuild Charter School. With the assistance of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Alliance has also completed a program strategy for returning the site to use. CLICK HERE to see what neighbors and Coltrane fans envision for the house.
John Coltrane House
1511 N. 33rd Street, Philadelphia
Significance: One of the most influential musicians in American history, saxophonist John Coltrane called Philadelphia home during the most formative and transformational period of his career. He purchased this modest Strawberry Mansion rowhouse as an unknown twenty-six-year-old musician and factory worker in 1952. He lived here full-time until 1958, refining his musical style, overcoming drug addiction, and experiencing a profound spiritual awakening that inspired his most significant musical innovations. As his fame grew in the 1960s, Coltrane’s ties to Philadelphia remained strong—he owned the house until his death in 1967 and made frequent visits here between tours. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999.
Threat: Today, the Coltrane House is vacant and deteriorating, with immediate repairs needed to stabilize the house and its neighboring unit, which suffered a recent fire and remains in perilous condition.
Recommendation: The home’s current owners are committed to its rebirth as a museum and educational center and have taken steps to establish a new non-profit organization to guide its rehabilitation. Even in its current condition, the site is a destination for jazz aficionados; a sound reuse program incorporating the adjacent property could return the site to sustainability if adequate funds can be raised in the near future to prevent its irrevocable loss.