Saving Coltrane’s trail of homes: More hope than action

“In 1999, the Strawberry Mansion [a Philadelphia neighborhood] row home of jazz legend John Coltrane was declared a National Historic Landmark, which ultimately commemorated where one of the most important jazz musicians in history lived and worked from 1952-58.

“In 2012, efforts to restore the property with hopes of using it as a museum or center for jazz studies were in high gear….

“But sadly the Coltrane House today is vacant, in disrepair and largely ignored. Any interest in giving the place where the genius of ’Trane blossomed its due has arrived only in the form of empty aspirations….”

— From “Coltrane Crumbles: The jazz legend’s neglected house in Philly” by Bruce Klauber in Philadelphia Weekly (Nov. 2)

Remarkably, the Philadelphia row house is only one of four Coltrane residences that have survived, however tenously.

There’s the one in Dix Hills, N.Y., where he spent his last years, now awaiting conversion into a cultural center. 

There’s the one in High Point, where he lived as a child and teenager, now awaiting conversion into a museum.

And there’s the one in Hamlet, where he was born, now converted from a two-story hotel into a one-story NAACP headquarters.


Link dump stuns cocktail party with 19-point rally

— Other than the first appearance of the Miscellany link dump, what are the 10 “most significant events in North Carolina history”?

— What, you thought Wilbur and Orville flew to Kitty Hawk?

— John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Max Roach and Billy Taylor born here, Dizzy Gillespie educated here,  Billy Strayhorn inspired here — but all had to leave to shine.

– At last, a school named for McNair — might Murrow be next?

North Carolina was no place for all that jazz

“At the time I was making a reputation… I couldn’t go South….

“Greenville was a nice little country town… It became a university place  later, but it was not a place I could take my family. That’s a terrible thing to live with… and I guess John [Coltrane] and [Thelonious] Monk experienced some of the same things. We knew about people being lynched….”

—  The late Billy Taylor, recalling the North Carolina he and his fellow jazz giants left behind.

Quote from “John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom, Spirituality and the Music,” edited by Leonard Brown (2010).