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John Coltrane's Home
March 9, 2004 8:03 PM   Subscribe

John Coltrane composed many of his later works, including A Love Supreme in this house. Now local preservationists are battling to save the home from demolition. If you want to see this home preserved just send them an email to show your support.
posted by lilboo (17 comments total)

 
Delete the post. It's been saved.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:33 PM on March 9, 2004


Oh, fudge, never mind, there's more still, hadn't finished R'ing TFA.

Bad ROU. No cookie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:34 PM on March 9, 2004


Coltrane has a stylish residence online.
posted by liam at 8:53 PM on March 9, 2004


I have never understood this mania for preserving buildings. Why bother?

Look at the Margaret Mitchell house in Atlanta; it now looks nothing at all like it did when she lived there. In fact, most of the place was gutted by arson in the late 90s.
posted by mischief at 8:55 PM on March 9, 2004


I have never understood this mania for preserving buildings. Why bother?

Yeah! Fuck the past! I believe the asphalt is our future!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 PM on March 9, 2004


It's a yin-yang sort of thing - a collective guilt response to our development-happy culture. "We can't possibly pave OVER Coltrane's house! Be extra careful when you're paving AROUND it..."
posted by PrinceValium at 9:32 PM on March 9, 2004


Yeah! Fuck the past! I believe the asphalt is our future!

But there's precious little "past" about yet another featureless balloon-frame ranch house, functionally identical to tens of millions built since WW2.

Neat guy, but an interesting house this ain't, at least not for a few hundred years (and even then I hope the future views that sort of boring ranch house as camp, or cautionary example).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:00 PM on March 9, 2004


I have never understood this mania for preserving buildings. Why bother?

I understand it, but I don't always agree with it.

When I was little, I used to wonder if there was anywhere on the planet that one could stand on where someone hadn't died. Does anyone know?

The desire to give historical status to buildings is not an evil one, or even a bad one. I myself would never, ever object to a building being preserved, because what's going to replace it is inevitably a highrise.

On the other hand, f an orphanage wanted the spot C.P. Snow grew up in, I probably wouldn't care. Preserving a building comes dangerously close to superstition, though.
posted by interrobang at 10:39 PM on March 9, 2004


I'm with mischief on this one, I've never understood the need to preserve buildings like this. We have the most important document from Coltrane's life, his music, what do we gain by preserving his house? It's not as if there's a direct correlation between the four walls and his music (unless I'm really missing something when I listen to it).

I walked past Keats' old house i Hampstead at the weekend. Very nice, just like all the other houses around it. I'd preserve those for architectural reasons, but see no other reason. I don't believe there's a spirit of genius surviving there, I don't believe being there adds any insight into his work, so what's the point? We might as well make sure we keep all the combs ever used by Keats, or all the newspapers Coltrane read.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:22 AM on March 10, 2004


<rant mode=libertarian>If they want to save the house, let them buy it. Otherwise, don't use governmental powers to prevent the owner from doing whatever he pleases with the house.</rant>
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:00 AM on March 10, 2004


Call me superstitious or old-fashioned, but I think that the little attic room where John Coltrane composed A Love Supreme is sacred space and I would love to stand there and ponder the beauty of music, his music especially.

No comment on public policy regarding whose houses should be preserved with whose money, just pondering.
posted by kozad at 8:56 AM on March 10, 2004


I'm with you, kozad. It's not about the architechture, it's about the meaning behind it.
posted by FeetOfClay at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2004


When I was little, I used to wonder if there was anywhere on the planet that one could stand on where someone hadn't died. Does anyone know?

The total number of people that have ever lived is estimated to be approximately 100 billion, or roughly 17 times the current population. In other words, there should be plenty of space to stand on, except in densely populated cities of the old continents.
posted by ikalliom at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2004


Coltrane's legacy in my town, Philadelphia, is a great example of the biggest problem thwarting historic preservation, namely money.
Coltrane's home in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city was saved in the '90s and designated as a National Historic Landmark
Since then, though, it has continued to fall apart because of an inability to raise money for repairs.

I can't find this at the newspaper's site, but in March 2003, the Phila. Inquirer reported:
Inside, the house at 1511 N. 33d St., a National Historic Landmark in the Strawberry Mansion section, is suffering from cracked walls, leaky pipes, collapsing ceilings, falling plaster, window frames that allow cold air to seep in, and a basement prone to flooding...

For Mary Alexander, 75, the owner, resident and Coltrane's cousin, the task of preserving the three-story rowhouse in honor of her famous relative, who died of cancer at age 40 in 1967, has become overwhelming.

posted by sixpack at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2004


Well, now that the house is saved, perhaps attention can be focused on saving the Church of St. John Coltrane in San Francisco. More here.
posted by laz-e-boy at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2004


"I think that the little attic room where John Coltrane composed A Love Supreme is sacred space and I would love to stand there and ponder the beauty of music"

I hear what you're saying, but what is it that you think best informs his music? The space he slept in, or say the library of books he was reading at the time? I'd go for the books, but who knows. Maybe it's all about the space.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:16 PM on March 10, 2004


If I had to choose between the space or the books, ciderwoman, I'd go for the books in a heartbeat. (I'd pass on the LSD that he was said to have taken in the Sixties - after A Love Supreme, I think - I had enough in the Sixties myself.)
posted by kozad at 6:49 PM on March 10, 2004


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