DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A milestone was marked in the jazz world Tuesday.
The former Long Island home of pioneering jazz great John Coltrane was honored as a national treasure.
The home was once slated for the wrecking ball.
It’s a humble house where music greatness lived. The former Dix Hills home of John and Alice Coltrane has been designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which will help preserve it.
“The Coltrane home is the physical manifestation of Jazz history. And it stands as a historic monument to tell this story,” said Brent Leggs, director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
A towering figure in jazz, John Coltrane composed his 1965 masterpiece “A Love Supreme” in the bedroom of the home. In its basement, Alice recorded five albums. Cultural giants, the Coltrane name became legendary, but their home was forgotten.
“People knew John Coltrane lived in Dix Hills, but they didn’t necessarily know which house it was. It had subsequent owners and was slated for demolition,” said Town of Huntington Historian Robert Hughes.
A Coltrane fan discovered the house and mobilized a grassroots effort to save it. The Town of Huntington purchased the home 14 years ago.
“To me, John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane are very special people. They are spiritual people,” said Steve Fulgoni, founder of Friends of the John Coltrane Home. “Two great Americans and I felt their legacy needed to be preserved.”
Donations helped rid the house of mold and vermin. The goal now is to create an interactive museum in a place that inspired one of the world’s most imitated jazz artists.
“Whether its Carlos Santana, the Allman Brothers, the Greatful Dead, Eric Clapton and Kendrick Lamar, that was the great thing about John: His tremendous footprint that he left with musicians that we think of as really important today,” said Ron Stein, president of the John and Alice Coltrane Home.
Michelle Coltrane, the daughter of the iconic couple, says she’s grateful.
“Our house was filled with music, but this was also the only time our house was whole, both of my parent were alive, there were four children,” she said.
Pat DeRosa played saxophone with Coltrane before he died in 1967 at age 40.
“When John played, you knew he was there. He played so great,” DeRosa said.
The next step is to raise funds to transform the home into an international destination, to create a place that inspires people to participate in the joy of making music.
Planners say the Coltrane home will have listening rooms, a functioning studio and provide music education.