Nina Simone Childhood Home Reuse Project

The National Trust and its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund have rethought what preservation could be in 21st century. Our work to restore and preserve the Nina Simone Childhood Home, which is located in Tryon, North Carolina, exemplifies the spirit and energy of that pursuit.

Over the course of several years, we have engaged with both the local Tryon community and fans of Nina Simone everywhere to better understand what her work means to them, and as a result, how her childhood home can be preserved and re-activated to honor her enduring legacy. This outreach has yielded several concepts for how to achieve this goal.

Nina Simone's Childhood Home, a white clapboard house with black trim.

photo by: Nancy Pierce

Nina Simone Childhood Home, Tryon, North Carolina

We invite you to explore these concepts and to provide your feedback as we continue to envision a future for this National Treasure. Additionally, to learn more about our community outreach efforts and to see responses and recommendations from those engaged in the process, download the full report.

The Site

Concentrating on her home and its immediate context, key locations are highlighted and labeled in this map with potential use opportunities in and around the site. These locations remain conceptual in nature, but begin to identify areas of opportunities for modes of transportation, connection to the site, and use of the property once restored.

Nina Simone Childhood Home Reuse Project Site Diagram

Concept 1: Keep it Authentic

This concept is focused on fully restoring the Nina Simone Childhood Home and keeping it without any additions of modern amenities, providing an opportunity to preserve the authenticity of the home, space, and scale that was experienced by Nina Simone and her family. Visitors and artists could meditate and gain inspiration in offsite facilities. These could be located near the home or further out, creating an opportunity to connect with the wider community and the broader Nina Simone story.

Nina Simone Childhood Home Reuse Project Concept 1

Concept 2: Create an “And” instead of an “Either/Or”

This concept includes full rehabilitation of the historic structure and adding an expansion structure to accommodate modern amenities, such as upgraded electrical and an HVAC system. This would allow for year-round occupation by artists and activists and make the home and the overall site a daily community anchor. Artists in residence, visitors, and people from the community would be comfortable and able to fully utilize the house and site regardless of the weather or time of year.

Nina Simone Childhood Home Reuse Project Concept 2

Applications for the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund grant program are due December 15, 2021.

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