John and Alice Coltrane’s Home Honored as a National Treasure
National Trust for Historic Preservation to boost effort to restore and reimagine home of great significance to the highly acclaimed musicians
The Long Island home of John Coltrane, the pioneering jazz musician and composer, and his wife Alice Coltrane, an accomplished and influential musician and spiritual leader, was named a National Treasure today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust will bring its nearly 70 years of expertise to help the Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills implement a vision for the property—now vacant and in disrepair but largely intact. This campaign will be undertaken through the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an initiative co-chaired by the Ford Foundation and actress Phylicia Rashad to uncover and uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community.
“The Long Island home of John and Alice Coltrane is a tangible link to an extremely creative and transformative period in the personal lives and careers of two acclaimed and
talented musicians,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Restoring and reusing the home for music education and outreach presents an outstanding opportunity to honor the Coltranes’ values of innovation, creativity, hard work, and self-empowerment and bring it to life in a space so closely tied to their lives and careers.”
John Coltrane was revolutionizing the jazz world and Alice Coltrane was already a respected musician when they moved into their home on Long Island in 1964. The 1952 ranch-style house on 3.4 wooded acres in Dix Hills offered the Coltranes privacy and plenty of room to record, compose, and raise a family. John Coltrane spent his final three years in the home, a period of intense exploration and spiritual expression through music for him. "A Love Supreme," widely regarded as a modern masterpiece that continues to influence and inspire musicians today, was composed in the upstairs bedroom. In the same home, Alice Coltrane expanded as an artist, adding harp and organ to her repertoire. Her groundbreaking recordings for Impulse! Records were made in the basement studio and stand as evidence of her triumph over the music world’s resistance to female instrumentalists at that time. She also began her path as a spiritual leader there.
“John and Alice Coltrane sought to elevate minds and hearts of society through their musical offerings,” said their daughter, Michelle Coltrane, an honorary board member of the Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home. “The alliance with the National Trust for Historic Preservation will allow us to uphold my parents’ mission of supporting generations of artists and musicians and commemorate their achievements and values, which are deeply embodied in their legacy.”
The home’s history and the Coltranes’ legacy will inform the preservation, interpretation, and reuse of the home. The basement recording studio, for example, is envisioned as an interactive and creative space for students and musicians young and old. Additional plans will be designed to maximize the impact of the home to, in Alice Coltrane’s words, “inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the joy of making music and the creative process.”
“The John and Alice Coltrane Home project is more than the noble project of preserving and restoring the Home of two music and cultural giants of the past,” said Ron Stein, president of the Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home. “Perhaps more than anything, it’s about the future and being a force for positive change. The Coltranes’ message is one of courage, commitment and compassion. With the Home as our base, our responsibility is to reach outward with that message to educate, lift up and inspire our youth, empower girls and young women, encourage the creative spirit in all, and bring people together around the healing and hopeful power of music. This alliance with the National Trust is a key step in getting us there.”
The National Trust named the Coltrane Home one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2011 to help raise awareness of the home’s significance and boost momentum to support its preservation. Recent preservation efforts have focused on interior mold remediation, roof replacement, rebuilding the chimney, and stabilization of the brick masonry exterior. Support from the National Trust will guide further restoration of the home and assist with planning for the use of the land, owned by the Town of Huntington, as a park.
The Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home was included in the first class of grant award recipients of The National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. A $75,000 capacity building grant will allow the hiring of a project manager to support The Friends of the Coltrane Home in its vision to rehabilitate and interpret the property.
High resolution images may be downloaded and used with proper attribution here: https://nthp.widencollective.com.
# # #
About the National Treasures Program
The National Trust for Historic Preservation mobilizes its nearly 70 years of expertise and resources to protect a growing portfolio of National Treasures that are threatened buildings; neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes that stand at risk across the country. Our National Treasures program demonstrates the value of preservation by taking direct action to protect these places and promote their history and significance. More information can be found at SavingPlaces.org/Coltrane. Follow @SavingPlaces and #Coltrane and #TelltheFullHistory on social media.
About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism.
About the John and Alice Coltrane Home
The Coltranes lived together in the home in Dix Hills, Long Island, for three years before John’s death from liver cancer at age 40 in 1967. Alice Coltrane sold the home in 1973 and moved to California to pursue her spiritual practice more seriously. In 2005, at the urging of Steve Fulgoni and other local supporters, along with extraordinary support from musicians and music lovers from around the world, including Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, and Michael Brecker, the town of Huntington bought the property from a developer who intended to demolish the house. The house is now owned by Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home while the Town of Huntington owns and maintains the land. It is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places and is a locally designated historic landmark. The home retains its original exterior structure and elements of its original interior finishes such as the herringbone patterned wood paneled walls, wood beams, circular windows, carpeting and brick fireplaces. Future work will involve planning for the landscape and use of the land as a park, and as part of the interpretation of the home, bringing back to life the famous basement recording studio where Alice recorded her first seminal works. More than 50 years after his death, John Coltrane’s music, message, and iconic image continue to wield enormous impact on rock, jazz, R&B, hip-hop/rap, electronic, and world music. Popular musicians including the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, The Doors, Kendrick Lamar, Common, and U2 among many others have cited Coltrane’s great influence on their work.
About the Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home
The Friends of the John and Alice Coltrane Home is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to restore the Home, create an education and cultural center, and provide outreach education and programs to the local and regional community while furthering the music and humanitarian legacies of John and Alice Coltrane. In addition to a pilot education program, the organization has also held four “Coltrane Day” music events among other events, with the theme “Building Community Through Music.”