The John and Alice Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills neighborhood of Huntington, on Long Island, NY, was awarded a million dollar grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the preservation of the house, enhance organizational capacity, and expand programmatic offerings.
The multi-year grant is expected to be used to support rehabilitation of the home where great works of twentieth-century music were created, and to hire a full-time executive director to lead the project. The home is where jazz saxophonist John Coltrane lived from 1964 until his death in 1967 and in which he composed A Love Supreme.
The next phase of the renovation includes restoration of the home’s brick masonry facade, structural upgrades, and rehabilitation of stoops, patios, windows, and doors as well as the reintroduction of utilities. Renovation of the house will also be funded in part by a $172,750 matching grant through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which was secured in 2016.
The mission of The John and Alice Coltrane Home is to explore, celebrate, and share the Coltrane legacy through the rehabilitation of the Home and through programming inspired and informed by their profound achievements.
After a worldwide grass-roots effort, The Coltrane Home was saved from imminent demolition when it was designated as a local Historic Landmark by the Huntington Town Board in 2004. The Home was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
In 2005, the Town of Huntington purchased the house and the 3.5-acre property on which it sits. Ownership was transferred to a newly formed not-for-profit organization, Friends of the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, Inc., which was entrusted with the renovation and interpretation of the site. The Town retained ownership of the surrounding land, designating it Coltrane Park.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the John and Alice Coltrane Home as one of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places in 2011. In 2018, the Trust designated the Home as a National Treasure and later awarded the Home a grant from the Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Over the past decade, the Trust has provided technical assistance on fund raising, board development issues, and strategic visioning for the Home and site.
The John and Alice Coltrane Home received the pro bono support of Thornton Tomasetti Structural Engineers (TT) over several years providing analysis and guidance for the Home’s restoration. Additional support from the National Trust led to the development of a landscape plan for the 3.5-acre site prepared by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, a business plan completed by AEA Consulting, which established the programmatic vision for the Home, and an architectural program plan prepared by MASS Design Group.
Programmatic concepts in the works for the home include a pilot music education program to encourage active participation in music making, creativity and personal expression to empower all visitors young and old. Due to the impact of COVID, programming is currently presented virtually, reaching much larger audiences across the country and the world. It is expected that virtual programming will remain a large component of the Home’s outreach and engagement strategy.
While the funds received from the Mellon Foundation will go a long way to renovating the Home and transforming it into an innovative museum, additional support will be needed before the Home can be opened to the public.
The Coltrane Home welcomes donations to continue the project through to completion and beyond. For more information and to make a donation, visit the Coltrane Home website.
Photo: The John and Alice Coltrane Home in 2009.