The Town of Huntington issued this release:
The home where jazz legend John Coltrane lived and wrote his most important work, which the Town of Huntington saved from the wrecker’s ball six years ago, has been included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2011 list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, a move that the Town hopes will encourage private contributions to help restore the building and transform it into a museum and learning center.
“This recognition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation reaffirms on a national stage what this home represents: a symbol of the extraordinary contributions of one of America’s foremost musicians, composers and contributors to music here and throughout the world,” said Councilwoman Susan Berland, who sponsored the resolution that led to the 2005 purchase of the structure. “But this endangered symbol needs support now to keep its potential alive. I call on those from around the world who urged the Town to prevent the home’s demolition to come forward with the financial support that will make the home a living monument and preserve John Coltrane’s legacy.”
Berland and Councilman Mark Mayoka participated in the National Trust’s announcement about the home. They were joined by Steve Fulgoni, head of Friends of the Coltrane Home, the group charged with managing the home, restoring it and establishing programming, as well as by Wendy Nicholas of the National Trust. After a brief program, Coltrane’s son Ravi, who spent his first seven years living in the home, led a tour of the building, which was built in 1952, purchased by John and Alice Coltrane in 1964 and still retains its original architectural features.
John Coltrane, who died in 1967, wrote his most important work, A Love Supreme, in a second-floor guest room.
In 2003, when Fulgoni, a Dix Hills resident and Coltrane fan, learned a developer was seeking permission to demolish the house to make way for three new houses, he contacted the Town and initiated a worldwide grass roots effort to save the house that included support from persons such as Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Bill Cosby. Working closely with the community, and in recognition of this historic symbol of one of the World’s greatest musical influences, the Huntington Town Board agreed to first designate the Home as a local historic landmark in 2005, and then purchased the Home. The Town Board placed the home with the Friends of the Coltrane Home, and has helped the Friends by committing to help maintain the property while the Coltane Home members and Coltrane family assembled the necessary plans for the Home’s future.
“The Town Board and all Huntington residents take great pride in the fact that John and Alice Coltrane lived here, that we played some small part in their very influential lives, and remain committed to protecting the legacy that this Home represents,” Councilman Mayoka said. Although they could not attend the announcement, Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Council Members Mark Cuthbertson and Glenda Jackson sent word of their support.
The Coltrane Home project is more than just the restoration of the house of one of the world’s great cultural icons. It is an effort to fulfill the Coltranes’ vision of goodwill, interconnection and creativity through the common language of music. It will create a museum, archives and learning center, celebrating the Coltrane’s music and influences, provide an outreach center for music education, appreciation, creativity and participation for students and adults through and schools and community.
Friends of the Coltrane Home is working with the NYS Historic Preservation Office and others to complete a study and Master Plan for the Home to create a museum and archives. Friends of the Coltrane Home has been awarded a $38,810 grant from the New York State Historic Preservation Office and a $5,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for preparation of a historic structure report (total cost of the report will be $75,000). The group is also planning to establish programs in schools and communities to encourage music appreciation, participation and creativity, beginning with the Kids for Coltrane pilot project, National Black History Month, and performance workshops for students and educators.
Persons seeking more information about the Coltrane Home should contact Friends of the Coltrane home at www.thecoltranehome.org, or call Fulgoni at 631-860-9200.