Coltrane Watch: Demolition Update, Community Planning

by Suzanne Cloud

The Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation (SMCDC) issued a press release on the status of the Coltrane House on May 3, 2021, and I called Tonnetta Graham, President of the SMCDC, the next day to get some clarity on a few things.

First, some takeaways from the press release:

  • Announced the completion of the John Coltrane Museum and Cultural Arts Center Site Feasibility Study for the historic Coltrane House located at 1511 North 33rd Street.
  • The SMCDC aims to expand the footprint of Coltrane’s jazz legacy beyond his former home, by also preserving the adjacent houses (6 properties) along the residential row.
  • This plan is in partnership with the current owners of the Coltrane House.
  • The SMCDC plans to restore the house as a museum and preserve the architectural character of the housing row to create a gateway to Strawberry Mansion. 
  • These plans include the development of a world class venue where jazz can be heard, studied, and appreciated.
  • Future activity will include engagement with community stakeholders and a robust fundraising and capital campaign.
  • The SMCDC asks that volunteer offers of planning and professional services be directed to coltranemcac@strawberrymansioncdc.org.

Tonnetta Graham told me that the house next door to the Coltrane House (1509) that was sold by the Gadson Estate to another party will NOT be demolished but will be preserved for the row with the façade intact. She also said that “making a plan will be centered on the most sensible option” and encourages stakeholders (members of the jazz community) to get in touch to help strategize the future of the block. Graham also said that there might be some funding from the city and both state and federal funding. Importantly, the SMCDC has a signed agreement from the Gadson family that asserts that, after restoration, the Coltrane House will be reserved for community use.Read the entire press release HERE

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