John and Alice Coltrane’s Long Island Home Deemed ‘National Treasure’

By Sameer Rao Oct 10, 2018

The suburban Long Island property’s unassuming red brick exterior offers no indication of the musical innovation that took place within its rooms. That changed yesterday (October 9), when the National Trust for Historic Preservation officially marked jazz trailblazers John and Alice Coltrane‘s former house as a "national treasure." 

A National Trust announcement says that the John and Alice Coltrane Home in Huntington, New York, hosted the married artists and their children between 1964 and 1973. John Coltrane composed "A Love Supreme," one of the most acclaimed jazz records of all time, in an upstairs bedroom.

The creativity didn’t stop when John died of liver cancer at age 40 in 1967. Alice Coltrane used the basement studio to record the first couple of records that defined her own genre-bending musical career. The National Trust adds that her lifelong spiritual leadership began in that house, and she sold it in 1973 to move to California and go deeper into her Hindusim-influenced practice. The home was slated for sale and destruction as recently as 2011, when the National Trust added it to its list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The national treasure designation allows for the home and its operating trust, the Friends of the Coltrane Home (which features the couple’s daughter, Michelle Coltrane, on its board), to receive increased financial support for restoration efforts. The organization earned a $75,000 grant from the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to aid restoration efforts last year. Exact plans for the building have yet to be determined. 

“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,” Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust, said in statement. “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.”

See pictures of the house’s interior and exterior, courtesy of the National Trust: