Programming at the John Coltrane House

Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia



The John Coltrane House in West Philadelphia.

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia worked with the owners of the currently vacant John Coltrane House in North Philadelphia to plan a program strategy for the 20th-century jazz great's former home, as well as an adjacent property. Coltrane lived in the house from 1952–58, during which time he overcame personal struggles with drug abuse and transformed his life to become an internationally influential jazz musician—a story with great potential to inspire young audiences today. The Preservation Alliance spearheaded an interactive and interdisciplinary planning process to design a program that also aids in the revitalization of the Coltrane House neighborhood. Working closely with community members, music scholars, musicians, educators, and preservation experts, the Alliance hosted a series of focus groups to discuss potential ideas, leading up to the development of a finalized strategy. The Preservation Alliance maintains a strong interest in African-American historic sites and aims to increase their visibility, along with African-American contributions to cultural heritage. An online public forum provided a space for a national audience to make additional suggestions for the house and potential programming. The Alliance also produced a video with WHYY on Coltrane's time in Philadelphia and featured related materials on WRTI and Philadelphia-focused Web magazine Hidden City Daily.