The John Coltrane House - A Non-Profit Charitable Organization    501c3

"When you begin to see the possibilities of music,
you desire to do something really good for people."  -John Coltrane

About Us

The John Coltrane House Philadelphia
National Historic Landmark
Our mission and history

The John Coltrane House is a recently formed federal non-profit organization. Our mission is to establish the Philadelphia residence of John Coltrane as a publicly accessible historical site celebrating the life and music of this extraordinary musician. John Coltrane's Philadelphia home is of the highest importance among the many worthy Coltrane memorials worldwide because Philadelphia is the most important locus of Coltrane’s development as a virtuoso musician.   
 Jazz scholars and critics uniformly agree that it was Philadelphia's rich and varied black jazz milieu in the 1940’s that nurtured and schooled the novice teen reed player just up from the South and that this tutelage was both indispensible to and inextricable from the remarkable saxophonist he became. At the time, the country’s most accomplished and innovative black jazz musicians met up, performed, and hung out in Philadelphia. Also, in Philadelphia Coltrane took advantage of the excellent training in traditional music available; he took saxophone lessons and studied music theory and composition. In his highly regarded biography of John Coltrane, music scholar Lewis Porter remarks, “Coltrane had unwittingly landed in the perfect place to develop his art” when he moved to Philadelphia from North Carolina in 1943. 
In 1952, at the age of twenty-six, with the benefit of a G.I. loan, John Coltrane bought for himself, his mother, his aunt and his first cousin, the North 33 Street property that was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1999 in recognition of Coltrane’s monumental accomplishments as a musician and composer and of Philadelphia’s crucial role in Coltrane’s career as a musician. It was a big, beautiful house, built for a well-to-do middle class at the turn of the 19 century and a huge step up from the cramped quarters in a deteriorating area of town where the family had been living. The Coltranes were the third black family to move into the block. Coltrane owned and lived in this home longer than any other during his legendary career as a jazz saxophonist and music composer. Also, it was during the years that he resided in the North 33 Street home that Coltrane, as a musician, became identifiably Coltrane.
   When Coltrane left Philadelphia to further his career in New York City in 1958, the North 33 Street house anchored and provided continuity to his life. This remained so at least until, as a prosperous established musician with celebrity status, he purchased a home on Long Island in 1964. Coltrane’s mother, Alice Blair Coltrane, remained in the Philadelphia home he had bought for the family during his lean early years as a rising jazz star. Additionally, the residence was the repository of valued possessions and keepsakes retained from his career as a musician and from his childhood in North Carolina. After purchasing his Long Island home, Coltrane continued to visit his mother and meet with friends in Philadelphia.  His mother lived in the house until her death in 1977. Coltrane’s first cousin, Cousin Mary, then acquired and resided in the home until she sold it in 2004 with the request that it remain the tribute to John Coltrane that she had maintained during her more than twenty-five years as owner. It was through Mary Alexander’s efforts, Cousin Mary, that the House obtained National Historic Landmark designation.

The John Coltrane House Philadelphia is pleased to continue and enlarge on the efforts of Mary Alexander. Our first task is to restore and preserve the physical structure of the House. Indispensable to that task, is to promote the crucial importance of the House to African American history, Philadelphia history, jazz history and jazz studies. We welcome and urge the support of Coltrane fans, jazz and serious music fans, arts aficionados, historic preservation enthusiasts, and arts, civic, and philanthropic organizations.

We hope to see you again! Check back later for new updates to our website.
There's much more to come!


John Coltrane- Ballads Album
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