Through a connection developed by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, three students in YouthBuild Philly’s vocational training program have the opportunity this month to help preserve one of the city’s most precious and endangered cultural treasures – the John Coltrane House.
Built at the start of the 20th century, this house on North 33rd Street was home to jazz legend John Coltrane from 1952 to 1958 – a formative time in his creative development. The house has since been owned by Coltrane’s family, then by dedicated homeowners who are committed to preserving the space as a tribute to the musician’s legacy. The house is over a century old, vacant, and requires maintenance and repair to stay stable – particularly after an adjoining property caught fire a few years ago. The Preservation Alliance added the property to its Endangered Properties List in 2011. More information about the house and restoration efforts can be found on the John Coltrane House website.
This winter, three students have had the opportunity to work with a preservation expert to stabilize and restore the property’s porch. Yesterday, the three students installed a column that supports the overhang. This included reconstructing the base, treating the column itself (which had been damaged by the fire) and wedging it back into place.
The three students involved – John, Emily, and Luis – are all part of the Green Construction Training program, but have enjoyed learning about historical restoration as a different field of building renovation and maintenance. “This way, I can be a part of history,” John said.