John Coltrane House

This article is about the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For the John Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, New York, see John Coltrane Home.
John Coltrane House
Location 1511 North 33rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°58′49.15″N 75°11′20.9″W / 39.9803194°N 75.189139°W / 39.9803194; -75.189139Coordinates: 39°58′49.15″N 75°11′20.9″W / 39.9803194°N 75.189139°W / 39.9803194; -75.189139
Architect E. Allen Wilson
Architectural style Colonial Revival
NRHP Reference # 99000628
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 20, 1999[1]
Designated NHL January 20, 1999[2]
Designated PRHP December 18, 1985

The John Coltrane House is a National Historic Landmark in Philadelphia that was the home of American saxophonist and jazz pioneer John Coltrane from 1952 until 1958.[2] On his death in 1967 the house passed to his cousin, who sold it in 2004. Efforts for restoration and reuse as a jazz venue are ongoing as of 2013.[3]

Use by Coltrane

John Coltrane purchased the house for his family after leaving the U.S.Navy and lived there until he relocated to New York City in 1958.[4] He continued to use the house as an alternate residence to his New York home until the end of his life. Upon his death the house passed to Coltrane's cousin, Mary Alexander.[5]


In addition to its association with John Coltrane, the house has received attention due to its historic architecture. For example, it is considered a good example of a middle-class Philadelphia rowhouse from the turn of the 20th century.[5] The architect is disputed; E. Allen Wilson is considered likely, due to his association with developer Clifford Pemberton,[6] but no known source specifically ties him to the Coltrane House.[5]

Preservation and reuse efforts

John W. Coltrane Cultural Society

The house's use as a residence by Coltrane's relatives prevented it from being made open to the public, and by 2003 the house was suffering from several structural and aesthetic problems.[2] In 1984 Mary Alexander co-founded the "John W. Coltrane Cultural Society" (JWCCS) to promote jazz and the legacy of John Coltrane. The Society established a John W. Coltrane Center adjacent to the John Coltrane House circa 1998, when Alexander was still living in the house.[7][8][9]

The JWCCS offered children's workshops led by professional jazz artists throughout the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Housing Authority and other youth groups. An annual Summer Backyard Concert Series was held in the backyard of the Coltrane House and an annual Birthday Tribute/Celebration Concert at a large venue. A community garden on 33rd Street included a jazz mural created by neighborhood youth. A mural was also created by students of Strawberry Mansion High School, in the school. "Cousin Mary," who was raised with Coltrane in High Point North Carolina, also conducted a lecture series on his life and music.

Historic designation

The John Coltrane House in 2009

Due to its association with John Coltrane, the house has attracted several official designations as a historic building, most prominently as a National Historic Landmark. It was placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places on December 18, 1985.[10] It was later declared a National Historic Landmark on January 20, 1999, and concurrently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6] Additionally, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission dedicated a marker honoring John Coltrane in front of the house on July 17, 1990.[11]


  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 3 "John Coltrane House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  3. Russ, Valerie (15 March 2013). "Cultivating ideas for John Coltrane's old Strawberry Mansion house". Daily News. Philadelphia: Interstate General Media. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  4. Fitzgerald, Sharon (1 June 1999). "A Giant Step". American Visions   via HighBeam Research (subscription required) . Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. PA-6670, "John Coltrane House", 1 photo, 15 data pages, 1 photo caption page
  6. 1 2 Michael J. Lewis (July 5, 1998). "National Historic Landmark: John Coltrane House" (pdf). National Park Service.
  7. Milloy, Courtland (4 June 1991). "Remembering a Favorite Musical Son". Washington Post   via HighBeam Research (subscription required) . Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  8. Lane, Lynda (28 July 1995). "THE JOHN W. COLTRANE SOCIETY celebrates 10 years of living the legacy". Philadelphia Tribune   via HighBeam Research (subscription required) . Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  9. Roberts, Kimberly (11 February 2003). "Coltrane Cultural Society preserving a musical legacy". Philadelphia Tribune   via HighBeam Research (subscription required) . Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  10. "Coltrane Residence". Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  11. "John W. Coltrane (1926-1967)". PHMC Historical Markers. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved 4 January 2015.

External links

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