John Coltrane House : The John Coltrane House

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John Coltrane, influential jazz musician and saxophonist, bought a house at 1155 N. 33nd Street in 1952. Today it has immense historical value. It represents African American history, Philadelphia history, jazz history, and art history. Although Coltrane didn’t live there during his most famous years as a musician, the house still stands as a representation of black culture and art in history. As a result, Philadelphia is where he did most of his musical training. It also has architectural value as a row home-styled house from the turn of the 20th century.

After being discharged from the Navy and moving to Philadelphia in 1943, Coltrane performed at local clubs and studied jazz theory. In 1952, he bought a row home for his mother, his aunt, and his cousin in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia. They were the third black family to move into that neighborhood, which at that time was a well-known middle class area. Coltrane did a lot of freelancing in Philadelphia from 1955-1957.

John Coltrane inspired many jazz musicians post-1960’s. He was best known as a popular saxophonist. However, he played the flute, clarinet and guitar as well. He was known for his avant-garde and mainstream styles of jazz. His music was creative, advanced and distinguished which was why he was a big part of Philadelphia’s jazz community. Coltrane began to work with other famous jazz musicians such as Miles Davis in 1958 and then moved to New York. However, he kept the house in Philadelphia as a temporary living place to use while on tour. His mother and cousin continued to live in the house subsequent to Coltrane’s move.

The house itself stands as a porch front, three-story, brick row home. Although the neighboring homes are slightly different, this layout was popular during the 1900s. When it was built in the 1890s, the homes were designed to portray wealth in that neighborhood, despite it being affordable for the working class and the middle classes.

John Coltrane’s cousin Mary sold the house in 2004. She requested that it remained as a tribute to Coltrane. Efforts for restoration began shortly after; however, the buyer could not afford the restoration. Even as of now the owner cannot afford the proper repairs. The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia is an organization that has continually made efforts to raise money and awareness of the house and they currently are working on raising money to preserve the physical structure of the house. There have been many talks of a potential jazz club, museum or center for jazz studies. While funding is the biggest concern, there is obvious interest in keeping Coltrane’s story alive.


  • Lewis , Michael J. “John Coltrane House .” National Historic Landmark Nomination, May 1998.
  • “The John Coltrane House.” The John Coltrane House, National Historic Landmark,




1551 N. 33rd St

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