My name is Steve Fulgoni. I live in Dix Hills, Long Island, where I was the Historian for the Half Hollow Historical Association in the Dix Hills area.
More importantly, I am a long time lover of jazz and John Coltrane in particular.
John Coltrane was a resident of Dix Hills from 1964 until his death in 1967. His wife Alice, lived in their home here until 1973. Their home in Dix Hills has been credited as being the site where many of his most important musical works were written. It is clearly referenced in Ashley Kahn’s book as the site of inspiration for A Love Supreme. The home was also the site of Coltrane Studios, where many recordings were made.
I was elected to the position of Historian in November 2003. In my new position as local Historian, I my first intention was to place the home on our local historic register. Just after moving to Dix Hills, I had read in one of the biographies, that John Coltrane lived here, but did not know of the address. You can imagine my excitement!! After hoping that it was my house, I quickly realized I wasn;t so lucky. It was then that I began trying to find out the location. It took me several years before I stumbled upon an article in the jazz website All About Jazz, written by Art Rice, a delivery boy for a local pharmacy. Mr. Rice described his experience knowing John Coltrane and his family. Take a look at the article in All About Jazz.
It was June of 2002 when contacted Mr. Rice and asked him for the location of the house. He described the street and house to me. I drove by the house, saw a car in the driveway and dreamed about someday being able to go inside or even better, help to document it’s existence in some way.
That’s how things stood for 18 months. When I became the local Historian, I siad to myself “Now I can do something about the Coltrane home”.
I December 29, 2003, I went into the Tax Assessor’s office in Huntington Town Hall, in order to confirm what Mr. Rice had told me 18 months before. The Assessor’s office was very helpful and together we verified that Mr. Rice was correct.
The record showed that the current owner was as a local building developer and from past experience, I immediately became concerned. I immediately drove past the house and saw the sign “Land For Sale”. I drove home and immediately called the Realtor to find the status of the property. I was told that a subdivision application was in process, and as part of the subdivision the house will be demolished.
I explained that the home was the former home of John Coltrane and was historically important. The Realtor was not very familiar with John Coltrane but was extremely courteous and professional and promised to make the current owner aware of the situation.
It was then that I contacted Town Councilwoman Susan Berland and Town Historian Robert Hughes and asked for assistance.
I was soon in contact with the owner. I can’t say that we are in agreement about the significance of the home, but he is willing to sell the property with the home intact if an interested party is willing to buy it.
And so my quest began.
In my heart I felt that the Coltrane home was too important be be torn down. I began working around the trying trying to figure out how to gain support for the home and save it.
I began with phone calls to anyone that I thought could help. I started to form a small network of supporters. The story was covered by The Long Islander, a local newspaper. That was followed by The New York Times, The Daily News, Newsday, WNBC-TV, WPIX-TV, BBC-TV and the story grew larger and larger.
I was then asked to give a presentation to the Huntington Historical Preservation Commission, the group that recommends Town Landmark designation to the Town Council. Ultimately in May of 2004, the Town of Huntington voted to make the Coltrane home a landmark, saving it from demolition.
We still had the daunting challenge of how to purchase the home from the Developer. We are so fortunate that our Town leaders recognized the importance of the home and in December of 2006, the home was purchased from the developer. The land was designated John Coltrane Park and the home was given to us, “The Friends of the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills”, a non-profit organization with myself on the Board of Directors, with Ravi Coltrane and the Coltrane family.
Our task is to restore the home to the way it was when the Coltrane family lived there and open it to the public as a historic home to educate children and all people about John and Alice Coltrane and their life’s mission to be a force for good through their music.
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