Jazz legend's historic home on threatened list

An exterior view of jazz legend John Coltrane's Long Island home. CBS

Summer is the season for family road trips. It's a time to to take in some of the sites that have played an important role in writing this nation's history. However, a number of them, according to one organization, are now threatened.

Coverage from 2010 of endangered sites

On "The Early Show" Monday, contributor Taryn Winter Brill reported that the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation is out with its latest list -- 11 sites it says have either fallen into disrepair or are endangered.

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One of those sites is the home of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, on New York's Long Island.

Coltrane's son, Ravi, showed Brill around the house that was once his in Dix Hills. Ravi was just two years old when his father died in 1967. John Coltrane was just 40 years old. Ravi and his family moved out of the house four years later.

Ravi showed Brill the room where he says his father composed, "A Love Supreme."

While much of the house has fallen into disrepair, some of its furnishings have survived the past 40 years intact, such as a carpet in one of the rooms -- one Ravi told Brill his father had wanted to turn into a rehearsal space.

Ravi hopes to see the rest of the home returned to its former glory and as a place for fans to visit.

"For lovers of music, for lovers of American history. I think there is great potential for this space," he said.

The town of Huntington, N.Y., purchased, and currently maintains, the three-and-a-half acres of land surrounding the Coltrane home. An area resident, Steve Fulgoni, is heading the effort to restore the house itself.

Fulgoni, of Friends of the Coltrane Home, said, "We are fighting nature. Nature is taking its toll, but we really have no option. We have to get it done."

Stephanie Meeks, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told CBS News, "We think the 11 most (endangered) list is important, because it brings to people's attention the vast array of diverse sites across the United States"

Other sites on this year's list include Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, Ala., the National Soldiers Home in Milwaukee, Wis., the original Pillsbury flour mill in Minneapolis, Minn., and Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, which is currently facing demolition.

Meeks said, "The National Trust has sponsored a study and it has shown that it has terrific potential, either as a high rise residential building or a commercial building. We'd like to urge the current owner to consider those reuse possibilities."

John Coltrane's home -- though vacant -- has already been spared destruction because it was designated an historic landmark in 2004. Restoration, however, has been slow-going.

"There's still a lot more to go," Fulgoni said. "But I see hope. That's what I see when I look at it."

And Ravi Coltrane sees an opportunity that will help expand his father's musical legacy.

What would it mean to Ravi to have the house preserved the way he remembers it 40 years ago?"

Ravi said, "I think it would be incredible not only for me and my family, but for all the followers of John Coltrane's music. I think it would be a fantastic thing."

Incidentally, Brill added, just like the Coltrane home, most of the sites are visited infrequently. However, this year, The National Trust created a brand new category and put the entire city of Charleston, S.C. on "watch status," because tourism has actually been on the rise. A new ship terminal, they say, could threaten the city's historic waterfront.

For more information, go to the Coltrane home website and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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