The late bluesman Muddy Waters — who he was and the tunes he developed — is as substantially a element of Chicago as the writings of Carl Sandburg or the comedic legacy of Next City.
To that close, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks warrants a hearty blues shout for granting a preliminary designation this earlier week to the North Kenwood community household the place Waters the moment lived — and jammed.
“This uniquely considerable framework was an epicenter of Chicago’s contributions to modern blues, serving as Muddy Waters’ dwelling for virtually two a long time and giving non permanent lodging and rehearsal place for numerous home names that described the art sort,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a assertion.
Waters, born McKinley Morganfield in 1913, owned the two-tale brick Victorian residence at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave., from 1954 to 1973. He established a great deal of his best-recognised songs though dwelling there, such as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I’m Ready” and “Mannish Boy.”
Musicians Otis Spann, Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry walked his home’s wood floors.
The house was presently protected from demolition, at the very least in principle, for the reason that it sits in the current North Kenwood Chicago landmark district. But singling out the creating for an personal designation unquestionably provides a amount of defense — the vacant and considerably rundown home continue to wound up on the city’s demolition listing yrs ago — when bringing interest to its crucial cultural heritage.
City landmarks officials now will get the job done out a lasting designation for the home, to be introduced just before the Metropolis Council afterwards this 12 months.
The shift is also a crucial help to initiatives by Waters’ good-granddaughter Chandra Cooper to change the house into the MOJO Museum, honoring the famed bluesman.
We applaud Cooper’s work, and that of the landmarks commission and staff members, which is equitably broadening its mandate by designating structures of historic as well as architectural value. That pivot has served attract focus to ignored websites inside Chicago’s Black neighborhoods, particularly, these kinds of as the modest Woodlawn two-flat the place Emmet Till and his mom, Mamie Until Mobley, lived.
“Oftentimes, our history does get erased,” landmarks commissioner Tiara Hughes explained to Block Club Chicago right after providing Waters’ dwelling the thumbs-up. “It indicates a lot to me that these modest constructions are remaining saved and shared, so that we can educate and proceed to go our tales down.”
We could not agree much more.
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