Though he made a name for himself in New York City, legendary trumpeter Miles Davis never forgot his roots. The son of a dentist, Davis spent his formative years in East St. Louis, Illinois—which is where he first began honing his craft and where, on his 13th birthday, Miles’s father presented him with a brand-new trumpet. Though the jazz great’s childhood home has been vacant for several years, a nonprofit group known as HOME (short for House of Miles East St. Louis) is planning to turn the storied property at 1701 Kansas Avenue into a museum and music education center for children.
The brainchild of Lauren Parks and Jasper Gery Pearson, the idea to transform the space began back in 2011, though reconstruction on the property didn’t begin until this month. The plan is to gut the property's interior, then restore it to what it looked like in the 1920s, when Davis called it home (he was born on May 26, 1926).
In addition to providing visitors with an intimate glimpse at how the budding musician lived, including his connection to the city, Parks and Pearson plan to develop a host of educational opportunities for kids that will include music classes, obviously, but history and community stewardship programs, too.
“We’re looking to give our kids a little sense of home,” Pearson told St. Louis Public Radio. “That’s why we called this place HOME, House of Miles East St. Louis. So when you think of home you think not only about the front door and the back door, but the whole community.”
HOME is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 to complete the project, which they hope to open to the public in the fall. Think of it as the birthplace of the Birth of Cool.