The Philadelphia home of legendary jazz musician Sun Ra has been designated a historical landmark.
The Arkestral Institute of Sun Ra, also known as Sun Ra House, has housed a number of members of the ever-evolving Sun Ra Arkestra, including current bandleader Marshall Allen, from 1968 until the present day.
On May 13, the Philadelphia Historical Commission unanimously voted to grant protected status for the building, Pitchfork reported, following a two-year nomination process.
The building at 5626 Morton St. has now been added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The historical status ensures that any restoration, maintenance and adjustments to the building will have to meet historic preservation standards.
Allen said in an interview last year that the building had partially collapsed. “Water had dripped on [the floor], and probably termites had eaten the sub-basement,” he said. “One day it just — schlkup — fell in.”
The Robert Bielecki Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to helping artists, helped lead the campaign to obtain protected status for Sun Ra House.
Born Herman Blount in Birmingham, Ala., in 1914, Sun Ra rose to prominence as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and poet during the 1940s. After periods spent in Chicago and New York, he settled in Philadelphia in 1968. It became the headquarters for the Arkestra, with Sun Ra and his collective becoming known for their eclectic, avant-garde sound and cosmic philosophy. He’s considered a pioneer of Afrofuturism.