Muddy Waters‘ former home in Chicago is set to be renovated into a museum and community center, the Hyde Park Herald reported on Tuesday.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has given a $50,000 grant to transform the six-time Grammy-winning blues musician’s brick house — situated on 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. in the North Kenwood neighborhood of the city — into the Muddy Waters MOJO Museum. The grant arrives through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and it is expected that the museum project will be complete within two years.
Led by Waters’ great-granddaughter, Chandra Cooper, the MOJO renovation project will include a neighborhood museum attached to a community center. In addition to exhibits with a focus on Waters and the blues, the space will include a small venue, a recording studio, and a community garden.
“We want to be able to support older artists as well and as a small venue where people can go in the basement and do a little recording,” Cooper told the Hyde Park Herald, “because while it wasn’t a recording studio downstairs — it was a rehearsal studio — we’d like to incorporate that into the overall experience.”
The first house he had ever purchased, Waters bought the property in 1954 and used it for the next two decades as a rehearsal space. It soon turned into a gathering place for Waters, other blues musicians, and entertainers. They would host ‘jam out’ sessions in the basement, creating music that music fans of all persuasions enjoy to this day. The blues legend died in 1983 and in 2013, the Department of Buildings deemed the property unsafe, and the building was threatened with demolition.
“It was so significant to get this grant money from the trust because it’s really saving this house from any more deterioration,” Cooper said.