The little house on South Hall Street, across from the Alabama State
University campus, is nondescript, save the white plastic sheeting that
covers it. A temporary fence surrounds it and weeds have started to
grow around its cinder block foundation.
You wouldn't know it, but it's the birth home of one of the 20th century's most legendary musicians.
birthplace of Nat "King" Cole, which originally sat on St. John Street,
was moved to this location by the university, which purchased the home
in 2000. The school has plans to turn it into a museum to memorialize
Cole and preserve his legacy, while also making the campus more of a
The home has been stabilized since the Montgomery Advertiser wrote about it in 2004, but much work remains.
spokeswoman Janel Bell said that the university is seeking funding to
complete the renovation. She couldn't comment on a timeline for the
project, but the firm of Brown Chambless Architects is handling the
John Chambless, a partner in the firm, said they have
completed the renovation plan, but they have paused to allow the
university to analyze the project and be sure that it fits into a
broader context of all the historic homes, papers and collections the
"It's a wonderful project and it's definitely moving forward," Chambless said.
said that an outdoor amphitheater will be a part of the plan and there
are considerations for how interpretive work could be done there.
Chambless believes the home will one day be an important part of the many historical buildings and homes the school owns.
"Architecturally, it's part of the gateway to the campus," he said.