Six-time Grammy-winning blues singer and the “Father of Modern Chicago Blues,” Muddy Waters’ home located at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. in the North Kenwood neighborhood, will be renovated into a museum and community center led by Waters’ great-granddaughter, Chandra Cooper.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded a $50,000 grant to renovate the 131-year old Chicago landmark that will include a recording studio, small venue, 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.”
Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1915, on a plantation in Mississippi. In 1943, Waters came to Chicago and performed at neighborhood bars. He bought his first electric guitar in 1944. His first release on Chess Records was “Rollin Stone,” which was a national success. Waters’ defined Chicago blues with his electric guitar with hit songs such as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and “Got My Mojo Working.”
Waters bought the two-flat brick house in 1954 and used his basement as a rehearsal room for jam sessions with blues singers such as Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry. In 2013, the building was deemed unsafe by the Department of Buildings and was on the verge of being demolished. The museum is expected to be complete within two years. The building is listed as a Chicago Tribute Markers of Distinction.
Waters died April 30, 1983, and buried at Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, IL, with 20+ famous blues musicians and entertainers.
To donate to Muddy Waters MOJO Museum https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=6OtfEcxjtZynnea9ElLvmVJvJs-3O68VczzQw-DSRDJF1bujC5yupbw8ZxPVH3wuSOyh_0&fromUL=true&country.x=US&locale.x=en_US.
Tammy Gibson is a travel historian and blogger. Find her on at www.sankofatravelher.com, Facebook, Instagram @SankofaTravelher, and Twitter @SankofaTravelHr.