One More Try at Razing 508 Park Avenue, Even As Miss. Officials to Turn Robert Johnson's Birthplace Into Tourist Destination
On Thursday, the owners of 508 Park Avenue will ask the City Plan Commission for permission to demolish the building in which Robert Johnson, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and Charlie Parker once recorded. Two months ago, the Landmark Commission denied the application, upholding the Central Business District Task Force's earlier no-how-no-way, but Colby Properties is determined to raze that building along with the adjacent 1900 Young Street -- despite its own engineer's determination that, no, the former Warner Bros. Pictures storage facility isn't anywhere near falling down.
On an entirely related note, the Associated Press this morning reports that officials in Copiah County, Mississippi, are going to spend $250,000 to restore the bluesman's childhood home in the hopes of turning it into a tourist destination: "A restored Johnson birthplace would offer his latter-day fans something rare: a tangible relic linked to the long-dead musician." Unlike, say, the building in which he actually recorded half of his incalculably influential body of work, including one of the most immortal pieces of American music, "Hellhound on My Trail."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.