The childhood home of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone in Tryon, North Carolina, is now protected indefinitely thanks to a new preservation easement. The National Trust for Historic Preservation reported the news earlier this week.
The measure was secured by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, in partnership with World Monuments Fund and Preservation North Carolina, a statewide historic preservation advocacy organization. Preservation North Carolina holds the easement. Now, the home will be protected in the future no matter who owns it. The easement protect’s the building’s character while allowing it to be renovated for contemporary use.
The home is currently owned by Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Julie Mehretu, and Adam Pendleton, four visual artists who bought it in 2017 for $95,000. According to The Undefeated, the home had fallen into disrepair after its previous owner, Polk County economic development director Kevin McIntyre, encountered financial difficulties after spending $100,000 of his own money for renovations. In 2018, the National Trust designated the building a National Treasure.
Simone grew up in the three-room, 660-square foot clapboard house in western North Carolina. She learned to play the piano there while growing up with seven siblings. She went on to the Juilliard School of Music in New York City and an internationally celebrated music career. She died in 2003 and is remembered for her artistic accomplishments and her advocacy for civil rights for Black Americans.