The house where the singer Nina Simone was born is in bad shape. The ceiling is crumbling, the walls chipping, the floorboards sagging; stray wooden planks are strewn against the walls. Last year, it seemed inevitable that the house would succumb to time.
But, thanks to the teamwork of four artists and a nonprofit, the site has a new lease on life. On Tuesday, the house in Tryon, North Carolina, was named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The organisation will devise a plan to rehabilitate the house so that it might be used by future artists.
The house, where Simone was born in 1933 as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, has been the subject of failed restoration attempts over the years. Kevin McIntyre, a former economic development director for Polk County, bought the house in 2005 and invested more than $100,000 of his own money before losing the property to money troubles. When the house went on the market in 2016, many assumed it would be knocked down.