Footage courtesy of WGN-TV
This historical Chicago Landmark belonged to McKinley Morganfield, known professionally as Muddy Waters – the father of modern Chicago blues. It was the first house he had ever purchased. When the blues legend moved to Chicago from the South, it became a home away from home. It soon turned into a gathering place for Muddy, other blues musicians, and entertainers. They would host jam sessions in the basement, creating music that we all enjoy to this day.
How You Can Help
Below you'll find the plan to preserve this historical landmark. However, this will not be achieved without support from the community and blues fans across the world. With your donation, we can honor Muddy Waters and celebrate the Chicago blues properly. The home will be such a great asset to the city of Chicago.
CHICAGO LANDMARK DESIGNATION
The Muddy Waters MOJO Museum board is beyond thrilled that Muddy Waters' South Side home officially earned Chicago landmark designation in the fall of 2021. Chicago’s City Council voted unanimously to preserve the historic two-flat building at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave in North Kenwood.
"What's significant about landmark status is that this building will never be demolished. It's going to be forever protected. This was an essential step to preserve blues culture and for the legacy of African American history," says board president and Waters' great-grandaughter, Chandra Cooper.
The board believes the landmark status will help garner the type of recognition the house deserves. It also has the potential to attract additional funding opportunities and to keep the museum alive.
The first floor will be a community museum honoring the blues legend. Photography, art, stories, and memorabilia of Muddy Waters would be featured.
The museum would be a way to educate youth from both Chicago and surrounding suburbs on the importance of blues education. Musicians could teach classes. For example, lessons that focus on empowering women and girls to know the history of blues and learn how to play music. Muddy-inspired merchandise would be sold.
The basement would be the next phase of the project. The board envisions the basement being a jam session space – with an educational recording studio and sitting area.
When Muddy owned the home, he and his friends would create music in the basement. Potentially, it could include a hologram of Muddy Waters so fans can play alongside their blues hero.
RESTORATION & GARDEN
The exterior will be brought back to its original state. There is an empty lot next to the home. The board hopes to work with the alderperson to turn this space into a community garden.
SEND US YOUR MUDDY-INSPIRED ART
Submit your original works of art – inspired by the Father of Modern Chicago Blues – and we may display it in the museum, on the website or on our social media.
We will not sell your art. It belongs to you.