TV network may help repair Aretha Franklin’s birth home
Memphis, Tenn. — The Memphis home where soul music legend Aretha Franklin was born may get some love from the DIY Network, officials in charge of fixing up the crumbling structure said Thursday.
Jeffrey Higgs, president of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation, told a judge he has been in discussions with a producer at the remodeling and home improvement cable network on a plan to repair and move the house for one of its programs.
Higgs hopes to move it to a safer location and make it more attractive for visitors. He told Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter there’s no timetable for a plan, but he heard from the producer on Wednesday that the network was interested in moving forward. The network has been to Memphis to scout locations, Higgs said.
The boarded-up house sits in a blighted section of the Soulsville neighborhood filled with abandoned homes and vacant lots. Crime is a big problem in the area. Potter had ordered the house demolished, but he put that order on hold after preservationists worked to stabilize the house last year.
“I would like to see this house saved,” Potter said. “I want to see it in a secure location.”
The house, which has sat empty for years, has been placed in receivership, with Higgs as steward.
Higgs said the house needs a new roof and he’s looking for funds to help shore up the property. The DIY Network could help pay for the move, he said.
Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” was born in the house in 1942. Her family moved to Detroit about two years later.