Louis Armstrong House
34-56 107th Street
Corona, Queens, New York City, New York
Louis Armstrong's wife, Lucille, purchased this modest house for Louis while he was away on tour in 1943. Louis, who had a difficult childhood, was delighted with the home and continued to live here (even when he could afford a more elegant abode) until he passed away in his sleep in their upstairs bedroom on July 6, 1971. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and Lucille Armstrong continued to live in the house until her passing in 1983, when it was left in her will to the City for a museum. The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs assumed ownership of the House and provided for Queens College to administer it. The house finally opened to the public as a museum on October 15, 2003.
The house has been left with the early 1970s interior decoration, although Louis' personal library has been left largely in the state he left it in.
When I visited in 2006, the surrounding neighborhood was slowly being gentrified, with modest row houses like Armstrong's being replaced with large yuppie dormatories.