A small red brick house in St. Louis was once the home of a rock ‘n’ roll legend, and will soon be the home of his legacy. This is the house where Chuck Berry lived from 1950 to 1958. A faint “B” for “Berry” can still be seen on the awning over the front porch.
Berry is known as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, and the city refers to this house as “essentially… the birthplace of modern rock ‘n’ roll as we know it,” because of what the musician accomplished while living there. It is here that Berry wrote such classics as “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”
The house will soon be a museum and the center of an African American cultural district that will honor other former residents of the area, like Josephine Baker and Dick Gregory. The neighborhood, known as the Greater Ville, was an area of the then-segregated St. Louis, where black people could own property. Berry moved in just as he was starting a family, and around the time he bought his first electric guitar, started playing gigs with the Chuck Berry combo, and signed a record contract with Chess Records.
Berry remodeled the basement and added a few rooms onto the back of the narrow house while he lived there. Today the house is owned by the city and in disrepair as it awaits its renaissance, but the layout remains the way it was when Berry lived there.