RENTON, Wash. – The childhood home where rock guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix is said to have first discovered music has been dismantled after eight years of preservation efforts failed.
Barely a shell of the 900-square-foot house originally in Seattle's Central Area neighborhood remains on a lot across the street from where Hendrix was buried. Owner Pete Sikov told the Seattle Times for a story Tuesday that parts have been saved and may be sold later.
"Can you imagine a guitar made out of wood from Jimi's house? Who wouldn't want that?" Sikov, a 54-year-old Seattle real estate investor, said.
Hendrix, who lived in the house from ages 10 to 13 in the 1950s, rocketed to fame in the 1960s with blazing guitar licks in songs such as "Purple Haze" and "Are You Experienced?" He choked to death on his own vomit in 1970 at age 27 in London after taking sleeping pills and alcohol.
The house is where Hendrix first picked up a ukulele that had one string and figured out how to strum the theme song from the television detective show "Peter Gunn," said Leon Hendrix, the late musician's younger brother.
Sikov said the demolition crew saved original parts of the home, including kitchen cabinets, a claw-foot tub and the back door.
The demolition of the home is the end of Sikov's fight to preserve it, beginning in 2001 when the original site was purchased for condominium development. Sikov paid more than $30,000 to buy and move it to a city-owned site where he and the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation hoped to renovate it as a music center.
But that plan collapsed amid accusations of broken promises and missed deadlines between Sikov and city officials. When the city moved to have the house demolished, Sikov paid $1.8 million to buy a trailer park across from the Renton cemetery where Hendrix was buried and moved the house there.
He had negotiated with the suburban municipality and several developers for a plan with the home as a centerpiece, but Renton officials finally demanded that the house be removed.
"It's an eyesore. We had this fairly ugly structure on a major arterial," said Neil Watts, Renton director of development services.
Charles R. Cross, author of the Hendrix biography "Room Full of Mirrors," lamented that Seattle didn't save the house.
"Let's be blunt: He's the most famous guy to ever be born in the city of Seattle," he said.