By Ann Rubin
East St. Louis (KSDK) - People in East St. Louis are outraged that vandals have struck the childhood home of jazz great Miles Davis.
They say the problem has escalated over the last few weeks, with nearly all the aluminum siding being stripped away.
Fans says his memory deserves respect and so does his former house.
While Davis was born in Alton, he spent much of his childhood in East St. Louis.
Residents there are concerned that at least one part of his legacy isn't being preserved.
"Oh I saw it the other day, it just disgusted me. It really did. It was sad. Very sad to see that house like it is," said neighbor Mamie Page.
The house Davis grew up in now has windows broken, pipes taken, aluminum siding that's been stripped away.
"I don't understand how somebody could pull the siding off of there piece by piece as long as that would take and nothing's been done about it. Nobody's been caught," said resident William Beecher.
"It kinda makes me angry because it should be preserved. It should be looking better than that," said another neighbor, Melvin Willis.
Police are aware of the problem, so are city officials. But Mayor Alvin Parks says there's only so much that can be done.
The house belongs to Miles Davis's family, and has been vacant for years.
Still there's hope that it can be saved.
"That kind of a person, you want to be able to hold up and say look at where he lived and look at how we restored his history," said Parks.
Neighbors want that too.
Mamie Page knew Davis's mother when she lived there.
"She always would brag about her son," said Page.
And while his music lives on, Page hopes the house can one day be a source of pride again.
She envisions perhaps a museum.
"They can't take it with them so spend the money and they'll have something to show for his life," she said.
Relatives of Miles Davis released this statement to NewsChannel 5:
Miles Davis Properties, LLC is responding to allegations regarding the original East St. Louis home of late jazz icon Miles Davis, disputing media reports that the property has been left unattended to deteriorate.
The Miles Davis family spends thousands of dollars yearly to maintain the property which suffers from repeated vandalism. The family has hired a contractor, whose team regularly visits the home to re-secure and update as necessary. Unfortunately, the vandalism occurs much quicker than the regular recovery efforts set forth.
The Miles Davis family has made several trips to East St. Louis over the last 10 years cultivating their relationships and resources to establish the home as an historic site. The family has met with, and spoken to several political representatives to accomplish this goal. To date, there has been no definitive interest. The family also offered the house to charitable organizations; and to the City, who declined due to lack of funds to insure the property.
In closing, Miles Davis Properties, LLC has put forth every effort possible to position the home as an historic site; to donate the property to charity and to the City of East St. Louis; and to regularly maintain the home and property from the effects of repeated vandalism.
Cheryl Davis, Erin Davis & Vince Wilburn, Jr.