Louisville, Kentucky’s about to offer travelers a new site where they can experience the life of the city’s most famous son: Muhammad Ali.
After years of being in disrepair with its significance barely acknowledged, Ali’s childhood home is being restored. It’s slated to open to visitors in spring 2016 (possibly in time for the influx of Kentucky Derby goers the weekend of May 7), according to WFPL. Ali, then named Cassius Clay Jr., lived in the 1000-square-foot single-story home at 3302 Grand Ave. from 1947 to 1961.
“This is where the boys lived when 12-year-old Cassius Clay Jr. reported his bike stolen to a local police officer. Officer Joe Martin also happened to own a gym and introduced the young Clay to boxing,” according to WFPL. Ali, later nicknamed The Louisville Lip, was born in 1942 and won the heavyweight championship in 1964. A three-time heavyweight champ, Ali’s also known for his humanitarian work and moral opposition to the Vietnam War.
The restoration has involved structural repairs and repainting the home pink, as it was when Ali was young. Period furniture is also being added, with Ali’s brother, Rahman Ali, informing the restoration and providing mementos. The investors behind the renovation also purchased an adjacent home with the intent of converting it into a welcome center.
Previously the home was a rental property, no different from most other houses on the street. In 2012, the Kentucky Historical Society dedicated a marker in front of the residence, acknowledging its importance.
Louisville is already home to the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum and multicultural center that follows Ali’s life and the six core principles that guided it. The city also has a Muhammad Ali Boulevard and a multistory mural to The Champ on the façade of LG&E building at the intersection of North Third Street and West River Road.