Glenn Miller Birthplace Home

On March 1, 1989, Glenn Miller’s daughter, Jonnie Dee Miller, purchased the home where her father was born 85 years earlier. The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society manages the preservation, maintenance and interpretation of the home.

At the time the house was purchased, very little was known about the home as it existed in 1904. Luckily, news of the purchase was picked up by the Associated Press and appeared in newspapers around the world. As a result of this publicity, letters were sent to Clarinda from as far away as Russia and Japan. One letter from Bob Watson of Salem, Oregon, proved to be very valuable. His parents had purchased the house from the in 1907 (approximately one year after the Miller’s had sold it), and he knew a great deal about the site. As a result of this letter, several photographs of the house were received from the Watson family.

In March of 1991, the major restoration project was begun. A 1912 addition to the home was removed and the original roof line was restored. The two main rooms of the house had the original floors and many of the lathe and plaster walls remained. The original kitchen had been removed and was replaced by a back porch. This had to be removed and a study conducted to determine the original footprint of the kitchen before it could be rebuilt. The front porch had been shifted to the north and was returned to its current location per the original design of the house. By carefully observing small clues, the missing details were restored so that the house is now back to its original style as in 1904. Furnishings of the era and many family photographs give visitors a feeling for the early life of the Miller family. Memorabilia displayed in the home includes a piano owned by Glenn and Helen along with a photo showing Glenn sitting at the piano working on a music score. Other things displayed include a copy of the first gold record ever awarded for Chattanooga Choo Choo, photos from Glenn’s two movies, Orchestra Wives and Sun Valley Serenade, plus photos of the Glenn Miller Story staring James Stewart and June Allyson. Many other personal items are displayed which make the home an important place for all who love Glenn Miller and his music.

It is the objective of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society to continually strive to improve the interpretation of the birthplace, and to preserve and maintain the home so that it can be enjoyed by visitors from around the world. If you would like to help in this effort, you may make tax deductible donations to the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society.

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