LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Before he became one of the most recognizable people on the planet--Cassius Clay--or as we later came to know him, Muhammad Ali--was just a little boy with big dreams from the West End Of Louisville.
In a WAVE 3 News exclusive, we learned childhood home will soon reopen and its doors and may even make it’s way on the list of National Historic Landmarks.
“We have been closed now for about a year,” owner George Bochetto said.
The Muhammad Ali Childhood Home Museum at 3302 Grand Av. in West Louisville has been quiet. From 1947 to 1961, it was the home of Muhammad Ali--then Cassius Clay Jr., Cassius Clay Sr., Odessa Clay and Rudolph Clay now Rahman Ali.
“It’s not just a house, it’s an educational experience” Bochetto said. “It’s almost a spiritual retreat.”
It was here that Ali first started to box at the age of twelve, won the Olympic Boxing Gold Medal at the age of eighteen, and signed with the Louisville Sponsoring Group, turning professional
“The home belongs in Louisville,” Bochetto says. “The home belongs on Grand Ave.”
It was here Muhammad Ali said he called himself “The Greatest” before he even knew he was.
“That’s where young Cassius Clay grew up. That’s where Muhammad Ali came into being. That was the home. That was the neighborhood. That’s where it should be,” Bochetto said.
George Bochetto, a nationally renowned trial lawyer and former Pennsylvania State Boxing Commissioner’s, first fight was buying the home and saving it as it fell around itself.
“Put it back in the same condition when Muhammad Ali lived there and his family lived there,” Bochetto said.
Now Bochetto and his team are in a new battle, but they refuse to throw in the towel.
“We’re not looking to make money on it. We’re just trying to raise some funds to staff it so that we can keep it open as many hours as possible,” Bochetto said.
Bochetto is also trying to keep Ali’s childhood home in the city he called home and the city he made his final resting place.
“We’ve had a number of offers. In terms of moving the home to some other city," Bochetto said.
Bochetto believes that is not the answer. He wants more for the city and the Kentucky landmark for the man the world called the greatest.
“We’re now trying to get the National Park Service to recognize it as a national historic landmark” Hopefully we can partner with them to continue to run it as a museum
“They’ve done it with Martin Luther Kings home in Atlanta, they’ve done it with Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis, said Bochetto. “He walks among those giants.”
George Bochetto hopes folks from WAVE Country join the fight by using social media and talking with the city’s government officials to get this done.
We will share the Museums spring and summer schedule as soon as they reopen the doors.