Gentrification is real. As time marches onward, more and more space is bought up by developers and turned into ghastly condominiums. Families become displaced in the process. Cultural landmarks are destroyed. Skylines become littered with monolithic filth. People like to run their mouths about immigrants and asylum seekers changing the face of America. In reality, it’s the millionaire class who are knocking everything down to build overpriced piles of garbage.
704 W. High Street in Urbania, Illinois has a rich history that ties into underground music. In 1999, the short lived emo band American Football used the white-sided facade of the home for the cover of their debut album. Although they broke up soon after, the band has become an institution for fans of the genre. As years ticked by, American Football’s status grew. When the band got back together, they used the same house in all of their iconography. The house was on the cover of the new album. The house was the backdrop for their reunion tour. They shot their music video in the house. The house was everything.
“Rather than risk the chance that 704 W. High Street would fall prey to developers, American Football and their associates got the capital together to purchase the house. The band explain their decision in a statement on Polyvinyl Records Twitter, saying:
Last fall we received word that 704 W High Street in Urbana might be sold soon. Shortly thereafter American Football, Polyvinyl, Chris Strong, Atiba Jefferson, and Open House Contemporary made a pact: we’d all buy the house together before developers could demolish it and build a condo.
Today, with sincere joy, we are excited to share that we have collectively purchased The American Football House in an effort to preserve its place and legacy within the community that built it.”
Time changes everything and nothing gold can stay, but at least this one spot in independent music history will live on for a little while longer.
— Polyvinyl Record Co. (@Polyvinyl) May 5, 2023