Environmental judge orders Aretha Franklin’s childhood home to be torn down

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MEMPHIS,  Tenn. — It looks like Aretha Franklin's childhood home will soon have a date with a wrecking ball.

An environmental court judge has ordered the city to tear down the Queen of Soul's birth home due to its condition.

The house in the 400 block of Lucy Avenue in South Memphis was declared a public nuisance back in 2012, and the court said since then the property has continue to deteriorate.

The house is coming off its foundation and some walls are falling in.

Neighbors said it's a dangerous eyesore.

"It is going to be caught on fire or fall down or whatever and hurt somebody,"  said Donald Rodgers.

WREG was there some 20 years ago when Aretha Franklin was welcomed back to her neighborhood and got to look inside her old home.

"When I left Memphis I was about a year and a half, maybe 2 years old," said Franklin.

A number of groups, including Memphis Heritage, Stax and the Soulsville Foundation have tried to figure out how to give new life to the old home -- even move it.

The current owner of the home said she's put all the money she can into the property and it may be time to let it go.

Her son, though, is still holding out hope someone will save it.

Harold Lee said once Aretha's home is gone that piece of history is gone forever.

"It will be sad for the city, it will be sad for us, my family," said Harold Lee.

The court order says the property should be demolished immediately.

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