LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Muhammad Ali’s childhood home opened for tours on May 28, co-owner George Bochetto hoped it would become another stop on fans’ tours of the boxer’s hometown.
A week later, Ali was dead, and the little pink house at 3302 Grand Street on the west side of town became a must-see visit for people coming to Louisville to pay tribute to the late boxer.
“The whole world is here to celebrate Ali,” Bochetto said Thursday as a steady stream of visitors came by.
Ali lived there with his brother, Rahman, and parents from 1947 to ’61. It had been in a state of disrepair when Bochetto, a lawyer from Philadelphia and former Pennsylvania boxing commissioner, bought it in 2013.
“It had been here for many, many years neglected, run down, broken down,” Bochetto said. “I said, I can’t believe this thing’s available. So my partner [Jared Weiss] and I bought it. We then started procuring and curating photographs of the inside of the house when the Clay family was there so we could recreate the inside exactly the way it was.
“We hired an architect and we hired a curator and put a whole team together. You walk through that portal and it is a time warp going back to the Clay family. You will see the exact drapes, the exact stove, the exact artwork that was on the wall. It turned out great.”
Bochetto and Weiss also bought the house next door, which is used as a ticket office and gift shop.
Most of the furnishings in the home are period-appropriate recreations, with Rahman Ali having guided the work based on his recollection of the family’s time in the home.
“Ali was an idol of mine,” Bochetto said. “To me it’s the same as being associated with Martin Luther King’s home or Abraham Lincoln’s home. I mean, he’s just an inspirational leader.”