Historical marker going up at childhood home of Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sign outside Van Zant House on Jacksonville's Westside to be unveiled Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The childhood home of Lynyrd Skynyrd on Jacksonville's Westside is becoming a historical site.

A Florida Historical Marker will be unveiled at 3 p.m. Saturday at the "Van Zant House" on Woodcrest Road off Lake Shore Boulevard.

Soon after, the legendary home will be available for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans to rent and experience.

The house is currently under construction, but those remodeling it told News4Jax on Friday that the home will look just like it did when Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant grew up there.

Old records, pictures and guitars will also be hung up in the former trophy room of the Van Zant House.

"It's definite honor, I'll tell you what," said Charles Harding, who's remodeling the Van Zant House. "I've always been a Skynyrd fan, so to be a part of this project, it's a lot of fun."

Before fans are able to rent out the home, Harding said, their goal is to make sure the house is remodeled in the same way it was when the Van Zants lived there.

"We're putting some '70s style furniture in here, the old dial tone phone, eight-track player, record player, stuff like that," Harding said. "So when people do come here, they can really feel that '70s experience."

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But the most notable feature of the house is something that Harding said has always been there.

"The most important piece of this house is the spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd," he said. "We feel it all the time."

As a fan himself, Harding is grateful to keep an important part of Jacksonville history alive.

The full description on the Florida Historical Marker is below:

Musicians Ronnie, Donnie, and Johnny Van Zant spent their formative years growing up in this house with their sisters and parents between the 1950s and 1980s. A serendipitous foul ball hit by Ronnie Van Zant at a nearby park struck future bandmate Bob Burns in the head, knocking him unconscious. This chance encounter led to what would become one of the most famous, hardest working rock ‘n roll bands in the world, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Gold and platinum records from millions of album sales adorned the walls of this house while the band toured worldwide. Tragedy cut short the original incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, when four members of the band, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, died in a plane crash in Mississippi on October 20, 1977, after their tour plane ran out of fuel. The surviving members of the band and crew were seriously injured. Ten years later, Johnny Van Zant took over as lead singer, and Lynyrd Skynyrd was reborn. Donnie Van Zant was a founding member and lead singer of the rock band .38 Special, a highly successful band in its own right. The Van Zants’ legacy, memorialized in this house, commemorate their prodigious contribution to the world of rock music."