The setting of a songwriting retreat or the perfect getaway to immerse yourself in Southern rock history, the home, in Jacksonville, Florida, where the late Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member and vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and his siblings grew up, is now available to rent on Airbnb.
Known as “The Van Zant House,” the more than 70-year-old property on 5419 Woodcrest Road, in the blue-collar neighborhood the Van Zant’s called “Shantytown,” the home was listed as an official heritage site in 2018.
Ronnie, along with his brothers, current Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Johnny and Donnie, founding member of .38 Special, spent their formative years growing up in this house with their sisters and parents between the ’50s through 1980s, according to a plaque in front of the house.
“That house was our life, that neighborhood was our neighborhood,” said Johnny Van Zant in an interview when the property was given its official heritage designation. “We all learned how to play drums in that house, we all learned how to swing on the swing-set out there — that’s where we learned to sing. We didn’t have 700 channels like today. We didn’t have nothing but four channels. We weren’t super rich.”
Owned by businessman Todd Smith, who bought the home and restored it to its 1970s aesthetic, the home, which features three bedrooms and can sleep up to six guests, is a tribute to the entire band. In 1977, a tragic plane crash took the life of Ronnie, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, along with the pilot and co-pilot.
Inside, the home is a “living tribute to the Van Zants” and features tributes to the family and band with photos, and other rare memorabilia.
“Inside this main house, you’ll find some cool memorabilia,” according the Airbnb listing, “a vintage 1938 Brunswick pool table, and a retro ’70s feel, to remind us all of the way things were, with a hint of nostalgia.” The listing adds, “Please understand that we have restored and continue to restore this home to what it looked like in the 1970s (with a few minor nods to technology like wi-fi). If you have an expectation of a perfect modern home, this is probably not a good fit for you.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd launched their farewell tour in 2018 and will continue the Big Wheels Keep on Turnin Tour, set to begin April 2022.