American Football's 1999 self-titled debut album has become a cult classic, a well-reviewed album that is often mentioned among the most respected releases from the early days of emo. Yet, one of the most memorable things about the record is the plain, white facade of the house that graces the album cover. So whatever happened to that house? Well, it turns out that American Football just recently purchased it.

The home sits at 704 W. High Street in Urbana, Illinois and over the years it has been a popular residence for college students while also becoming somewhat of a hot spot for fans of the band hoping to grab a quick selfie.

Interestingly enough, none of the band's members lived in the house at the time of the recording, with the group feeling that the house that was a "friend of friends" place perhaps capturing the vibe of their record.

“You know, none of us ever actually lived in that house,” Mike Kinsella told The Line of Best Fit in a 2014 interview. “It was friends of friends who lived there when we were all in school together, in Champaign. It’s just a college town, so most of the population is students. The reason we kept going back to it is less to do with how iconic it might have become, and more down to the fact that it’s pretty much one of the only images affiliated with the band. People are still using the same old promo shots, because there’s only, like, three pictures of us all together from 1999; I’m fat-faced, and the other guys are baby-faced. But that cover shot, I always just thought there was something about it that represented living in a kind of insular college town, and that speaks to the sound of the record, I think.”

Chris Strong, who took the photo, backs up Kinsella's assessment. "I think the house is a thing because for 20 years there were no visuals associated with that band at all," he explained to Vice. "Everyone just sort of held onto the house because there really wasn't anything else to look at."

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Per Polyvinyl Records, the home was initially built in 1893. Sitting across the street from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, it has hosted decades of house parties and punk shows all around the property - from a halfpipe in the backyard to the back porch to the basement. In 2020, it was the official "venue" for Nether Meant, one of the first virtual concerts hosted in Minecraft during COVID, bringing fans together at a time when they simply couldn't be.

Upon the band's 2016 reunion album, the group returned to the home, receiving permission to access the interior for a cover shot.

Now, a full 24 years since American Football initially used the 704 W. High Street house facade for their album cover, they've come full circle joining with some of the other key players from their history to purchase the home.

In a statement, the band wrote:

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 but 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.

Here's to keeping this landmark alive for many more years to come.

The Polyvinyl label, who also chipped in to purchase the home, added, "Besides being a literal home to its many tenants throughout the years, The American Football House has come to represent a nostalgic dream of possibility and the beauty of the beginning. We could not let that dream go."

Congrats to American Football for keeping this piece of their legacy intact.

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