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The James Lee House, located at 690 Adams in Memphis, TN, was initially constructed by William Harsson in 1848. His son-in-law Charles Wesley Goyer, a grocer turned banker, bought the house in 1852 and expanded it to the 8,100 square foot mansion that can be seen today.


James Lee, a Princeton-educated riverboat captain, bought the house in 1890, and his family became the home’s last residents. In 1925, James Lee’s eldest daughter made the home into the James Lee Memorial Art Academy. In 1959, the Academy relocated to Overton Park, and the James Lee House sat empty for more than 50 years.


Grassroots efforts since the 1970s to find a developer continually fell short until SRDC stepped in, and in partnership with Jose Velazquez, built a luxury bed-and-breakfast inn. The creation of the inn not only restored the James Lee House to its former splendor, it enhanced the marketability of “Millionaires Row” in Victorian Village.


The restoration and opening of the Lee House bed and breakfast in Victorian Village has created the momentum that we hoped for in the revitalization of the neighborhood. As a community development non-profit we have always recognized that our architectural treasures made this place unique, and gave us an identity unlike any other place in Memphis. To be able to stand on the front porch of Mollie Fontaine’s Lounge and see every light on at the Lee House, I know with certainty that this house and this place are coming back to life.
– Scott Blake, Victorian Village, Inc.


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