Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Real Estate: Music group buys Bob Wills House from Granville

(Photo courtesy of Granville Homes. The Wills House ready for transport.)

The Central California Music Association has bought the Bob Wills house for $1 from Fresno homebuilder Granville Homes.

The group, a new nonprofit led by president Lance Tullis, plans to have the one-story wood-frame house moved from Clinton and Armstrong avenues in Fresno to a 20-acre property less than 15 miles away in Prather. The move is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6.

“Bob Wills was a major contributor to western country music,” Tullis said. “We’d like to open (the house) up as a museum of country music in the foothills.”

Granville wanted to raze the house, which is falling apart and has problems such as bee infestation, asbestos and lead paint, to build a housing project in its place.

But the city’s Historic Preservation Commission intervened to preserve the home where Wills — the King of western swing — and his family lived in the 1940s.

Granville in turn offered to sell the house if the buyer moves it at no expense to the developer.

Tullis answered the call by forming the association and then starting a campaign called “Raise the Roof” to raise the $75,000 needed to move the house and restore it.

The first fundraiser was on Saturday, and attended by Wills’ daughter, Carolyn, Tullis said. For more information or to help, visit centralcalmusic.com.

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