Lee and Fontaine Houses of the James Lee Memorial

Status: Preserved

Address: 680 and 690 Adams Avenue, Memphis

Built: 1843, 1853, 1870-1873

Architectural Style: French-Victorian

Original Function/Purpose: Residential

The Lee and Fontaine Houses of the James Lee Memorial were placed on the National Register on Feb. 11, 1971.

History: The approximately 20-room Fontaine House at 680 Adams Avenue (upper photo), also known as Woodruff-Fontaine, was built in the early 1870s by Amos Woodruff, designed by Edward Jones and Mathias Baldwin in French-Victorian style. Woodruff exchanged residences with Noland Fontaine in the 1880s (or may have sold his house to Fontaine). Fontaine’s estate later sold the house to Rosa Lee, daughter of Captain James Lee, Jr. of the Lee Line Steamers, for use as an art school, predecessor to the Memphis Academy of Art. It is now owned by the City of Memphis and is open to the public. Next door, on the corner of Orleans Street at 690 Adams, is the Lee House (lower photo), also known as the James Lee Memorial, or Harsson-Goyer or Goyer-Lee House. It was built in sections in 1843 and 1853 by William Harsson and his son-in-law Charles W. Goyer, and was sold in 1890 to James Lee, Jr. This house, like the Fontaine House, descended to his daughter Rosa. The city sold the house to private owners who completed renovations in 2014 to convert it into a luxury bed and breakfast inn. In April 2019 the firm Fleming Architects earned a Citation from the Memphis chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its renovation/restoration of the Lee House.

City Council District: 7

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN