Lt. George W. Lee House

Status: Preserved

Address: 563 Stephens Place, Memphis

Built: 1911

Architectural Style: Bungalow influence

Original Function/Purpose: Residential

The Lt. George W. Lee House was placed on the National Register on May 2, 1994.

History: Lee was known on the streets of early twentieth century Memphis as “Lieutenant Lee,” both for his army service as a lieutenant in World War I and as the lieutenant for the powerful African-American capitalist and Republican Party leader Robert Church, Sr. In Memphis during the 1920s and 1930s Lee was a leading Republican and African-American businessman. He also became one of the earliest historians of the Bluff City’s African-American culture. A novelist and short story writer, he was sometimes also called “The Boswell of Beale Street.” Both his Beale Street: Where the Blues Began (1934) and River George (1937) were named Book of the Month Club alternate selections. As a result of his many contributions, a Memphis Postal station is named in his honor, and his portrait hangs in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Nashville. The George W. Lee Post Office on Mississippi Blvd. was dedicated July 9, 1956 – the first such facility to be named after a black American. In addition, the George W. Lee Homes Subdivision was dedicated in 1955.

 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN