The property at 101 West 7th Street in Louisville, Georgia was once the site of the old Louisville Hotel. In the 1890s, the hotel’s proprietor was a Scottish immigrant who would entertain the neighborhood with his accordion. During the early morning hours of December 14, 1899, the hotel caught fire. Sadly, nothing could be done to save it. The hotel was a complete loss. Luckily, the building had insurance. The owner used the insurance payout of $1000 to pay for the construction of a new residence on the site of the old hotel.
The Willie House was built in 1904 by Mr. J. D. Chase, a local carpenter. The house has four bedrooms and three full bathrooms with over 3,500 square feet. In 1908, Roger D. Warren purchased the property for $3,000. Warren sold the home to Waller S. Murphy in 1917. Murphy was the Jefferson County Clerk of Superior Court from 1902 until 1932. Waller Murphy, and his wife, Claudia Lee Murphy, occupied the property as their residence continuously from 1917 until Mr. Murphy’s death on December 18, 1948.
Interestingly, the 1940 census record lists Claudia Murphy’s occupation as “Tourist Home Manager” and Waller Murphy as “Assistant Manager.” The Murphy’s operated a boarding house in their residence for many years. The property was inherited by Claudia Murphy, who continued to reside in the home until her death in 1963.
In August 1963, Hattie Mae Willie purchased the property from the Murphy family. The stated purchase price was $6,500. Hattie Mae Willie Smith rented the non-street side section for her and her teenage son in the 1950s. After she purchased the home, Hattie Mae continued to rent out rooms and operate it as a boarding house. She lived in the home until her death in 1997.
After Hattie Mae’s death, the local telephone company showed interest in buying the property. They owned the lot next door and did not hide the fact that they intended to tear the house down. Eve Perdue, one of Hattie Mae’s daughters, could not bear the thought of losing the home. In 2001, she came up with the money to buy her siblings’ shares and purchase the house herself. Ms. Perdue lived in the home until her health declined in 2014. Due to her failing health, Ms. Perdue could not maintain the residence as it fell into a state of disrepair. The property sat vacant for three years before a family member purchased it in July 2017. The new owner began a full restoration of the property. The house is now referred to as the Willie House and you can follow the restoration here.