James Lee steamer bell



  When the JAMES LEE (second) renamed the DESOTO was crushed by ice December 1918 the bell was salvaged and went to a plantation in Arkansas.   On October 16, 1970, Dr. Webster Riggs Jr. along with his wife and mother were at the dedication of the JAMES LEE bell.   Previously in May of 1961 the Riggs gave the bell to the James Lee Memorial which was started by James Lee’s daughter Miss Rosa Lee.   Rosa Lee began the James Lee Memorial Art Academy in 1929 when she deeded the house to the city of Memphis.   The James Lee Memorial Art Accademy occupied the home until 1959 when the Art Accademy moved to its current home in Overton Park and became the Memphis Art Accademy.  At the October 16, 1970 dedication, plans were announced to restore the James Lee house.  Nothing developed from those announced plans and the house has been vacant since the Art Academy moved from the James Lee House.  The house is currently for sale by the City of  Memphis and likely will be converted into a bed and breakfast.  The Woodruff-Fountain House next to the James Lee home was also owned by Rosa Lee who donated it along with the Lee House to the James Lee Memorial Art Academy.  The Woodruff-Fountain House has been restored and is open to the public 1 to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday.

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