Historic home of country music legend Bob Wills threatened by development

May 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The decaying old building at Armstrong and Clinton in Northeast Fresno is all that's left of what used to be the Triple B Ranch. Back in the 1940's its was the home of then country music superstar Bob Wills. It doesn't look like much now but the historical commission says it should be preserved -- although a developer wants to tear it down.

Bob Wills is known as the King of Western Swing he sold millions of records around the world during the 40's 50's and even the 60's. On the road with his Band the Texas Playboys much of the time, he had homes in Texas, Oklahoma, but settled in Fresno in 1945.

Bob Wills was a band leader and a fiddle player. Pat Deluca of Fresno is a member of the California Old Time Fiddlers Association. He believes the old Will's place is special.

"This was his house. He called this home. His daughter Carolyn was born here. He delivered her. This really is an important historical place. It deserves to be around for posterity."

The Fresno Historical Preservation Commission, a city agency, agrees. Chairman Don Simmons says it should become a treasured resource. "The Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously that this is historic, no matter what the council says or Granville says, its historic, it has a great story too."

Simmons is upset that the city and Developer Granville Homes appear to be ignoring the commission's findings. Granville wants to build a 200 home subdivision on the ranch site, and on Thursday obtained a demolition permit to tear down the property.

Simmons says legal fight is likely. "I would see this ending up in court definitely, it deserves to end up in court. Developers shouldn't have this much sway over the preservation community."

The house itself is in bad shape. But those who want to save it, say it's about remembering the man and his music.

The Historic Preservation Commission wants the house and at least some of the surrounding property to be set aside. But Granville company Vice President Jeff Roberts told Action News unless someone buys the house and moves it, it will be torn down.


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