City Directories and History: 1908 – Wm. G. Stevens (Margaret B.), V.P. of the Bank of Rock Hill and M.D., and P.C. Blackman, 1917 – A.E. Willis, 1922/23 – Same, 1936 – Albert E. Willis (Bessie H.), W.D. Willis, 1946 – Albert E. Willis, 1963 – Williams Motors Company
The outstanding 20th century dwelling known commonly as the Willis house was one of Rock Hill’s finest dwelling but it began as so many others as a less ornate structure belonging to Dr. W.G. Stevens who sold his home to the Willis family.
The Herald reported on June 27, 1906 that, “Dr. W.G. Stevens is erecting a beautiful two story dwelling on Oakland Avenue”. Upon the sale to the Willis family within only a few years, they added the extensive Neo-Classical design elements to “enhance” the house and make it very similar to the Friedheim House on East Main Street. The Willis family, specifically A.E. Willis was listed as a farmer in 1925-26 but the family, had also been heavily involved in the manufacturers of buggies in York, S.C. They also held extensive farm operations in the Newport area of the county. It was a very popular style in the early 20th century at a time when Southerners were beginning to recover from their financial difficulties following the Civil War. Grand homes of this style helped outwardly mark the turn in their fortunes.
The Rock Hill Record reported on March 18, 1909 – “Mr. A.E. Willis of Lynchburg, Va., has purchased the Dr. W.G. Stevens home in Rock Hill and also the S.M. Jones plantation “known as the Frank Brown Place” of over 1,000 acres west of the City. The Stevens residence is one of the handsomest in Rock Hill. Willis expects to move his family here soon. He is originally from Barnwell County and is the brother of Col. M.C. Willis of the Yorkville Buggy Company.”
The SC Architects: 1885 – 1935, Wells and Dalton, 1992 – Reported “that the W.G. Stevens residence was designed by architect, James M. McMichael and completed in 1906 at a cost of $10,000.”
The Herald reported on Sept. 13, 1902 – “That Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Wilson, Jr. have removed to the home of Dr. W.G. Stevens and will reside here in the future.”
The RH Record reported on Nov. 11, 1907 – That the Rock Hill Private Hospital has changed hands. “The physicians of Rock Hill met last week and decided to buy the private hospital, which has for some time been owned by Dr. Fennell and Dr. Stevens. The purchase price is $6,000. and the deal has been consummated. The doctors will meet tonight to organized the RH Hospital Association, and hope to organize a board composed of both men and women. There is a strong feeling the Rock Hill needs a larger and more substantial building for its hospital. ”
The Rock Hill Record reported on March 25, 1909 – “Dr. and Mrs. W.G. Stevens will relinquish their house to Mr. Willis and will board at the Carolina Hotel until they building another home.”
This is the approximate location of the 2015 business – Legal Remedy.
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data or pictures. Or click HOME to be returned to the Oakland Avenue Tour, or click HOME to return to the numbered site tour of Rock Hill’s downtown.
Note: A.E. Willis owned extensive properties around York County, including a large farm south of Rock Hill along Taylor’s Creek, adjacent the RH Country Club….
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