Museum backers move Bob Wills house to Prather (video)

The Fresno BeeJanuary 22, 2014 

The former home of Fresno music legend Bob Wills was on the move Wednesday.

Wills lived in Fresno from 1945 to 1948 on the 80-acre Triple B Ranch at what is now Clinton and Armstrong avenues. From there his band, the Texas Playboys did a regular radio show on KMJ while traveling to gigs up and down the Central Valley playing western-swing -- the rock 'n' roll of the era. The Playboys' song "San Antonio Rose" sold 1 million records in 1940.

The ranch was mostly a footnote until last year, when the last remaining structure -- a one-story wood-framed house where Wills' family once lived -- was scheduled to be demolished by Granville Homes. The local development company owns the property and has plans for the area.

The home was saved in a $1 deal that gave ownership to the Central California Music Association, which plans to make it the centerpiece of a Bob Wills Ranch House Museum in Prather.

The CCMA raised money to pay to move the house, which was done Wednesday by Dinuba House Movers.

The museum project is estimated to cost around $90,000. The house will get a new roof and foundation and wood siding milled to exactly match the original look. Olive trees from the original site will be replanted at the new site, and the whole thing will be filled with museum displays.

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