Family works to restore Henderson House, invites community to he - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Family works to restore Henderson House, invites community to help

The Henderson House is in Cuthbert, right near Andrew College. (Source: WALB) The Henderson House is in Cuthbert, right near Andrew College. (Source: WALB)
Minnie Williams Lewis and her siblings bought the house in December. (Source: WALB) Minnie Williams Lewis and her siblings bought the house in December. (Source: WALB)
Randy Sumner is a volunteer working on the restoration. (Source: WALB) Randy Sumner is a volunteer working on the restoration. (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) -

A group of folks in Randolph County are working to restore and old gem, the home of jazz legend Fletcher Henderson.

 The popular band leader, composer and pianist's home became a historical landmark in 1982,  but fell into disrepair. 

After leaving his Cuthbert home, he created a name for himself in New York City, touring with blues singer Ethel Waters and making the first known jazz radio broadcast from New Orleans in 1922. 

Now, one family is working to make sure the Henderson name remains in Randolph county. 

As Minnie Williams Lewis walks through the Henderson House, flashbacks flood her brain. 

"The piano sat over there," said Lewis as she pointed to a corner of the front room near the window. 

Minnie is one of six siblings who purchased this landmark in December.

The home was where the roaring 20's music legend Fletcher Henderson Jr. grew up.

His brother Horace was also no stranger to blues music.

While they traveled the states with their music, their sister Irma taught and lived in this home when Lewis was a young girl. 

"After school she would have me and other students coming in to take music lessons," said Lewis. She said many folks living in Cuthbert probably took lessons there too. 

With so many memories in the home, Lewis and her siblings couldn't see it go to waste. 

"We feel honored and we're glad we were able to buy this house and get it restored. We want the community to be involved with this," said Lewis. 

Already involved and having done much of the restoration is Randy Sumner. 

"I'm retired, I like to have something to do and this is very gratifying work," said Sumner. 

Of the six rooms in the house, only one is close to completion.

Sumner works everyday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the house, including many weekends. 

"It's tiresome, very tedious, but it's like uncovering treasure," explained Lewis.

As each day passes, Sumner and the Williams family hope the community will get involved in uncovering the treasure too.

"It's going to take a while, a long time to do this, but we are hoping we can get this done and get it to what we want it to be," said Minnie. 

If you want to get involved, you can contact Lewis (229) 537-9118 or Sumner at (813) 537-9118. 

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