Sonny Boy Williamson’s Boarding House Site

What to know

Now a vacant lot, this was the site of a boarding house where Williamson lived at the time of his death on May 25,1965. Sonny Payne says Williamson told Payne that he had come home from a European tour to die. For many years after his death, Williamson’s room was closed off and his original furniture and items were still there. This building, which was torn down in 1989 after it was damaged by lightning, was a shrine to many blues fans, says Morris Gist, the former owner of the building. “There are people who come here from Germany, Japan, Italy, all over the world, and they go down there and just stand on the vacant lot,” Gist says. (Driving tour only).
427 1/2 Elm Street
Helena-West Helena, AR 72342