Historic Markers Across Georgia

Willie McTell Trail

Marker ID:  
Location: stands between the Willie McTell Trail and Railroad St, Statesboro, GA
County: Bulloch
Coordinates: N 32° 26.897    W 081° 46.823
  32.44828333    -81.78038333
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None
Willie McTell Trail Marker
Photo by David Seibert


Willie McTell Trail

This trail commemorates Blind Willie McTell, 1903-1959. The great Georgia songster spent part of his boyhoo0d in Statesboro and told the US Library of Congress in 1940: “Statesboro is my real home.” William Samuel McTell, blind from birth, became the most important Georgia bluesman on record. An outstanding 12-string guitarist, fluid tenor and gifted songwriter, he recorded over 120 songs, mostly for major companies including Victor, Columbia, Decca and Atlantic Records. He became one of the state’s most widely beloved figures. More than a blues musician, he performed vaudeville, rags, pop, spirituals and gospel music. He learned some songs from his mother who lived and worked here and lies buried in Statesboro. As an adult, McTell returned to Statesboro often and entertained crowds at tobacco warehouses and the Jaeckel Hotel. After his death his “Statesboro Blues,” recorded in 1928, became a classic. This one mile trail parallels part of the Savannah & Statesboro Railway line. It is believed that Willie and his mother once lived in a home southwest of the corner of the tracks and East Cherry Street. It may be that this trail not only honors the artist, but retraces the footsteps of the boy and man.

Willie McTell Trail
Photo by David Seibert