Historic downtown Bolivar is actually three separate, distinct areas: the Bills-McNeal Historic District, the Court Square district, and the North Main Street district. Added to the National Historic Register in 1980, these three areas combine to provide enthusiasts of historic structures a visual treat they won’t soon forget.
John H. Bills was one of the founders of Bolivar, in Hardeman County, and a leader of the Tennessee Democratic Party in the nineteenth century. He came to the West Tennessee area in 1818 with members of the family of James K. Polk. In 1823 Bills married Prudence Polk McNeal, a cousin of the future president. Bills also began a cotton factoring company with her brother, Ezekial McNeal, which they called Bills and McNeal, and acquired two plantations, one near Bolivar.
Bolivar’s Bills-McNeal Place is an 1856 Tuscan-style villa noted for its exquisite Spanish ironwork and considered to be one of the premier showplaces of Tennessee.
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