The Holliday Dorsey Fife House was completed in 1855 by Dr. John Stiles Holliday, a physician of Fayetteville. Dr. Holliday was a trustee of the local Fayetteville Academy and allowed students and faculty to board in the house while attending the famous school. One of those boarders was Annie Fitzgerald, grandmother of Margaret Mitchell. The Holliday family lived here until after the War Between the States, at which time Dr. Holliday sold the house to his in-laws, the Ware family.
For the next three years the house was occupied by Mrs. Mildred Ware and Col. W. A. Fuller and his family. In 1871, the house was sold to Solomon Dawson Dorsey. Dorsey was the 2nd mayor of Fayetteville and served on the city council for many years. The Dorsey’s lived in the house from 1871 until the turn of the century. During that time, a future governor was born in the family, Hugh Manson Dorsey.
After the death of Mr. S. D. Dorsey in 1901, the house was sold to Mr. Robert E. Lee Fife. Fife was a business man who owned three stores on the square. He was also a leader of the Methodist Church. The Fife family occupied the house for over 60 years. Mrs. Margaret Mitchell visited the Fifes and the Fife house in 1937, just after having sold the movie rights to Gone with the Wind to Hollywood. Mr. Cecil Fife, a bachelor son of Mr. REL Fife, was the last occupant of the house, moving out in 1968.
The house was sold shortly after to Fayette County businessmen, who renovated the structure and rented out the rooms to different businesses like the Fayette County Humane Society and an answering service.
During much of the 1990s, the house sat vacant and in need of repairs. A group of ladies calling themselves the Holliday House Association were given permission to hold events in the house and begin the arduous task of restoration. These individuals laid the groundwork for the historic preservation of the house. In 1999, the Fayetteville Downtown Development Authority purchased the house and property with the pledge to restore it and provide a place for a local history museum.
The museum opened in 2003.