Savannah’s vast collection of over 1600 architecturally significant historic homes is astounding. They are the finest examples of Federal, Georgian, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Colonial and Victorian architecture found anywhere in America. The 10 best historic Savannah homes and museums highlighted below are representative of different styles, each offering a unique perspective of life in Savannah from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.
Three of the best are in the Partners in Preservation package.
1. An architectural masterpiece, the Isaiah Davenport House is a Savannah treasure. The early Federal-style house, built in 1820 by Davenport himself, has a soaring elliptical staircase, ornate plaster and wood work, and furnishings representing the early years of a fledgling nation.
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2. The stucco and brick Andrew Low House was built in 1848, in the Italianate Villa style for Andrew Low, wealthy cotton merchant from Scotland. The interior is a glimpse into the elegant lifestyle of affluent Savannah when “cotton was king.”
3. The Scarborough House is the oldest example of Greek Revival architecture in the South. Built in 1818, it’s the setting for Ships of the Sea Museum whose exhibits tell the story of Savannah’s maritime history, trade and travel in the 18th and 19th centuries. Exhibits on three floors are separated into time periods from revolutionary war era to WWII. Detailed ship models, from sailing vessels to tankers, nautical paintings and maritime artifacts are engaging.
4. The 1842 Greek Revival Harper Fowlkes House has a distinctive mansard roof and an elegant central hall. The antiques and art inside are a step back to another era. The stories of the original family and last resident are fascinating. Notably, Southern Gothic writer, Flannery O’Connor, lived there as a child.
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5. An 1819 antebellum gem, the Owens-Thomas House is a fine example of elegant English Regency style. Inside the home, and in the gardens and slave quarters, visitors realize the social dynamics in the early 19th century, a time when the wealth of the owners grew as did the number of slaves they owned.
6. Beautifully restored, the 1896 Victorian gingerbread King-Tisdell Cottage tells the story of black Savannah from slavery to freedom. The first floor focuses on Eugene and Sarah King, the first black owners in 1920s Savannah, and the second owner, Robert Tisdell. The museum also explores the fascinating history of the Gullah-Geechee Culture of the Sea Island coastal areas.
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7. The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a Girl Scout touchstone. Although born in 1860 in the home bearing her name, the founder of the Girl Scouts actually lived in her brother-in-law’s home, the Andrew Low house.
8. Elaborate mid-1800s Green-Merdrim house is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the South. The ornate cast ironwork is spectacular. It’s legacy – it became the headquarters of General William. T. Sherman during the Civil War.
9. Built in 1893, the William Kehoe House it is currently a B&B, and is not open for public tours. Considered to be one of the most impressive homes in Savannah, the ornate Queen Anne brick house is a great photo op.
10. To learn more about Savannah’s architecture, visit Massie Heritage Center. The historic 1856 Greek Revival home was dedicated to the education of the children of freedmen. Today, as a resource center for living history, it has a replica of a 19th century classroom, an architectural room highlighting the different styles and periods of buildings in Savannah, and a restoration room focusing on preservation work.
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