"Savannah's Architecture" Top 5 Page for this destination Savannah Favorite Tip by deecat

Savannah Favorites: 68 reviews and 111 photos

  Owen-Thomas House in Savannah
by deecat

Favorite thing: As I said in the introduction, Savannah is a joy for an architectural buff because much of the visual charm of the city's historic district is a result of the impressive 18th and 19th century styles of architecture which have been restored and preserved in cottages, churches, mansions, and public buildings.

I'll just give you a few examples of the different styles I saw and recognized.

The best example of the earliest Georgian period is the Davenport House (1790).
It is located on the northwest corner of the Columbia Square. It is a Federal-style brick building with wrought iron touches. This beautiful home was almost destroyed in 1955 because, at that time, the home was derelict. Most people feel that this near incident was the catalyst for Savannah's historic preservation movement. (Located at 324 East State Street, 912-236-8097.)

In the early 1800s, Savannah was a prosperous city, and this coincides with the Regency Period that adds grand flourishes to the Georgian sensibilities such as oval rooms, high ceilings, intricately carved moldings, and great marble fireplaces. The Owens-Thomas House is a grand example. The Owens-Thomas House is located on Oglethorpe Square at Abercorn Street. The National Trust for Historic Preservation calls this home, "Savannah's most sophisticated house, then and now."
Today It's operated as a museum by the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. (124Abercorn Street, 912-233-9743)

Fondest memory: The next period of architecture was called Greek Revival and includes large colonnaded entrances and grand staircases associated with Southern plantation architecture. Many public buildings conform to this style.

The Victorian Era revived row houses of a different sort, constructed with brick but without the delicate ornamentation of the Georgian period. Also, many wooden-frame houses with "gingerbread" accents fit this style. The 1886 Cotton Exchange remains as an example of this time period.

Different ethnic groups who settled in the city also added to the interesting architecture. For instance, Wrought-iron balcony rails were brought to the city by the French who came to Savannah after fleeing slave rebellions in Haiti. The side-of-the-house gallery entrances came from Barbados, and peaked roofs came from the German Jews and Salzburg Protestants who were among the original settlers.

The Massie Heritage Interpretation Center has exhibits concerning the city's architecture. (207 E. Gordon St, 912-651-7380)

OK, Architectural Buffs, come visit Savannah!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 17, 2007
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