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The Sorrel-Weed House has a past filled with excitement and intrigue. Designed by Charles Clusky in 1835, it was finally completed in 1840. It was the first house built at Madison Square and was the family home of Francis Sorrel and General Gilbert Mosley Sorrel, who was the youngest General in the Confederate States.
Situated on Madison Square, the Green-Meldrim House was built in 1850 for cotton merchant Charles Green. In 1892 the home was purchased by Judge Peter Meldrim whose heirs later sold it to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The home’s amazing past includes a brief residency by General Sherman after he occupied the city in 1864.
Upon first glance, many might mistake Temple Mickve Israel for a church. Its striking Gothic architecture includes slightly pointed windows, pinnacles and stained glass windows. Built in 1876, Temple Mickve Israel is home to the third oldest Jewish temple in the US and makes for one of the finest Savannah attractions.
For those who enjoy history and exquisite architecture, the Mercer-Williams House is a must see. After a century of prominent residents, the house was purchased by famed Savannah preservationist Jim Williams. Williams spend two years restoring the Mercer House and today guests can take tours to experience its sophisticated charm. Furniture and art from William’s private collection are on display including 18th and 19th century portraits, drawings and a collection of Chinese porcelain. Marble engraved mantles and hand-carved Italian pieces are also part of the museum.
Since family members of Williams still use the home from time to time, only the first floor and the grounds of the home are open to the public. Also, the movie Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil was filmed in the Mercer House.
For a true taste of Savannah, stop in at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House. Set in an old brick building that dates back to 1870, this is one of Savannah’s legendary spots. Mrs. Wilkes passed away in 2003, and although she had not taken in any boarders in around 40 years, her hometown cooking and hospitality continues on. The famous dining room is so popular that although the sign is not visible from the road, hungry tourists and locals alike begin lining up before the restaurant even opens every morning. Serving up family-style meals at large tables, Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House delights guests with traditional down home fried chicken, gumbos, creamed corn, Savannah red rice, biscuits and more. Come hungry and ready to dine alongside of folks you may not know, because at Mrs. Wilkes, everyone is family and is seated together at large 10-top tables.
St. John’s Episcopal Church stands in the historic Madison Square, welcoming worshipers to various services throughout the week. It was founded in 1840 to help increase the Episcopal presence in Georgia and to provide a first bishop of the diocese. Stephen Elliot Junior was consecrated as Bishop of Georgia in February 1841 and St. John’s first building soon followed. When the large congregation began to outgrow the original building, the current building was established just across from the historic Green-Meldrim House, which is now the church’s parish house.
The dramatic Gothic design with dark wood and rich colors mesh together to create a peaceful atmosphere while the melodic St. John’s bells add a gentle harmony to the surrounding neighborhood. Guests to the church are often moved by its quiet beauty and enjoy learning about its long presence in the Savannah community.