The Harper Fowlkes House is a beautifully furnished Greek Revival Mansion with a stunning garden and fascinating story. Owned by a prominent family in its first 100 years, it was purchased by a woman before her time, preservationist Alida Harper, who gave it to the Society of the Cincinnati for its GA headquarters, an organization founded by George Washington’s officers.
Filled with period antiques, this is a Must See in Savannah, having been selected as one of the top 25 Historic Homes in America by Traditional Home magazine.
The streets, squares and parks of Savannah are home to a variety of monuments honoring people and events that influenced the history of the city. This brief list provides an introduction to some of the most popular and interesting historic monuments in Savannah.
Located inside the Savannah Visitor Information Center, The Savannah History Museum gives visitors a look into the city’s fascinating past from 1733 to the present day. Take your time as you stroll through a variety of exhibits that chronicle the many events and people that have shaped this grand city.
The U.S. Custom House in Savannah was built in 1852 and is Georgia’s oldest federal building. The site of the building was important from the beginning of Savannah history. A one-story frame house, built in 1733, was located on the site and was rented by James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, on his return visits to Savannah. At the rear of the lot facing Bull Street, stood the Tabernacle and Court House. This building was described as “being one handsome room with a panache on three sides” and served as the colony’s first house of worship. It was on this site that John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, preached his first sermon on American soil. The U.S. Custom House in Savannah is a Greek Revival structure which is rectangular in form with a raised basement and two floors above. The building is a granite bearing wall structure whose exterior surface is smooth, dressed grey granite from Quincy, Massachusetts.
On October 9, 1779, the French, Haitians and American troops battled against the British soldiers who were defending Savannah. The battle ended with Britain still holding on to the city and more than 800 troops from each side either wounded or killed. Many of the dead were buried on the spot with no monuments to mark their graves. Today, Coastal Heritage Society is working to create a moving memorial in tribute to the many soldiers who lost their lives in the battle of Savannah.
In 1817, Factor’s Walk was the original site for the Cotton Exchange. The area got its name because this is where the men, called factors, walked back and forth through several stories of buildings in this center of commercial activity. It was their job to factor how much cotton came in to be sold and to make things more productive; a network of iron and concrete walkways connected the buildings. In those days, and for over a century, Savannah played a big role in the cotton industry and Factors Walk was at the heart of it. The historic area runs east to west above the river with iron steps and bridges linking the old cotton warehouses on the river with the streets on a higher level.
Constructed between 1835 and 1840 by Charles Cluskey, this Savannah historic landmark and museum is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture in the area. The Sorrel-Weed House was constructed for Francis Sorrel, who was a prominent commission merchant to the West Indies. Many well known people have visited the home, including General Robert E. Lee, who was a long standing friend of Francis Sorrel.
The Owens-Thomas House was the first Regency Mansion built by the then young architect William Jay and is considered to be one of the finest examples of that style of architecture in the United States. Completed in 1819, the English house was constructed mostly with local materials and was remarkable because of its curving walls, Greek-inspired ornamental molding, half-moon arches, stained-glass panels, and furniture. Today, people from around the world come to be inspired by the beauty that abounds throughout this historic house.
The Colonial Park Cemetery has been a part of Savannah history for more than two centuries. From 1750 until 1853, most residents who died in the area were buried in this shaded, moss-draped cemetery. Among them are various prominent people including Revolutionary War Soldiers. When visitors walk through they can see some of the oldest gravestones in the Southern United States. And they can experience the history that lives within these grounds.
A glorious Savannah attraction to behold, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is an architectural masterpiece and the seat of the diocese of Savannah. In the French-Gothic style, pointed arches and magnificent details make a breathtaking backdrop to the gorgeous Savannah skyline. It was founded in 1700 by the first French Colonists and although the original early structures were destroyed by fire, the current cathedral dates back to 1874.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the cathedral, enjoying the amazing Twin Spires and picturesque exterior as well as the Italian marble, Austrian stained glass and opulent Persian rugs of the interior. On any day of the year, a stop at the Cathedral of St. John is a fantastic experience.