St. Vincent's Annual Historic Tour of Homes & Tea

2014 Tour Sites

This 1895 brick townhouse, located in Forsyth Ward, was built for Frances O. Hunter. It is one of two common walled townhouses in the 100 Block of West Huntingdon. This three bedroom home still maintains many of the original features: pocket door, bullseye molding, heart pine flooring, four fireplaces, original windows (some with original glass), 12 foot ceilings and a marvelous hidden courtyard. The majority of the home was built with Savannah Grey bricks, which you will see on the back and sides of the home. It was traditional, if you could afford imported bricks, to put the better (imported) bricks on the front of the home and the more common brick (Savannah Grey) down the sides and across the back, so the front is “faced” with the imported brick. It is interesting to note Savannah Greys were a common inexpensive brick in 1895 and now are quite valuable. Slaves on Hermitage Plantation made these bricks from grey mud in the Savannah River. No one seems to be able to replicate these bricks today.

This 1847 Greek Revival home, known as the Eliza Jewett house, was once owned by Joe Odom, a personality from the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He was known to host extravagant all-night parties in this home. Renovations included alterations of the door and window openings and removal of non-historic stucco from the 1960s. Eliza Jewett was a prosperous real estate developer in the mid 19th century, which makes it fitting that a prominent female real estate broker now occupies this house. This luxuriously appointed townhouse features six bedrooms and seven and one half baths with a personal elevator to access all floors and an attached two-car garage.

This outstanding home, part of McDonough Row, c. 1880, is a fine example of the combination of “art and science.” State of the art energy conservation techniques and systems combined with old and new world décor create a stunning home that is ideal for living and entertaining. Tall ceilings, imported marbles, and original heart of pine floors throughout lend well to this Savannah gem. Each floor is a perfect blend of textures, silks, wood, and stone. Many original features remain throughout. Don’t forget to enjoy the lush landscapes and wonderful deck overlooking Troup Square.

This French Gothic Cathedral on Lafayette Square is the oldest Roman Catholic Congregation in Georgia and is the seat of the Diocese of Savannah. However, the Cathedral is not the oldest Catholic building. There were other Catholic churches that fell to the wrecking ball before the Cathedral was built. The original building on this site was dedicated in 1876.

The beautiful edifice you see today was built within the framework of the original walls of the Cathedral after a fire in 1898 nearly destroyed it. The new building was dedicated in 1900. The two spires and the exquisite interior murals by Christopher Murphy were completed and installed in 1912.

The Cathedral has undergone much redecoration, renovation and restoration throughout its history. The largest restoration in recent years was completed in 2000 and took two years. It was finished just in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1900 rededication of the Cathedral. There will be guided tours and recitals at 11am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Guests may go to the organ loft, which is normally off limits, for a five minute presentation and a question and answer session to follow each recital.

St. Vincent’s Convent was designed by the noted architect Charles Cluskey and built in 1845 on land that was once farmland. Tour participants will see the Convent’s private chapel, parlor, grotto area, and halls which feature beautiful stained glass, sacred statuary, and paintings. Enjoy a guided tour of the Convent from Sisters of Mercy in Savannah as well as several “nuns” (Academy students) wearing the three major traditional habits of the Sisters of Mercy spanning the years from the 1840s through the 1970s.

The collection of memorabilia displayed in Heritage Hall documents Savannah’s history against the backdrop of an all-girls education at the world’s oldest Mercy high school in continuous existence.

This new home was completed in 2014. Although this site was a vacant lot for a number of years, at one time there was a multiple family home similar to the structures on either side of the current home. That building was constructed circa 1907 and was probably torn down sometime after the 1970s. Although its main use was as an apartment The square itself was named after native Savannahian William Harris Crawford, who was Secretary of the Treasury and ran unsuccessfully for President in 1824. Although Crawford is the smallest of the squares, it anchors the largest ward, as Crawford Ward includes the territory of Colonial Park Cemetery. During the era of Jim Crow, this was the only square in which African-Americans were permitted. Crawford is the only one of Savannah’s squares with recreational equipment: a basketball court, won after a 1946 Savannah-wide basketball competition. Although all squares were once fenced, it is the only one that remains so. Crawford Square has also retained its cistern, a holdover from early fire-fighting practices. After a major fire in 1820, firemen maintained duty stations in the squares, each of which was equipped with a storage cistern. One of Crawford Square’s claims to fame is an apartment that sits directly across from the square was home to Lady Chablis, made famous in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Built in 1854, this row house is constructed of Savannah Grey bricks produced by slaves on Hermitage Plantation to the west of the city. At one point in the 1960s, this home was worth more for the salvage of its bricks than as a whole building. This home is one of a row of townhouses known as Marshall Row. It was named for Mary Marshall, a woman of considerable influence and possibly the only female builder and architect of the period. Marshall Row was one of the first group of houses rescued from demolition by the Historic Savannah Foundation in the 1960s, the very early days of the preservation and restoration movement. This magnificent home, with eight fireplaces and original heart pine floors on three levels, was renovated again in 1999. The present owners are thrilled with this architectural gem.

This building originally housed four automobile dealerships, but when the businesses failed during the Depression, the space was bought by and converted into the Derst Baking Company. The most recent conversion of the building was in 2001 when it became upscale condominiums.

The owners designed the interior of this 4,000 square foot loft to suit their lifestyle. The main living area is situated on the second floor, like most downtown homes. The guest area and 1,200 bottle wine cellar (profiled in the ’07 issue of The South magazine) occupy the ground floor. The home features a lovely rooftop deck overlooking the city’s Historic District. The spiral staircase, which leads to the deck, was hoisted by crane and installed in the brick elevator shaft that was used in another era. The owners’ extensive art collection is showcased throughout the space with natural and specially designed lighting.

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