Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Savannah: Day 3: Part 1: The Owens-Thomas House and Museums

 This is a continuation of a travel series to Savannah, Georgia.  If you'd like to start at the beginning, go HERE.  The rest of the posts in consecutive order are HERE,  HERE,  HERE, HERE and HERE.

On our third day in Savannah we rose bright and early at 5:00 am so we could be out the door by 7:00.  We knew this would be our last full day inside the city so we wanted to see as much as possible.  We spent the first three hours just walking the historic streets admiring more historic homes and visiting more squares, then we headed to the Owens' Thomas House to take part in their first tour of the day.

There are so many historic homes to tour in Savannah that you can't possibly tour them all.  You have to read all the descriptions and decide for yourself which homes you would be more interested in.  We decided on the Mercer-Williams House (already reviewed HERE) because we just saw the movie "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil" and the Owens-Thomas House because it was recommended by the owner of the home we stayed in.

The Owens Thomas House is one of America's finest examples of Regency architecture.  The outside of the home is absolutely stunning with it's terra cotta color, green shutters, and two front staircases.

Admission to the Owens-Thomas House is steep:  $20.00 but you get a lot for your money for it includes admission to two museums, the gardens, slave quarters and it's good for one week if you can't see it all in one day!

This is the courtyard garden connecting the house to the slave quarters.  This view was taken from the back porch of the house looking down on the garden and towards the slave quarters.

 This is the view of the back of the house.  Regency architecture is all about balance:  whatever is on one side must mirror on the other side.  That is why you will see two staircases everywhere in this home.

The home was built in 1819 and purchased by George Welshman Owens in 1830.  He lived in the home with his wife and six children.

I have to admit, we did not like the architecture of this home.  We thought the balance concept was silly.  Quite often the hostess pointed out a door that went nowhere and was just there because there was a door on the other side.  We just looked at that as a waste of wall space and a ridiculous way to confuse your guests.  But we were also disappointed in the overall style of our home.  I said to my husband "I think my own home is more beautiful than this!"  and he agreed.  BUT , we weren't disappointed that we paid $40.00 to see it for admission to the art museums made it worthwhile.

You are allowed to take pictures in this home, but my husband didn't take many because he didn't like it.  They do have pictures on their website if you'd like to see more.

This is the view of the entry foyer standing on the first landing looking down.  Notice two staircases on either side for balance, two columns, and two windows next to the front door?

The most interesting thing about this house is the "bridge".   Another thing my builder husband thought was silly.  But it is definitely unique and I'm sure the children who lived in this house probably enjoyed running across it.

 The bridge connects one landing to another and spans across the staircase.

While in Savannah, you see a lot of sea shell or sea crustaceans inside foundations or pavement.  This is known as "Tabby":  a regional material made of shells, lime, and sand.  Read more about it in the photo below.

 The old slave quarters is where you begin your tour.  In the lower level your tour guide has everyone sit and listen to a brief introduction.  There are also photographs and exhibits of the house's history to read and examine.  The upper level shows the slaves quarters with a diagram of how the original slave quarters looked like.

The slave quarters housed between nine and fourteen slaves throughout it's history.

As I stated earlier, your admission to the Owens-Thomas house also includes admission to two art museums.  One museum, our favorite, housed older art pieces and the other is a modern art museum.  I will cover the older art museum first.

My husband is not an art lover, but I am.  I even took some art courses in collage.  However, if you love history and beauty, you will still appreciate this art husband certainly did.

The Telfair Academy of Arts and Science is housed in a former mansion...another reason to go because you get to see another gorgeous house and some great art at the same time!

The mansion was built in 1818 for a Revolutionary War Patriot and in 1875  it was donated to the Georgia Historical Society to be used as a museum.  It showcases American and European art from the 19th and 20th centuries.

 I can't say this enough, even if you don't like art you must stop and visit this museum because it is gorgeous inside.  This was my favorite room in the mansion.  It is jaw-dropping in person.  It is a large room filled with beautiful, huge paintings on the walls.  In the center is this lovely round settee. I just sat here for 10 or 15 minutes just breathing in the exquisiteness of this amazing room.

The paintings were absolutely stunning.  Every time I look at paintings like this I always marvel at the artist's talent.  How are people able to paint or draw like this?  AMAZING!

The size of this painting blew us away.  Look how big it is!  I stood right next to it to give you some perspective.

I loved this painting.  Isn't it gorgeous?

In addition to artwork, the mansion also contains two period rooms.  This is the dining room.

The staircase when you just walk into the museum.  The upper level houses the paintings I just showed you, and the lower level holds sculptures.

This is the sculpture room.  There are also painting too.

 Looking back at the staircase from the end of this room.

 The other museum you get to see with a ticket to the Owens-Thomas House is the Jepson Center.  This museum houses modern art and the building itself is very modern, and probably the only modern building in historic Savannah.  I do not like modern art but I LOVED this building.  It is so gorgeous!

The light in this building is stunning.  I loved this grand staircase.

Now, I have already admitted that my husband and I do not like modern art.  But I wanted to go into this building to both experience it's amazing architecture and to find "Bird Girl"!  If you remember my post from Savannah, Day 2  I talked all about "Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil".  This sculpture, which was photographed by Jack Leigh in the Bonaventure Cemetery became the cover for the book.  It made such a striking book cover that it became known as "one of the strongest book covers in history".

The statue was so popular with tourists, that it had to be moved to a museum for safety reasons in 1994.

In 2014 the statue was moved from the Telfair Academy to the Jepson Center.  A wonderful exhibit now houses this famous statue!

Replica's of this statue are for sale all over Savannah.  I wanted one so bad!  But to buy one about this size would set you back about $400.00.  Ugh!  Someday!  She sure would look beautiful in my garden, wouldn't she.

Next week, I'll cover some other highlights of this day like Leopold's Ice Cream!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. Amy, Savannah is one of the loveliest cities in America! I have made several trip to the city and never tire of its beauty! Thank you for taking me along this morning! Have a wonderful day!

    1. You are very fortunate to have been able to visit multiple times. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. My husband and I LOVE Savannah. We only got to spend a few hours there, but oh what an impression it made on us!

    Thanks so much for sharing the highlights of your visit there. :-)

    1. Oh Karen, you need to go back and spend a few days there! There is so much to see.

  3. Wow, very cool architecture and photos. The balance concept sounds very...interesting! Ha! A door to nowhere just because the other side had a door? Very confusing for sure!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  4. Enjoyed the tour of the houses, amazing paintings! Shared x 4 ♥

  5. Savannah is on my travel bucket list! It looks like it is chalk full of history and charm!

    1. It was on my bucket list too and now I can cross it off. Yes, definitely a place full of history!

  6. Sounds like you had a full day of sightseeing. I have to admit that the house and slave quarters would really be draining for me. To think of what happened there is absolutely a human injustice and it just would be hard for me to see what people thought was okay.

    1. Oh I know. It's always difficult seeing that stuff. It's hard writing about it.

  7. I'm impressed that you got such an early start!! I always think of vacations as sleeping in, but maybe now that we are retired, that's super smart!!
    We absolutely love taking tours of the places...I feel like you learn so much more than just walking around on your own. How fun that you did all of this, Amy!!
    Of course I can't wait to hear about the ice cream too!!

  8. All these phots are so charming!! You could write a tourist pamphlet on Savannah, you gathered so much goodness out of your trip!


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