The Owens-Thomas House is considered one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America.
National Historic Register
Completed in 1819, and occupying a full block, the home features a columned entrance portico, handsome cast iron balcony, winding double stairway, and arched second story windows. The interior boasts a magnificent stairway of mahogany, cast iron and brass and elegant furnishings. The foundation of the home and garden walls are built of tabby, a regional material made of sand, shells and lime.
Also known as the Richardson-Owens-Thomas House, the home was designed by English architect, William Jay, and originally built for Richard Richardson, a Bermuda-born banker and cotton merchant. Richardson’s brother-in-law was married to the architect’s sister, Ann Jay. Richardson suffered financial setbacks a short while after the home was completed and lost it to the Bank of the United States three years later. Colorful Savannah character, Mary Maxwell, operated an elegant lodging house here for 8 years. One of her more famous guests was Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette who visited Savannah in 1825. It is said that he reviewed Savannah’s militia from the south balcony of the house and addressed the thousands of cheering citizens who gathered below.
Congressman, Lawyer and one-time Savannah Mayor George Welshman Owens purchased the home in 1830 for $10,000. The Owens-Thomas house remained in the Owens family until 1951 when Owens granddaughter, Margaret Thomas, bequeathed it to Savannah’s art museum, the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. This architectural treasure is a National Historic Landmark.
Museum tours begin at the Carriage House, one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South. Gift shop.
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