Green-Meldrim House Museum
14 West Macon Street
West side of Madison Square
Civil War Headquarters of General William T. Sherman
National Historic Landmark
The Green-Meldrim House is one of the South’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. This Savannah treasure features a beautiful cast iron portico at the entrance and a covered porch on three sides of the house surrounded by ornate ironwork. The most expensive 19th century house in Savannah, its unique crenellated parapet and “oriel” windows add to the gothic flavor. Numerous original adornments remain in the interior of the home, including American black walnut woodwork on the main floor, elaborate crown moldings, marble mantles, matching chandeliers and large mirrors in gold leaf frames brought from Austria. The Green-Meldrim House features an elegant curved stairway with a skylight above and oriel windows on the east side of the house which bring in light from three sides.
Constructed as a residence for Mr. Charles Green, who came to Savannah from England in 1833, the home was designed by a New York architect, Mr. John S. Norris, who was also responsible for designing the Custom House and several other fine homes. Mr. Green had arrived in Georgia with little means, but made his fortunate as a cotton merchant and ship owner in Savannah and amassed enough money by the early 1850s to build his Gothic villa, which is considered one of the most elaborate homes in Savannah.
On Dec. 21, 1864, Federal troops marched unopposed into the City of Savannah. A prison camp was set up on Bay Street and temporary quarters were erected in the squares. The following day, Charles Green, a wealthy English cotton merchant, hoping to buy Sherman’s good will and keep his inventory of cotton safe from confiscation, offered his mansion on Madison Square for military headquarters
While waiting there, an English gentlemen, Mr. Charles Green, came and said that he had a fine house completely furnished, for which he had no use, and offered it as headquarters. He explained, moreover, that General Howard had informed him, the day before, that I would want his house for headquarters. At first I strong disinclined to make use of any private dwelling, lest complaints should arise of damage and loss of furniture, and so expressed myself to Mr. Green; but, after riding about the city, and finding his house so spacious, so convenient, with large yard and stabling. I accepted his offer, and occupied that house during our stay in Savannah. He only reserved for himself the use of a couple of rooms above the dining-room, and we had all else, and a most excellent house it was in all respects.
General William T. Sherman, Sherman’s Memoirs, pp 494-495
Shortly after his arrival at Green’s home on the 22nd of December, Sherman sat down and penned his famous telegram to President Lincoln:
I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.
The home remained in the possession of Charles Green until his death in 1881. His son, Edward Moon Green inherited the home and lived there for a number of years before selling it in 1892 to Judge Peter Meldrim, a former Savannah mayor and past president of the American Bar Association. The Green-Meldrim House was later sold to St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1943, and the former kitchens, servant’s quarters and stable now serve as the rectory for the church
Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976, the must-see Green-Meldrim House is open for tours.
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