330 Abercorn Street
The magnificent Hamilton-Turner Inn, also known as the "Grand Victorian Lady," was built in 1873 by J.D. Hall for Samuel Pugh Hamilton, a jeweler and later mayor of Savannah. Influenced by the Second Empire style, the building is a standard central-hall on a large scale with Italianate characteristics. It is notable for its mansard roof, tall windows with heavy hood molds, and elegant cast iron balconies. The mansion and carriage house were built of stucco covered Savannah gray brick.
The Hamilton’s spared no expense in the construction of their new home. Equipped with talking pipes for conversation through the four floors, a dumb waiter, skylights and a tin roof, which protected the mansion from destruction during the first of 1891, the house was years ahead of its time. An indoor bath and privy was installed 3 years later, and in 1883, only 4 years after Edison invented the light bulb, Hamilton, then president of the Bush Electric and Power company, added electricity to the parlor. According to local legend, Savannah citizens gathered in Lafayette Square to watch the lights come on in the evening.
Hamilton, a former naval officer, society leader, politician and businessman, was known as “The Lord of Lafayette Square.” As a member of Savannah’s elite society, known as the Savannah Four Hundred, Hamilton played host to many formal dinners, cotillions, costume parties and visiting dignitaries.
The home was later owned and occupied by Doctor Francis Turner, an osteopath who was an owner of Savannah’s first electric cars. Of more recent note, Nancy Hillis, better known as “Mandy,” in John Berendt’s novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and her husband purchased the home, then in use as an apartment building, in 1991. Although Nancy and her husband divorced a short time later, she continued to live in the house until she sold it in 1997. But even after the sale, Nancy lived in the baseman and managed the inn for a number of years. The present owners are members of the Historic Savannah Foundation and credited with saving the Hamilton mansion from destruction.
Described as “The New Gem on Lafayette Square” by Southern Living Magazine, the Hamilton-Turner Inn has earned a reputation as one of the best historic inns in Savannah. Food Network Channel’s Rachel Ray declared the inn a “glorious house with glorious food.” It is no wonder the Hamilton-Turner Inn is a popular destination for weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways.
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