The Owens Thomas House is probably the most popular house in Savannah when it comes to taking a house tour. Many people who come to the Historic District are interested in touring some of our older homes. I always advise people that the Owens Thomas House should surely be on their list of homes to tour while in Savannah.
The History of the Owens Thomas House
This majestic home, sitting on Oglethorpe Square was built starting in 1816. The house was completed in 1819. The man behind the construction of the house was Richard Richardson. Richardson was a wealthy cotton merchant and banker. He hired an architect named William jay to design and build the house for him. This is one of a few houses in Savannah which were designed by William Jay. He was one of the first practicing architects in America. His designs are quite impressive. Richardson and his wife Francis Bolton lived in the house for a few years before Richardson was forced to sell his beloved home because of a financial setback.
One of the most famous house guests in the Owens Thomas House was Marquis de Lafayette. He was visiting Savannah in 1825 and stayed at the Owens Thomas House. St the time it was considered one of the finest residents in all of the city. It was certainly fitting for the Revolutionary War hero, de Lafayette. It is said that the townspeople wanted to hear Marquis de Lafayette give a speech. Apparently, he went to one of the balconies on the south side of the house and addressed the crowd from there.
In 1830 the Owens Thomas House was purchased by the Mayor of Savannah, George Welshman Owens. It was quite the real estate bargain as he only paid $10,000 for the house. Of course that was a lot of money back in 1830, but still, an incredible house for the sum of money. in 1851 Owens granddaughter, Margaret Thomas turned the house over to the Telfair Museum of Art.
The Slave Quarters
Behind the main house of the Owens Thomas House, to the east, sits the Slave Quarters. The Slave Quarters are thought to be one of the earliest Salve Quarters still around today. In this structure is where the house slaves would have spent their time when not assisting the family. Slaves who lived in an urban environment certainly had it better than slaves who were considered field slaves. If you are coming to the Owens Thomas House for a tour you will want to head to the Slave Quarters. All tours start here.
Tours at the Owens Thomas House
Taking a guided tour is a great way to experience the Owens Thomas House. You will be led by a knowledgeable guide as you see the different areas on the property. Throughout the house, you will find many antiques dating back to the 1700s. Most of what you see in the house would have been the types of things which would have been in the house in the early 1800s.
The tours at the Owens Thomas House start at different times depending on the day. The hours are listed above and to the right. For more information on the tours, or for group tour reservations please call them at 912-790-8800.