Photo courtesy of D&S McSpadden
The Owens-Thomas House is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is on the prestigious list of U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Savannah has an impressive seven points of interest on the National Historic Landmark list; with over 100 tourist attractions, any that attain this special designation deserves a visit.
Approaching its two hundredth anniversary, The Owens-Thomas House was a modern masterpiece in its day and was the first home in the United States to have running water when it was completed in 1819. What we take for granted today was a rare luxury in this Savannah mansion in the early 19th century. Yes, it even had indoor running water before The White House in Washington D.C.
The architect who designed The Owens-Thomas House was William Jay. Born in England, he spent three years in Savannah and was celebrated as the city's finest architect. With his apprenticeship completed in England, he was also considered one of the most well-trained architects practicing his trade anywhere in the United States. In a fascinating detail for the time period, Jay designed English Regency home before his arrival and construction was already underway when he landed in Savannah.
Jay also designed the Alexander Telfair House, which today is known as Telfair Academy. Both The Owens-Thomas House & Telfair Academy are operated by Telfair Museums along with their new modern-art focused Jepson Center.
The home's name celebrates the family history of its owners. Purchased for $10,000 by Savannah Mayor George Owens in 1830, it remained in his family for 131 years until his granddaughter, Margaret Thomas, bequeathed it to Telfair Academy.
The Owens-Thomas House faces Oglethorpe Square, which is a perfect location to snap a photo of the front of the home (photos are not allowed inside).
Tours of The Owens-Thomas House begin in the former slave quarters, which also has a gift shop for purchasing souvenirs after your tour is complete. The short walk from the former slave quarters through the beautiful garden will take you back in time as you step through the door of The Owens-Thomas House. The visually pleasing exterior of the home is complimented by the 19th century period furnishing inside. Many of the pieces were passed from generation to generation of the Owens-Thomas family; they help you imagine what life in the 1800s was like in Savannah, Georgia. One of the most notable features inside will be the hallway bridge; the cisterns that made the indoor plumbing possible will also be visible.
Photo courtesy of Boonlong1
Considered one of the finest examples of regency architecture in North America, The Owens-Thomas House should be a top destination for any history fanatic or architecture student. Countless tourists have ranked this as the best historic home in the city.