Owen-Thomas House in 2011
|Location||124 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia|
|Architectural style||Early Republic, Other|
|NRHP Reference #||76000611|
|Added to NRHP||May 11, 1976|
|Designated NHL||May 11, 1976|
Architectural Style & House History
This most important and architecturally significant house was begun in 1816 and completed in 1819. Designed by the English architect William Jay of Bath; the house plans were drawn while Jay was still in England; sending architectural elevations to local formans before his arrival in Savannah sometime after foundations were laid. According to Jay's letters, the house was to be aesthetically compatible to Bath, England; in Savannah, Georgia. This is evident in the Bath stone of the house's construction as well as its sophisticated architectural detail; a gentrifying physical ornament to the newly successful Southern port. The Richardson House, as it was originally known after its first owner and builder, is North America's preeminent example of period English Regency architecture. The mansion was purchased in 1830 by local attorney and politician George Welshman Owens for $10,000. The family maintained it for several decades, until Owens' granddaughter, Margaret Thomas, bequeathed the house to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, est. 1885 as the South's oldest art museum, in 1951. The house is notable, for its early cast iron side veranda with elaborate acanthus scroll supports, on which, the Marquis de Lafayette addressed the citizens of Savannah on his visit in 1825. William Jay was architect to other Savannah landmarks such as the Scarborough house, the Telfair House as mentioned above, and an attribution to the Gordon-Low House. Savannah boasted other Jay designed Regency villas until the late 1950s, when Savannah suffered greatly at the hands of government sponsored project; Urban Renewal.
The Owens-Thomas House collection contains furnishings and decorative arts from the English Regency period; containing effects of the Owens family, most pieces dating from the years 1790 to 1840. Collections include English Georgian and American Federal period furniture, early Savannah textiles, silver, Chinese Export porcelain, and 18th- and 19th-century art. The house-servant's quarters feature slave artifacts of the period. Courtyard features a small parterre garden.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Owens-Thomas House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- "Owens-Thomas House, Telfair Museum of Art Website".
- Carolyn Pitts (January 29, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Owens-Thomas House / Richardson-Owens-Thomas House" (pdf). National Park Service. and PDF (2.15 MB)
- http://www.telfair.org/buildings/ot_house_collec.asp Collection
- Owens-Thomas House - Telfair Museum of Art
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. GA-14-9, "Richardson-Maxwell-Owen-Thomas House, 124 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Chatham County, GA", 20 photos, 9 measured drawings, 3 data pages, supplemental material