Owens–Thomas House

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Owens–Thomas House
GA Savannah Owens-Thomas House01.jpg
Owen–Thomas House in 2011
Location 124 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia
Coordinates 32°04′39″N 81°05′22″W / 32.07738°N 81.08940°W / 32.07738; -81.08940Coordinates: 32°04′39″N 81°05′22″W / 32.07738°N 81.08940°W / 32.07738; -81.08940
Built 1816
Architect William Jay
Architectural style Early Republic, Other
Part of Savannah Historic District (Savannah, Georgia) (#66000277)
NRHP reference # 76000611
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 11, 1976[1]
Designated NHL May 11, 1976[2]

The Owens–Thomas House is a historic home in Savannah, Georgia that is operated as a historic house museum by Telfair Museums. It is located at 124 Abercorn Street, on the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square.[3] The Owens–Thomas House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, as one of the nation's finest examples of English Regency architecture.[2][4]

Architectural style and house history[edit]

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. He sent architectural elevations to local workers 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. This is evident in the Bath stone of the house's construction as well as its sophisticated architectural detail. It was 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 (established in 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.

Apart from the main house there is a carriage house, which also functioned as slave quarters. The ceiling of the slave quarters is painted haint blue, which was customarily used in Gullah culture to deter ghosts or other malevolent spirits.[5]


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.[6] 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. The courtyard features a small parterre garden.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Owens–Thomas House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  3. ^ "Owens–Thomas House, Telfair Museum of Art Website". 
  4. ^ Carolyn Pitts (January 29, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Owens–Thomas House / Richardson–Owens–Thomas House" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 4 photos, exterior, from 1973 and undated. (2.15 MB)
  5. ^ Telfair Museum of Art (January 1, 2005). Telfair Museum of Art: Collection Highlights. University of Georgia Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-933075-04-7. 
  6. ^ http://www.telfair.org/buildings/ot_house_collec.asp Collection

External links[edit]