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Pirates' House northern façade, which faces onto Trustees Garden
|Location||Savannah, Georgia, United States|
|Address||20 East Broad Street|
|Owner||The Savannah Gas Company|
Pirates' House is a historic restaurant and tavern established in 1753 located in downtown Savannah, Georgia, United States. A portion of the structure was built in 1734, making it the oldest standing building in the state of Georgia. The modern restaurant was founded by Herb Traub and Jim Casey in 1953, and is one of Savannah's most popular tourist attractions.
Pirates' House was built on a plot of land located on the east side of James Oglethorpe's original plan of the city of Savannah. The plot of land was assigned to become a botanical garden that modeled the Chelsea Botanical Garden in London, England. The garden was dedicated to Oglethorpe's trustees. Oglethorpe recruited botanists from around the world to acquire plants for the project, such as cotton, spices, indigo, and medicinal herbs. The garden was hoped to bring success in the wine and silk industries and was centered on growing mulberry trees. The soil and weather conditions of Georgia were not compatible with the mulberry trees and it was not successful with wine or silk; however, it did distribute peach trees, which Georgia is now renowned for. The garden was also highly successful in growing cotton, which later became a staple of Georgia's economy.
A small building, which later became the starting structure of Pirates' House, was built on the plot of land in 1734 to house the gardener who worked there. This building was deemed the Herb House and is said to be the oldest building in the state of Georgia.
In 1754, the people of Savannah decided the need for the botanical garden was no longer relevant. Savannah was quickly becoming a port town and the Herb House was transformed into an inn and tavern for seamen visiting from abroad.
Renovation and ownership
In 1948, Pirates' House and the surrounding land was acquired by The Savannah Gas Company. The building soon caught the interest of Mrs. Hansell Hilyer, wife of the president of the company. She renewed the house museum into the restaurant of the present day. Pirates' House has fifteen dining rooms, can hold up to 120 guests, and serves a variety of southern dishes.
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