Sorrel Weed House
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|Sorrel Weed House|
|Former names||Francis Sorrel House|
|Design and construction|
The Sorrel Weed House, or the Francis Sorrel House, is a historic landmark and Savannah Museum located in Savannah, Georgia. It represents one of the finest examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture in Savannah and was one of the first two homes in the State of Georgia to be made a State Landmark in 1954. At 16,000 square feet, it is also one of the largest houses in the city. The Sorrel Weed House was first opened to the public in Jan. 1940 by the Society for the Preservation of Savannah Landmarks. It was the Society's first exhibit and was called "The Society for the Preservation of Savannah Landmarks Presents a loan Exhibit of Furniture and Fine Arts 18th and 19th Centuries at the Sorrel Weed House on Madison Square : Jan-April 1940." This Society later became the Historic Savannah Foundation.
The Sorrel- Weed House was the boyhood home of Brigadier General Moxley Sorrel, who fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. He served under General James Longstreet, and after the War wrote "Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer", considered to be one of the top postwar accounts written. General Robert E. Lee visited the home in late 1861 and early 1862. He and Francis Sorrel had been friends since the early 1830's. Lee also visited the Sorrel family in April, 1870, shortly before his death.
The opening scene of the 1994 film Forrest Gump was filmed from the rooftop of the Sorrel-Weed house and is a popular tourist stop. The scene, which begins with a floating feather through the Savannah sky, pans the rooftops of other buildings occupying Madison Square as seen from the very top of the Sorrel Weed home. The scene is then spliced to a scene of another church located on Chippewa square, where ultimately, Forrest is seen sitting on a bench.
The house was investigated by TAPS during a special 2005 Halloween Special episode of Ghost Hunters. The house was also featured on HGTV's "If Walls Could Talk" in March 2006. It was also investigated by the Ghost Adventures crew in 2014. Zak Bagans stated the Sorrel Weed House Museum gave him a "3 alarm hangover". Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Taps told us it was one of the most haunted locations they had ever investigated in 2005. The house was featured on the Travel Channel's " The Most Terrifying Places in America" in 2010, and on the Paula Deen Network in 2015.
The house was designed by Charles Cluskey in 1835, the home was completed in 1838. Cluskey also designed the old governors mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia. The house was built for Francis Sorrel (1793–1870), a wealthy shipping merchant and esteemed citizen of Savannah. One of his sons was General Gilbert Moxley Sorrel (1838–1901), one of the youngest Generals in the Confederate army. In 1859, a purchase agreement was made by the prominent Savannah businessman, Henry D. Weed; he took possession of the house in 1862 and it remained in the Weed family until 1914.
The Sorrel Weed House has a reputation for being one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah. People claim to see figures in the windows and hear disembodied voices inside the house. The connecting carriage house behind the main house was said to have housed a female African-American slave who was murdered by a member of the family.
The National Trust Guide to Historic Places makes architectural comparisons between the Sorrel Weed House, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and William Jay's Owens Thomas House in Savannah. Although clearly a Greek Revival house, the earlier Regency influences are prominent.
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