“A must-see every year! This tour provides me the opportunity to experience the historic charm and beauty of Savannah’s finest homes.”

– Teresa Pace, Jacksonville, Florida

Tour of Homes
Saturday, October 19, 2019

St. Vincent’s Academy will once again host this popular self-guided tour of the original 1845 Convent building and several private homes in Savannah’s Historic District.

This year’s Fall Tour of Homes promises to be a fascinating look inside six residences in Savannah’s Historic District and the original 1845 Convent building. Some of the homes reflect their origins in architectural style, interiors and furnishings, while others offer an exciting, eclectic approach to downtown living. For the first time ever, we are adding gardens to our tour. There will be four amazing gardens to visit, in addition to our 6 historic homes and Convent.

Certainly, the centerpiece of the tour is the elegant Tea, which is served on the grounds of the Convent. St. Vincent’s Academy students will serve a delicate repast of tea, homemade confections, and traditional tea sandwiches.

This event is held annually to benefit the preservation of the historic 1845 convent building. Come see for yourself why native Savannahians and out-of-towners alike say this annual fall event is “the best tour in Savannah.”

2019 Homes to tour:              212 East Liberty Street, c. 1852

                                                    214 East Liberty Street, c. 1851

                                                    21 Houston Street, c. 1852

                                                    326 Bull Street, The Eliza Jewett House, c. 1842

                                                    306 East Jones Street, c. 1890

                                                    27 East Jones Street, c.1854

                                                    207 East Liberty Street, c. 1845 – Convent 

 

2019 Gardens to tour:           218 E. Liberty Street

                                                   208 E. Hall Street

                                                   2 E. Taylor Street

                                                  314 Habersham Street

 

    Tour Information

    Saturday, October 19, 2019
    Tour Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Tea Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

     

    Onsite docents will provide history and answer questions.

    NEW CITY OF SAVANNAH PARKING REGULATIONS: Parking is free SOUTH of Liberty Street and on Liberty Street on Saturdays. However, metered street parking is required NORTH of Liberty Street on Saturdays. You may download the City of Savannah’s parking app to pay for metered parking at https://www.savannahga.gov/2515/Parking-Meters  You may also use the traditional coin meters and debit/credit meters.

    https://www.savannahga.gov/2515/Parking-Meters

    ACCESSIBILITY:
    Most of the tour sites are NOT wheelchair accessible and may feature high stoops with steps to climb.

    RESTRICTIONS:
    In order to protect these historic sites, no high-heeled shoes, strollers or photography will be allowed.

    TRANSPORTATION:

    Self-guided walking tour. A municipal shuttle bus runs throughout the downtown historic district. For specific bus route information, visit: www.catchacat.org.

    St. Vincent’s Academy (SVA) reserves the right to cancel touring of any site due to unforeseen circumstances on the day of the tour. SVA and participating tour homeowners assume no liability for any personal injury or loss incurred at any site. SVA also reserves the right to refuse admittance to any person at any time.

    MAP OF TOUR: Coming Soon!

      Tickets

      Before September 30, $45 per person for online and phone orders.

      After September 30, $50 per person for online and phone orders.

      Three Ways to Purchase Tickets in Advance:

      1.    Buy Tickets
      2. Call (912) 236-5505 for credit card purchases and information. Tickets will be held at the tour ticket office for pickup, which will open Friday from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
      3. Purchase tickets at any a number of business: Saints and Shamrocks, 309 Bull Street
        E. Shavers, bookseller, 325 Bull Street
        Candler Wellness Center, 5353 Reynolds Street
        St. Joseph’s Gift Shop, 11705 Mercy Boulevard
      4. Call (912) 236-5505 for further ticketing information.

      To purchase tickets on the day of the tour, go to the tour ticket office in Walsh Hall at St. Vincent’s Academy, located on the corner of Lincoln and Harris Streets, between 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted.

      Please allow three and a half to four hours to visit all tour sites.

      Cathedral

        Sponsor List coming soon!

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          Homes

          212 East Liberty Street, c. 1852

          This three story clapboard house, unusual for this neighborhood in Savannah’s 2.5 square mile Landmark Historic District, was built as a single-family dwelling by Irish immigrant, Laurence Connell in 1852.  Many wood frame buildings did not survive the two major fires that swept Savannah in 1796 and 1820.  The second fire alone destroyed 465 buildings, so there are few buildings remaining at all from the 18th century.  Most Savannahians began to favor using masonry construction, though it was more costly, it was safer.

          Mr. Connell was a prominent Savannah shopkeeper, active in politics, and served as a Justice of the Peace in the 1850s. He would inhabit the upstairs, with his wife Mary and their five children and conduct business downstairs from his store.  The home underwent a major renovation in 1880.  It is unknown whether the porch was original to 1852 or added later, perhaps in the renovation.  The cast iron on the front porch was definitely a much later addition.  The Connell family lived in this home until 1888.

          Throughout, you will notice the home has its original heart pine floors, except in the sunroom, which was a later addition; the six fireplaces all are original.  The second floor has two bedrooms, a library, a media room, and two baths with a bedroom and full bath on the second floor.  The owners have gathered items and filled their home with their collection from travels from all over the world.

          This house, with its upper and lower front porches and ironwork is eye-catching and has great appeal to passersby, who often visit the block and snap photos to take home with them.

          214 East Liberty Street, c. 1851

          This wood frame house was built for Laurence Cornell, an immigrant from Dublin, Ireland and a shopkeeper by trade.  He secured a mortgage of $500 to build the house and, later, one for $1,250 to build a larger house, in which he would live, next door in number 212.  He would inhabit the upstairs, with his wife Mary, and their five children and conduct business downstairs from his store.

          Today, the home consists of three bedrooms and two and a half baths.  The present owners purchased the property in 2012 and the bathrooms and laundry have been totally renovated.  They also added bookshelves in two of the bedrooms and the hall landing.  You will note the 160 plus years of wear on the stair treads leading to the second floor.  The master bedroom features a magnificent view of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The attic, used for storage, is air conditioned, having been used by previous owners as a fourth bedroom.  In foyer, next to double doors, is a mirror, c. 1825, from a package/steamer ferry that operated between Baltimore and Washington.

          The courtyard faces one of the old dueling grounds for the city – this one was conveniently next to Colonial Cemetery, which was used for burial from 1750 to 1853.  Overlooking the garden, the back patio provides a delightfully quiet spot and relief from the traffic of the front wrap-around porch facing busy Liberty Street.  Where the old carriage house oncestood until the mid-1970s, now provides parking space for three cars.

          21 Houston Street, c. 1852

          This home was built for Simon Miralt, a former slave, who either bought his freedom from his owner, or earned it in some other way.  He was from Santo Domingo, a free man of color, a homeowner, a tailor, and a business owner.  The home was not built on Washington Square, but was moved 15 blocks from Charlton Lane and Habersham Street by Jim Williams in 1963.  Mr. Williams, a well-known antique dealer was the subject of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.   The home was restored by the current owners in 2015.  Among other things, they added a staircase at the rear of the home leading to the floor level.  Previously the basement level and parlor floor level were separate.  Interesting items to notice:  Unusually wide heart pine boards run width of house on the parlor floor, Italian pottery, multi-colored contemporary chandelier, and the unusual stained-glass window that hides a big surprise!

          326 Bull Street, The Eliza Jewett House, c. 1842

           

          This elegant Antebellum Greek Revival home overlooks Madison Square.  Both the home and the square are two of Savannah’s jewels.  It was built by female real estate investor, Eliza Ann Jewett, a builder of numerous fine properties in this area, and she would live in it.  Though Jewett built the home, some historians credit the design of this magnificent building to renowned Irish architect, Charles Cluskey, although this has not been verified.  Cluskey was known for his command of the Greek Revival style of architecture.

          This stunning home features carved Corinthian columns that act as a divider between the double parlors and screen the entry stairway from the entry hall.  You will be impressed with the grapevine plaster molding, soaring ceilings, the addition of a roof deck garden, the original and dramatic curving staircase, and original heart pine floors. The house has 5,000 square feet, five bedrooms, five baths, and original marble mantels.  The windows are lovely and wide and have Greek key surrounds on the inside.

          This is considered one of the finest private residences in Savannah’s Landmark Historic District.

          306 East Jones Street, c. 1890

          This tiny home was built as the carriage house for Schwartz’s Bakery, a popular bakery owned by John Schwartz in the mid-20th century.  Mr. Schwartz was known to Savannah as the baker of the “best Jewish rye bread in the state of Georgia.”  Unfortunately, Mr. Schwartz took the recipe with him to the grave.

          The bakery is now the home to the left, as you look at the front door of number 306.  The carriage entrance is where the present-day front door is located; notice the old cobblestones leading to the door. The carriages exited the rear of the house into the courtyard, where the original baking ovens were located.  The western wall of the courtyard was built in the 1970s.  Before the construction of this wall, the bakery and the carriage house shared the same courtyard.

          An amusing point of interest:  The carriage house was used as an illegal after-hours night club in the 1970s, when some downtown residents were known to turn late night partying into an art form!

          27 East Jones Street, c.1854 

          Welcome to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Coonce who visited Savannah on their 20th wedding anniversary and fell in love with the city!  They found a house with great promise to renovate and moved to Savannah in 2000.

          This Antebellum, Greek Revival, four story, stately town house was built as a spec house by John Scudder for William Quantock Jr and completed in 1854. In the early 1900s the back porches were integrated into the house to make room for plumbing and a kitchen.

          Although the house has primarily been a private residence, in the late 1950s and early 1960s it was used by the Chatham-Savannah Mental Health Association, and by 1965 it was a beauty parlor and various rental spaces.  Before the present owners began renovation in 2000, it had been rented for a number of years by students at a local college.  After the many years as a rental, restoration was difficult; and the house was not completed until 2005. The owners returned the property to its original single-family configuration. The renovations included porches on all three floors, a modern adaptation of a carriage house as a garage, and the addition of the patio and courtyard.

          The home is made of Savannah Grey brick.  Mantels and fireplaces are original, and the floors are original heart pine throughout. The top floor, which is not on tour, is a studio for the accomplished artist/owner. Most of the paintings throughout the house are original oils by Mrs. Coonce.

          The patio and garden area are an ongoing labor of love.  The walls of the garden are the original Savannah Greys; the rest of the design is the vision of the owners.  Of note are the curved brick planting areas and the beautiful green fountain.  There are numerous tropical plants including: Mandarin Oranges, Kumquat, Encore Azaleas, Palms, Pentas, and mixed herbs. 

          207 E. Liberty Street -c. 1845 –

          Convent of St. Vincent de Paul

          This amazing building is listed for its architectural importance on the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in the Library of Congress.  A bronze plaque on the Abercorn Street wall attests to this honor.

           The Convent of St. Vincent de Paul was designed by noted Irish architect, Charles Cluskey, and built on land at the edge of town.  The style of architecture is Greek Revival.  Guests will see the Sister’s private chapel, parlor, beautiful 19th century stained glass, statuary, and needlework done by the Sisters during the 19th century.  Within this building, the nuns operated an orphanage, educated children from grade school to high school age, and opened St. Vincent’s Academy, a private school for girls, still in operation today.  It is the is oldest Sister of Mercy school in continuous existence in the world.

          There will be several Sisters of Mercy (Academy students) wearing the three major habits of this order from the 1840s through the 1970s.  You will enjoy Heritage Hall, a collection of memorabilia that documents Savannah’s history against the backdrop of an all girls’ school.

          Garden Only Tours

          For the first year, we are showcasing four garden only tours in addition to our historic homes. Please visit the gardens at the houses located in the picture above. From left to right, they are:

          218 E. Liberty Street

          208 E. Hall Street

          2 E. Taylor Street

          314 Habersham Street