Davenport House Museum
Davenport House Museum
This fine Federal-style home was completed by master-builder Isaiah Davenport as his family residence in 1820. Authentically restored, the house museum features original plasterwork, a cantilever staircase and furnishings true to the 1820s. The site also features a courtyard garden that was originally a Bicentennial project of the Trustees' Garden Club and was later re-designed by noted horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse. Threatened with demolition in 1955, the saving of the Davenport House was the first effort of the Historic Savannah Foundation and the beginning of the historic preservation renaissance in this port city.
Isaiah Davenport owned nine slaves, some of which were skilled laborers that made up his work crew. The home was a residence for his household as well as a showplace for his quality work. Isaiah lived in the home with his family until his death from yellow fever in 1827. Sarah Davenport was able to keep her family's home until 1840 by renting out the skilled labor of her slaves and renting out rooms after the death of her husband. When she sold the Davenport House, she moved to another residence in the downtown area and opened it as a boarding house.
By the early 20th century, the Davenport House had become a tenement, housing as many as 10 families in its rooms. Savannah's city market building was demolished in 1954 and the Davenport House was slated to be torn down in 1955 in order to make room for a parking lot for a funeral home that was located across the street. Seven prominent Savannah women did not want to lose another historic building, so they banded together to raise the $22,500 needed to purchase the house. Saving the Davenport House from the wrecking ball was the founding act of the Historic Savannah Foundation.
The house was used as office space until enough money could be raised to restore it. It opened as a museum in 1963 and underwent a second restoration in 2000-03 in order to return the house to its original 1820s state.
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Pictures and information were provided by the Davenport House Museum
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