History of the Andrew Low House - Family Time Travelers

The Andrew Low House in Savannah, Ga

The Andrew Low House is a must when touring Historic Savannah. The home not only has a lot of history associated with it, it has a lot of artifacts inside the home that are breathtaking. You can read the Andrew Low House via any of the Trolley Tours. It is located right across from Lafayette Square.

The history of the Low family is a long one starting from when Andrew Low I came to Savannah to work in a store. He soon bought out the store and established the Andrew Low and Company, which traded in general types of goods. The company eventually shifted in to cotton export as the demand for cotton in England began to rise. The company was so successful, a separate office was established in Liverpool, England along with a partner, Robert Isaac. They owned ships that would transport the cotton from Savannah to England. Unfortunately, the Great Fire of 1820 destroyed thes Savannah office, yet it was promptly rebuilt and Andrew Low I had his residence on the 2nd floor.

Andrew Low I never married and needed an heir, he turned to his older brother, William, who had a son Andrew Low II. Andrew Low II arrived in Savannah at the age of 17 in 1829. Andrew worked hard and eventually the day to day operations in Savannah were put into his hands. His Uncle, Andrew Low I retired and returned to England working out of the Liverpool office from time to time. Andrew Low II rose to become a premier Cotton Factor in Savannah and became Savannah’s richest man in 1857.

Andrew Low II married Sarah Cecil Hunter in 1844. The couple would have one son, Andrew, and 2 daughters, Amy and Hattie. The family lived in a home that would be in the Madison Square area today. In 1847, Andrew Low II purchased the land across from Lafayette Square and hired John Norris, a distinguished architect, to construct a new family home on the land. However, tragedy struck Andrew Low’s life during this time. His son Andrew, his father, William, his wife Sarah and his uncle Andrew Low I, all died within months of each other from 1848 to 1849.

Andrew Low would move in to the new home towards the end of 1849 with his two remaining daughters. The girls eventually went to England to boarding school while Andrew focused on the business. Andrew then began dating Elizabeth Ann Mackay and married her in 1854. The ceremony was conducted outside of Savannah on a plantation. A train took guests from Savannah to the ceremony as Andrew Low II also owned the Central Railroad of Georgia.

andrewlow3
Four more children came from his second marriage, two daughters Mary and Katie, two sons, William and Jessie, and one child only lived 1 day. It would be Wiliam that would marry Juliette Gordon later on in life. When the war began, Andrew and Elizabeth left the children with her family and they traveled to England. There, Andrew would finance cargo of munitions to sail to Savannah to help the Confederate. When they returned, Andrew was arrested in Ohio and sent to Fort Warren in Boston. In 1862, Andrew was freed on probation and within several months returned to his home in Savannah.

As the war raged on, Andrew Low received more tragic news that his wife Mary had passed away in 1863. Mary’s mother, Eliza Stiles, moved in to the home and took care of the grandchildren and ran the home for several years. By the Fall of 1867, the rest of the family moved back to England with the exception of Amy and Hattie who now were running the home at Lafayette Square. Andrew returned to Savannah each year and hosted guests like Robert E Lee and the Earl of Roxbury. Andrew sold his interest in in the Andrew Low Company in 1872 and began focusing on railroads, steel mills, and shipping. He would make several trips to America each year but ultimately remained in England where he died in 1886. His son, William, would accompany his body back to Savannah to be buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery beside his wives Sarah and Mary and his young son Andrew III.

Just the Facts!

  • Andrew Low I came to Savannah and established the Andrew Low and Company.
  • The company shifted to cotton exports and established a second office in England.
  • Andrew Low II, the son of William and older brother of Andrew Low I, came to Savannah at 17 in 1829.
  • Andrew Low II rose to be Savannah’s richest man in 1857.
  • Andrew II married Sarah Hunter in 1844. They had 4 children.
  • Tragic deaths all within a short time frame struck Andrew between 1848 and 1849 including his wife, son, father, and uncle.
  • The property for the Andrew Low House was purchased in 1847, with the house being completed in 1849.
  • Andrew remarried Elizabeth Mackay and they had 4 additional children.
  • Andrew financed the Confederate war by sending ships of munitions and supplies from England.
  • He was arrested upon his return in Ohio and sent to Fort Warren in Boston.
  • Once he was released, he returned to Savannah and hosted Robert E Lee and the Earl of Roxbury in his home.
  • Andrew sold his interest in the Andrew Low Company in 1872 and focused on railroads, steel mills, and shipping.
  • He passed away in England in 1886 and was returned to Savannah by his son, William, to be buried next to his wives and son.
  • William married Juliette Gordon, who founded the Girl Scouts of the US. She died in the home in 1927.

 

Family Time Travelers received complimentary admission to the Andrew Low House, though our opinions are completely our own. For more information, consult our Disclosure policy.

Sites Consulted:

Andrew Low House

Historic Andrew Low House


Kid Activities for the Juliette Gordon Low Home - Savannah, Ga | Family Time Travelers

Kid Activities for the Juliette Gordon Low Home

Giving children an opportunity to learn historical facts while having fun is part of our mission here at Family Time Travelers. These kid activity sheets for the Juliette Gordon Low home, will help children learn the history of the home and have them looking for a few things when visiting the home. Most of the answers can be found on our history page and within the pictures on the page. You can also find the answers by visiting this wonderful historic home!

Word Find for Younger Children (ages 5-8)

Download (PDF, 20KB)

Word Find for Older Children (ages 9 and up)

Download (PDF, 27KB)

Crossword Puzzle (all ages)

Download (PDF, 51KB)

Activity Sheet

Download (PDF, 45KB)

 

 

 

 


Kid Activities - Pirates's House Restaurant in Savannah, GA. by Family Time Travelers. Let's have some fun with history!

Kid Activities for the Pirates’ House Restaurant

The goal of Family Time Traveler is to make history fun for kids. We have created activities for children of all ages to complete to enforce the major historical facts of each location. All of the answers for the Word Find and Crossword puzzle can be found on the corresponding historical page in the “Just the Facts” section. This section highlights the key historical facts for the location. 

What better way to get children “hands on” with history than some fun activities they can complete while eating at the Pirates’ House Restaurant. For the Pirates’ House, we have two word find games, one crossword puzzle, and a general activities sheet to complete while at the restaurant. To download each activity, click on the “Download PDF” link that is below each preview image. Need to go back over the facts for the Pirates’ House Restaurant, click HERE.

 

Word Find for younger children (ages 5-8)

Download (PDF, 49KB)

Word Find for older children (ages 9 and up)

Download (PDF, 54KB)

Pirates’ House Crossword Puzzle

Download (PDF, 61KB)

Pirates’ House Activity Sheet (For use while eating at the restaurant)

Download (PDF, 31KB)

 

Leave us a comment below with some of the answers your children discovered while visiting the Pirates’ House Restaurant!

All files are for personal use only and created by Family Time Travelers via PuzzleMaker.


The history of the Central of Georgia Railroad at the Georgia State Railroad Museum - Family Time Travelers

Central of Georgia Railroad – Georgia State Railroad Museum

Ascending the steps to the railway car takes a little boy back in time where railroad travel was an innovative mode of transportation. It carried passengers, freight, and even mail across the land. The engineer blows the horn and the train slowly backs on to the turntable as we listen to the history of the Savannah Shops of The Central Railroad.

Today the complex, known as The Georgia Railroad Museum, is being restored for all to explore as well as becoming a working shop to restore engines and cars. Preserving history for the future generations is the goal of the museum as well as reconnecting the tracks from the shop to the main line. The museum provides a lot of “hands on” activities and allows you to get up close to restored engines and cars as well as view ones that are in the restoration process.

The History

Commercial activity for Savannah centered around its port. Cotton, which was one of the crops planted in the first garden of Savannah, would be shipped down to the port of Savannah to be exported overseas. However, with the creation of the port in Charleston, SC, the shipments of cotton to Savannah begin to slow down. To counteract this slowdown, officials in Savannah obtained a state charter in 1833 to create a canal and railroad via the Central Rail Road and Canal Company to link Macon to Savannah via canal or railway. It became clear it was difficult to raise the money necessary to build the railway so the canal portion was abandoned and the name changed to the Central Railroad and Banking Company in 1836.

Construction on the rail line from Macon to Savannah began in 1835 and was completed in 1843. At the time of completion, this 190 mile line was the longest continuous line under one management in the entire world! This brought growth to the Savannah rail yard and shop with construction on the shop complex beginning in 1836.

One of the most interesting historical components of Savannah is how intertwined the historical figures were. The first President of the Central of Georgia was William Washington Gordon, who was the grandfather of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. William Washington Gordon had also been a Mayor of Savannah prior to taking on his role with the railroad. He was responsible for overseeing the construction of the rail lines, shop complex, and passenger station in Savannah.

Upon his death, Richard Cuyler became President and beginning in 1851, he oversaw the construction of a much larger facility for maintenance, repair, and construction of locomotives and rail cars in Savannah. The shop complex in Savannah included a roundhouse with 39 stalls, a turntable, machine shop, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop, boiler/engine house, tender frame shop, smokestack, and additional smaller shops.

The Central as it was called began operating fully in 1840 with most of the revenue coming from freight and this continued through until the Civil War. The Civil War years were very tough on The Central. At the beginning of the Civil War, The Central controlled 229 miles of track out of the 1420 miles of total track in the state of Georgia. The Central also had 59 locomotives and 729 cars. However, the Confederate Government ordered all railroads to release their engines and cars to the railroads that were carrying the most military traffic.

It was during this time that the Shops began to produce gun carriages and other military equipment and the maintenance of locomotives was shifted to Macon. At this time, the profits for The Central began to shift from freight to passenger. Freight was increasing difficult since the port of Savannah was not as active due to the Union blockade. The Civil War did a lot of damage to the tracks due to heavy usage and the inability to make repairs. Tracks and bridges were also destroyed in Sherman’s March to the Sea. In total during the Civil War, The Central lost 140 miles of track which was over 1/2 of the track owned. It also lost 14 locomotives and 97 cars.

By 1867, rail service from Macon to Savannah was restored and William Wadley, who was President of The Central, began to restore it to a profitable business. The company began to restore tracks and add additional track as well as to purchase other lines such as the Savannah Steamship Line. In 1887 though, The Central was purchased by the Richmond Terminal Company. This purchase led to a huge financial disaster for the railroad as the Richmond Terminal Company began selling bonds that were over-valued and brought great debt to the company. However, in 1890, the Tybee Railroad was purchased by The Central. It was the only run between Savannah and Tybee and operated until 1933. The financial woes continued until the company was placed into receivership in 1892 when the line had almost 2700 miles of track. In 1895 it was sold to an investing firm out of New York City, Thomas & Ryan.

A new company was created after the sale, The Central of Georgia Railway and the President was Hugh Moss Comer, who was the receiver during the time the company was in receivership. The railroad was again purchased in 1907 by another investor, E.H. Harriman, also of New York. Harriman sold the railroad again two years later to Illinois Central Railroad and they kept control over the railroad until the Great Depression in 1932. During the Great Depression, The Central again encountered financial difficulties and went into bankruptcy.

In the 1940s, the switch began over to diesel locomotives. Passenger trains were switched over to the new diesel locomotives and with that, the shop began to become obsolete. Though they tried servicing diesel engines at the shop in Savannah, the work was shifted to Macon as they had the ability to service diesels. Servicing diesels is very different from servicing steam locomotives. The Savannah Shops were closed down in 1963 after the railroad was acquired by The Southern Railway.

The Shop complex was neglected for many years and at one point the smokestack started to be disassembled for the brick. However, in 1989, the Coastal Heritage Society took over management of the shop. Today, the museum complex is recognized as a National Historic Landmark District and is known as the Georgia State Railroad Museum.

Just the Facts!

  • Construction on the railway from Macon to Savannah began in 1835 and was completed in 1843.
  • The first President of The Central was William Washington Gordon, Juliette Gordon Low’s grandfather.
  • The Central began operating fully in 1840 as primarily a freight line moving cotton to the port of Savannah.
  • The Civil War saw the loss of some engines and cars to other railroads that carried heavier military traffic.
  • Sherman’s March destroyed tracks along with bridges and railroad stations.
  • Income from passengers increased during the Civil War and freight traffic declined due to the Union Blockade of the port at Savannah.
  • 1867 saw rail service restored between Savannah and Macon.
  • The Central was purchased by the Richmond Terminal Company in 1887.
  • 1890, the Tybee Railroad was purchased and operated until 1933.
  • The Central was placed into receivership in 1892 and sold in 1895 to an investment group, Thomas & Ryan
  • The railroad was purchased again in 1907 by E.H. Harriman who sold it two years later to Illinois Central Railroad.
  • In the 1940s, the lines began switching from steam to diesel locomotives.
  • Work shifted to the Macon shop for repairing and servicing diesel engines
  • Savannah shops closed in 1963 and sat in a state of disrepair and decline until they were handed over in 1989 to the Coastal Heritage Society.
  • The smokestack was partially disassembled for the brick but has been restored.
  • The shop is now a museum as well as a working shop to preserve and restore engines as well as cars for future generations.
  • The Museum is raising money to reconnect the shops to the main line via a bridge. The original bridge was removed by the City due to commercial traffic needing to use the road. The original bridge was too low.
  • Hands on activities are a part of the current Georgia Railroad Museum.

 

 

Works Consulted:

Coastal Heritage Museum – Brief History of the Central of Georgia Railroad

 

 


The History of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace - Family Time Travelers

History of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

On our journey to Savannah, my daughter who is a Brownie in the Girl Scouts, was so excited to visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and to get her pin and patch for her uniform. I was a Brownie as well for a short time in childhood and it was a great lesson in the history of Juliette Gordon Low, Savannah, and the Girl Scouts. Her home can be easily accessed from the Trolley tours that go through the historical district of Savannah.

Juliette Gordon Low is most famously known as the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Her childhood home is located in the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District in Savannah, GA. The home is also known as the Wayne-Gordon House. It is currently owned by the Girl Scouts of the USA.

History of the Home

The home was constructed between 1818 and 1821 for the mayor of Savannah, James Moore Wayne. The majority of homes in the Savannah area were constructed in much the same way and known as “Savannah Boxes”. The differences between the homes were in the finishes inside. When Mr. Wayne was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1831, he sold the home to his niece Sarah Sites Gordon, who was married to William Washington Gordon I. Sarah and William were the first generation of Gordons to live in the house and were Juliette’s grandparents.

In 1886, Juliette’s parents, William Washington Gordon II and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon made major changes to the home by adding the fourth floor and the side piazza. This process was a large-scale renovation that had several setbacks. First, the original contractor in charge of the project died shortly after it began. The family had a difficult time finding anyone to take over the work which furthered the delay. Second, an earthquake hit the Savannah and Charleston areas in August of that year which consisted of several aftershocks. The earthquake not only damaged the areas under construction but also damaged the plaster and stucco on the original areas of the home. The family lived in only 3 rooms of the home while all the damage was repaired. During this construction phase, Juliette announced her wedding and her desire to hold the reception at the home.

When William and Eleanor passed away in 1912 and 1917 respectively, their son Gordon wanted to live in the home. George Arthur Gordon was the youngest son of William and Eleanor. Changes were also made to the home during this time including enclosing the piazza with screening, converting the stable in to commercial space, and one of the gardens was converted into a playground for the Sunshine Day School which was run by his daughter Mary Stuart Gordon Platt.

In 1942, during World War II, housing was needed for military workers that were in the Savannah area. The decision was made due to finances and patriotic reasons to subdivide the home into 4 apartments. The division of the home was done in a way to ensure it could be restored back to a single family home at a later time and to keep as many of the architectural features of the home in tact. The Gordon family lived in one apartment and rented the remaining 3 apartments.

The Girl Scouts of the US purchased the home in 1953 and restored the home to its original 1880 Victorian state. The home opened as a museum in 1956. The home was designated as the first National Historic Landmark in Savannah in 1965 on the National Register of Historic Places. Family members still reside in the Savannah area and have been known to drop by the home and use the home for special occasions.

Touring the Home

In touring the home today, you notice the home itself is very much like a 4 square. Today you enter the home on the basement level which houses a store and some meeting space. However, when the home was being used the basement housed the kitchen, laundry, household offices, servant quarters, and pantries. As you ascend up the first set of stairs, you arrive on the main floor of the home with a large entry hall. On this floor you also have the 2 parlors, dining room, reception room, and butlers pantry. The reception room was converted into a library and was also used as a schooling room. It is said that it once housed a trap door in the floor.

The house today is restored with furniture typical of the period, including many pieces from the Gordon family as well as family memorabilia. The most noticeable feature of the home is the staircase. The wood railing is grand and beckons a child to climb on and slide down! That is highly discouraged during the tour which takes you up this beautiful staircase to the bedroom floor of the home which has four bedrooms with dressing rooms, a grand hallway, and there were possibly two bedroom passageways at one time. On the bedroom floor, you also see the bathrooms added during the major renovation phase prior to Juliette’s marriage. The final and top floor of the home had 2 servant quarters and today houses offices for the Girl Scouts of the US.

The original outbuildings of the home consisted of a stable, at least 3 one room servant quarters, and a privy. The servant quarters and privy were located between the brick garden wall and the location of the carriage house. Today, the gardens consist of ironwork art that Juliette created and a statue of Juliette sitting on a park bench. Girl Scouts that visit the home can have a pinning ceremony in the garden once they complete their tour.

Unfortunately, pictures inside the home are not allowed. However, the official website has many great photos of the various rooms in the home as well as the construction plans of the home. The site is a wealth of information including preservation of the historic home. I would highly recommend checking it out while you are learning about the history of the home.

Just the Facts!

  • Built between 1818 and 1821 for the Mayor of Savannah, James Moore Wayne as a typical Savannah box home.
  • Wayne sold the home in 1831 to his niece, Sarah Gordon and her husband William, Juliette’s Grandparents when he was appointed to the US Supreme Court.
  • 1886, Juliette’s parents, William and Eleanor, made major renovations to the home prior to Juliette’s wedding.
  • The renovation construction was delayed due to the death of the contractor and damage from an earthquake.
  • George Gordon lived in the home last and made some additional construction changes including enclosing the piazza and turning the stable into commercial space.
  • 1942, the home was sectioned into apartments during WWII to house military workers.
  • The Gordon’s lived in one of the 4 apartments during WWII.
  • 1953, the home was purchased by the Girl Scouts of the US and restored.
  • 1956, the home was opened as a museum by the Girl Scouts of the US and included furniture from the Gordon’s and many pieces of Juliette’s artwork.
  • 1965, designated as a the first National Historic Landmark in Savannah on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Reception Room is said to have had a trapdoor in the floor at one point!
  • Today, the home can be reached via any of the Trolley Tours that go through the Savannah Historic District and is often toured by Girl Scout troops and school groups.

 

 

Sources:

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

 

 

 

 


The History of the Pirates' House Restaurant in Savannah, GA - Family Time Travelers

Pirates’ House Restaurant – Savannah

As you enter the front door of the Pirates’ House Restaurant in Savannah, GA, you step back in time. The multiple dining rooms bring you back to the times of seafarers and pirates, eating, drinking, and at times waking up out to sea on a ship without knowing how they got there! All of this history can be experienced while you dine on southern cuisine at the Pirates’ House Restaurant.

The Trustees’ Garden

The history of this famous restaurant began in 1733 when General Oglethorpe and the colonists arrived in what is now known as Savannah. The idea for an experimental garden was put into action on the plot adjacent to the current restaurant structure. The garden was an attempt to grow all types of plants from around the world to see what would grow in the new area. It was modeled after the famous Chelsea Botanical Garden in London, England and named the Trustees’ Garden.

Everything from fruit trees, vine cuttings, herbs, spices, cotton, and hemp were just some of the crops they tried to grow. Not everything would grow, especially the grapes to produce wine and the Mulberry trees to produce silk. However, it was from this very garden that the peach trees that Georgia and South Carolina are so well-known for were distributed as well as a type of cotton crop.

The small house that is adjacent to the restaurant was built-in 1734 and was for the caretaker or gardener of the Trustees’ Garden. It is known as The Herb House. It is one of the oldest houses in the State of Georgia, if not the oldest. The experimental garden however, only lasted about 20 years until 1753 when it was determined it was no longer needed. The garden site and surrounding land became a residential area.

One of the first residential type buildings constructed on this available land was an Inn for those seaman visiting the area. The second floor hosted the rooms and the first floor hosted a tavern for sailors visiting from abroad. The reputation of the restaurant was of a place to be avoided. It hosted pirates and drunken sailors, some who went missing from the tavern, never to be heard of again!

Savannah Tunnels

Savannah is known for having an extensive underground tunnel system. The true use of the tunnel system has many origins. Some of the tunnels were built during the yellow fever endemic to conceal the bodies of the dead. Other portions of the tunnels are said to have been used as part of the Underground Railroad. Some areas of the tunnels, under the hospital, were said to have been used as a morgue.

The tunnels under the Pirates’ House is said to have a more criminal use. Legends have it that captains needing men for their ships would watch sailors drinking at the tavern. Once the sailor was drunk, they would be hit over the head and knocked unconscious. The sailor would then be taken through the tunnel to the port and wake up on a ship out to sea! This fate, though enslaved on a ship, is much better than the torture and murders that have been rumoured to occur in the cellar of the Pirate’s House. Some say that trap doors were installed in the tavern floor. Drunken sailors were chained and then dropped through the doors. If they sustained injury and were no longer “fit” for working, they were killed. Those fit to work were taken off to ships!

Modern Day Restaurant

In 1948, the Pirates’ House and the surrounding land became the property of The Savannah Gas Company. The building was taken under the wing of Mrs. Hansell Hilyer who happened to be the wife of the president of The Savannah Gas Company. She transformed the buildings into what is today the Pirates’ House Restaurant.

The restaurant consists of 15 different dining rooms, all very different, and serves a variety of southern cuisine. The entrances to the tunnels are still visible within the restaurant and give it a wonderfully spooky vibe!

Just The Facts!

  • James Oglethorpe and the early colonists established the Trustees’ Garden on the site in 1733.
  • The garden was modeled after the famous Chelsea Botanical Garden in London, England.
  • The First structure, the Gardener’s Home known as The Herb House, was built-in 1734.
  • Peaches and Cotton were two important crops that came from this experimental garden.
  • Garden abandoned in 1753 and the area was turned into a residential area.
  • The Inn that is now known as the Pirates’ House Restaurant was opened in 1753 with a tavern for sailors and pirates!
  • Drunken sailors often went missing from the tavern only to wake up enslaved on a ship out to sea.
  • Part of Savannah’s extensive tunnel system runs underneath the restaurant and takes you to the port.
  • 1948 the buildings were turned into what is now known as the Pirates’ House Restaurant by Mrs. Hansell Hilyer.
  • 15 Dining rooms make up the restaurant that serves a variety of southern cuisine.

Let’s have some fun! We have some great activity sheets for children to help reinforce the facts above. Check out our Kids Activities page!