Soak up the history of our boutique Savannah hotel
Samuel Pugh Hamilton had this park-side mansion built for his family in 1873. Along with wife Sarah, the successful businessman and prominent Savannah alderman created a social center for the city’s elite, hosting a variety of activities in their home that was impressive in workmanship and size.
The Hamilton mansion was the first residence in Savannah with electricity. In 1883, electric lights were installed in the salon. Spectators witnessing the inaugural room lighting were wowed by the invention but feared the house would explode. The entire house was fitted with electric lights by 1886, around the time Hamilton became president of the Brush Electric Light & Power Company.
The mansion’s tin roof has been credited with saving it from the great Savannah fire of 1898.
Dr. Francis Turner, who was known by neighbors as an electric car enthusiast, purchased the house from the Hamilton estate in 1915 and lived there with his family until 1926. The mansion was opened for boarding and became a home for the Marine Hospital nurses in 1928. The Turner family moved back into the home in the 1940s, and the courtyard level served as office space for Turner’s practice.
The Turner family sold the house in 1965 to officials at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, who wanted to destroy the structure to provide a playground for their nearby school. The Historic Savannah Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1955, jumped in to save the house. After years of negotiations, the mansion was spared.
Over the next 30 years, the Hamilton-Turner house had several owners, was converted into an apartment building and withstood scandal. John Berendt’s book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” made note of raucous parties thrown by Joe Odom, who at one time managed the property.
Charlie and Sue Strickland converted the Hamilton-Turner mansion into an inn in 1997.
The present owner takes seriously the task of continuing the legacy of maintaining and upgrading the charming mansion in cooperation with the Historic Savannah Foundation.