An ingress back in time, Somewhere amidst the lush green squares and warm hospitable atmosphere of the southern city of Savannah, Georgia sits this nineteenth-century architectural marvel: The Eliza Thompson House. The building is significant for several reasons, from its historical context and urban setting to its ornamental features, adaptation, and preservation. Built in 1847, the building was first home to Eliza and Joseph Thompson and their 7 children, holding place as the first house built on Jones Street. Today, it is one of Savannah’s finest and most romantic bed and breakfasts. 

An envelope of a sense of history and elegance encapsulates you as you step back in time to this nineteenth-century marvel, immersing you in an architectural tapestry of the historic Savannah.

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An ingress back in time – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

A Bridge between Past and Present

1.Historical Context: Carrying with it a rich history that dates back to 1847, the Eliza Thompson House was the first house built on Jones Street in downtown Savannah. Evolved now as a beautiful inn, it was once home to Eliza and Joesph Thompson and their seven children. 

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Historical Context – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

2. Architectural Style: Known for its refinement and elegance, the house is a paramount example of Italianate style which was popular in the nineteenth century in Savannah. The intricate details in its elegant design that contribute to its historic significance have been meticulously preserved over time. The detailed woodwork and decorative features manifest the romanticism that this style bestowed which is reflected still presently in this house. 

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Architecture Style – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

3. Construction & Design: The house predominantly exhibits brick and woodwork with some hallmark features of the architectural style, which include tall windows, ornate detailing, and overhanging eaves. Additionally, the interior is crafted with detailed woodwork and decorative fireplaces. A seamless blend of historical elegance with modern comfort. 

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Construction & Design – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

4. Ornamental Features: The decorative details in the intricate ironwork are a testament to the skilled craftsmanship over time. A wide array of wrought iron balconies, ornate railings, and detailed cornices continue to radiate their beauty and aestheticism. Additionally, over the decades, the green has carved its path and harmoniously blended onto these ornamental features, adding to its beauty. 

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Ornamental Features – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

5. Urban Context: The nineteenth-century house positions itself as a part of a large urban fabric that includes the city’s squares and parks. Known for its walkability allows easy access to cultural landmarks, shops, museums, and numerous restaurants (like the popular Mrs Wilkes’ restaurant that sits down the street from the house) and thus, reflects the warm ambiance that the city holds. 

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Urban Context – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

6. Interior: From the original heart pine floors to the intricately carved woodwork furniture – echoes of the mid-nineteenth century Italianate style still charm those who stay in this now-converted inn. Without depriving the guests of modern amenities, still intact period furnishings with soft pale decor that harmonize warm and cool-toned interiors when seen by the light of chandeliers or floor-to-ceiling windows. The interiors are also richly graced by mid-century paintings that harmonize the hues that the spaces carry. 

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Interior – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

7. Adaptation & Preservation: There is no doubt that the house’s preservation over the years has been carried out with great attention to maintaining its historical identity and integrity whilst making it fit for contemporary living. There is a careful balance between preservation and adaptation that has been practiced for this house and consequently, marks it as one of the most celebrated examples of preservation in the city’s urban landscape. 

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Adaptation & Preservation – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

8. Cultural Significance: The transformation carried out by this house to sit as a boutique bed and breakfast in the urban landscape allows visitors to step back in time and experience this heritage – thus, bridging the gap between the past and the present and enriching Savannah’s cultural tourism appeal.

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Cultural Significance – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

9. Inside and Outside Connection: The tall floor-to-ceiling windows and their placement are typical of Italianate Architecture which thrived in tall narrow windows with ornate detailing. Especially in the humid climate that Savannah experiences, it is crucial for natural light and air circulation to pass through. Such windows apart from their essential need for the weather, also provide a picturesque view of the surrounding area, which is the charming streets and the lush courtyard in some cases. The connection to this lush courtyard also adds to the connection between the interior spaces and the external environment. 

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Inside & Outside – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

10. The Outdoor that envelops it: The courtyard right outside is a quintessential southern space radiating relaxation but also inviting socializing. This charming area is a hallmark that is typical to most homes historic to Savannah. The brick-paved outdoor retreat surrounded by lush greenery and mature plants is further accentuated by the ironwork features and furnished with outdoor seating like wrought iron tables and chairs traditional to its style. The roofing overhangs and lines with shingles provide slight shade in its exterior. 

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The Courtyard – The Eliza Thompson House_©https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

The Eliza Thompson house is a space that echoes with its historic character, mesmerizes its visitors with its Architecture style acting as a bridge between the past and the present and consequently, holds its place today as one of the best inns in Savannah providing guests with a serene oasis in the middle of the city.

Bibliography:

  1. Eliza Thompson House (2023) Visit Savannah. Available at: https://visitsavannah.com/profile/eliza-thompson-house/5034 (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  2. (No date). Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eliza_Thompson_House.png (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  3. (No date). Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60814-d115706-i180294411-Eliza_Thompson_House_Historic_Inns_of_Savannah-Savannah_Georgia.html (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  4. ★★★★ Eliza Thompson House, Historic Inns of Savannah Collection, Savannah, USA (no date) Booking.com. Available at: https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/eliza-thompson-house.en-gb.html?aid=356980&label=gog235jc-1DCAso7AFCFGVsaXphLXRob21wc29uLWhvdXNlSDNYA2hsiAEBmAEJuAEHyAEM2AED6AEBiAIBqAIDuALzo5CtBsACAdICJGU4ZTdmZDM1LTBlOWItNGRkZC04N2EyLTI3ODk4ODgxYTRmZtgCBOACAQ&sid=4626c082dc9cf8d4a42c3008398ca9cc&dist=0&keep_landing=1&sb_price_type=total&type=total& (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  5. Photos of The Eliza Thompson House (no date) Eliza Thompson House Savannah Boutique Hotel. Available at: https://www.elizathompsonhouse.com/photo-gallery.htm (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  6. Courtyard – Picture of Eliza Thompson House, Historic Inns of Savannah (no date) Tripadvisor. Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60814-d115706-i180294411-Eliza_Thompson_House_Historic_Inns_of_Savannah-Savannah_Georgia.html (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  7. (No date). Available at: https://savannahgavisitors.com/attractions/historic-district/landmarks/1597-eliza-thompson-house (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
  8. Eliza Thompson House, Historic Inns of Savannah Collection from $196. Savannah Hotel Deals & Reviews (no date) KAYAK. Available at: https://www.kayak.com/Savannah-Hotels-Eliza-Thompson-House-Historic-Inns-of-Savannah-Collection.2165.ksp (Accessed: 14 January 2024).
Author

As an innovative Multi-Disciplinary Artist, Creative Director, and Architect, Mehr excels in intertwining diverse artistic forms—poetry, painting, music production, and design. Her work, deeply rooted in sustainable principles, showcases a unique blend of creativity and nature, crafting narratives that resonate with the essence of spaces and the broader artistic spectrum.