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History

GORDON ROW: Gordon Row was built in two phases between 1852 and 1854. In the first phase, the 3 or 4 houses on each end of the block were built and in the second phase the middle portion was built. There are a total of 15 houses in the row.

The houses were built in the Federalist (US) or Regency Style (UK). Each house is four stories high and contains about 3,300 square feet. The Federalist Style emphasizes square, classical features, plain decorations and mirror image rooms.

The Row was speculatively built; meaning that the homes were built as a lot then sold rather than individually designed for the owners. As a result, each of the 15 houses was nearly identical.

When built originally, the cost per house was between $3,500 and $4,000. The market was country planters, or farmers, who wanted a house in town for their visits to Savannah.

When originally built, the kitchens were on the ground level. The house was only two rooms deep with matching, or mirroring, windows facing the front and the back porch.

Documentation of ownership for the 117 house first appears in 1867 in the name of a Jewish lady. This neighborhood was popular with Jews as the synagogue, Mikve Israel, is only a block away. Judging by the names on the deeds, it seems that for the balance of the 19th century, the house was owned by various women in the same Jewish family.

Around 1900, a local doctor purchased 117 and it became his home and office. He also purchased the adjacent building, 119, and joined houses to expand the property.

In the 1950′s, the 117 house was owned by the infamous Jim Williams of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The house was then converted into a Soho Style warehouse loft by removing the residential architectural features.

Robert McAlister, founder of Savannah's Bed & Breakfast Inn, acquired the house in 1974 and began the first of several restorations. Through the years he acquired additional houses in the row and expanded the Inn to it's current size. His wife, Mary, the current owner, now continues his legacy.

 

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