Historic Savannah Foundation is restoring and preserving one beauty at a time.

Left: Before; Right: After
Historic Savannah Foundation

It’s no secret that Savannah is one of the South’s most beautiful cities, showing off picturesque parks, towering live oaks draped with Spanish moss, and cobblestone streets lined with charming homes. Millions of visitors flock here every year to stroll through the historic districts and admire beautiful structures that tell the story of the city’s rich past. But Savannah hasn’t always looked this way.

When the economy collapsed around the beginning of the 20th century, many historic properties throughout the city were abandoned and fell into disrepair. Such was the case with the circa-1820 Federal-style Isaiah Davenport House, which was in danger of being demolished and turned into a parking lot. In 1955, local journalist and artist Anna Colquitt Hunter gathered six friends and founded the Historic Savannah Foundation with the intent of saving just one house—but they started a preservation movement. Over the past 60 years, HSF has restored and rehabilitated over 400 decrepit properties throughout the city; the foundation has been a catalyst for Savannah’s architectural, cultural, and economic rebirth.

Today, Daniel Carey—president and CEO of HSF—is leading the charge to revitalize and preserve the original plan General James Oglethorpe had for the city he founded in 1733. “We are the voice and conscience of preservation. We’re the reminders that historic architecture and our city’s identity are very important, and they’re tied to preservation,” Carey says. 

WATCH: Take a Look Inside One of Savannah’s Most Elegant Historic Homes

HSF works proactively to save and restore properties with their Revolving Fund. “We raise private capital from the community and then turn it back out on the streets in the form of acquiring vacant, blighted, endangered historic buildings,” explains Carey. “We intervene and acquire them from the owners. We secure, stabilize, and mothball them. Then we market them to preservation-minded buyers. We sell the building to those people with a protective easement on the property that runs with it, and then those folks effect a respectful rehabilitation or restoration of the building.” Any money made off the sale is cycled back into the Revolving Fund so HSF can tackle another project.

The hard work of HSF speaks for itself, with evidence of the foundation’s fight against blight showcased throughout the city. Read on to see nine beautifully restored Savannah properties.

Left: Before; Right: After
Historic Savannah Foundation

118 E. Waldburg Street: Catherine Ward House

This 1886 Italianate house (one of the finest examples of high style Italianate residential architecture) was purchased and saved by HSF in 1983. It’s now a bed-and-breakfast.

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Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

205 W. 41st Street

HSF helped save this 1910 Traditional/Vernacular house twice after it sat vacant for 20 years and suffered fire damage.

Before
Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

222 E. 32nd Street: P.J. O'Connor House

This 1885 Italianate property was home to PJ O'Connor, a relative of famous author Flannery O'Connor, a Savannah native.

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Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

1004 E. Park Avenue: Snedeker House

HSF saved this circa-1894 Victorian Eclectic house from mounting demolition pressure by the city. The exterior ornamentation only hints at the finishes and flourishes inside. Built by a local lumber man to showcase his product, the house features an elaborate carved staircase, stained glass, and multi-patterned pressed tin ceilings.

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Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

1119 Habersham Street: Kate and Augustus Muller House

The 1895 Folk Victorian house was converted into a church in 1977. It was saved by HSF and sold to a preservation-minded buyer in 2007. Among the many notable changes was opening up all the original wrap-around porches.

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Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

1505 Habersham Street

This circa-1900 Italianate duplex was facing imminent demolition before HSF saved it. In the before photo, the large hole on the left side of the facade was caused when a car crashed into the building.

Before
Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

324 E. Broughton Street: John Berrien House

HSF’s Revolving Fund saved this long-neglected 1791 Federal home from destruction by stabilizing the structure. The current owners are also working on restoring the interior to its original 18th century style. 

Left: Before; Right: After
Historic Savannah Foundation

521 E. Bolton Street: Newton R. Yonge House

The original front porch of this 1898 Late Queen Anne-style house had been removed by city code compliance for safety reasons. HSF conducted research and worked with the new owner to reconstruct the original porch design.

Before
Historic Savannah Foundation
After
Historic Savannah Foundation

324 E. State Street: Davenport House

HSF and its Revolving Fund began with the circa-1820, Federal-style Isaiah Davenport house. A local funeral parlor wanted to tear it down for additional parking. Today it's a museum that attracts thousands of visitors each year.