Located in Savannah’s Historic District – but of course! the mansion predates the formation of the United States, after all – the Olde Pink House faces Reynolds Square. It was built in the British colony of Georgia in the late 1700’s by merchant, statesman, and loyalist James Habersham (1712 – 1775). Habersham is notable for kick-starting direct trade between Savannah and London, advocating for the continuation of slavery, and serving various royal posts while in the colonies.
The James Habersham House was one of the few buildings to survive the Savannah fire of 1796 and went on to house the first Georgian bank – Planter’s Bank – in 1811. A pair of imposing, cast-iron vault doors were added to the house, along with a conference room and Greek portico. Things were looking up but fate had a different idea, in the shape of the Civil War.
After General Sherman captured Savannah from the Confederacy, the Olde Pink House was used by General York as his headquarters. After the war, Planter’s Bank was closed for insolvency brought on by the failure of the State of Georgia to repay Civil War loans – and the Olde Pink House?
Ownership and purpose of the slowly decaying, old James Habersham House changed many times: it served as a book shop, a tea room, an attorney’s office, and more as the years passed – over 100 before the 1990’s and the wave of restoration hit the city. The Olde Pink House as one of the first in the city to receive a much needed face lift.
Now a popular and elegant restaurant and tavern, the restored mansion is a truly fine example of classic, colonial architecture. Many portions of the original house – as well as additions made during the 1800’s – remain intact. The Greek portico with its Palladian window and the vault doors of the old Planter’s Bank are still in evidence, though now those doors protect cellared wines instead of colonist’s money. The Olde Pink House is popular with diners as well ghost hunters, which, given its lengthy pedigree, should come as no surprise.
Whether you’re a fan of history, a ghost hunter, or just after a delicious meal, Savannah’s Olde Pink House will not disappoint!
The James Habersham House – Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn Street
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