Davenport House Museum

Open daily. Adult admission $9. No pets.

See below: full visitor information

See also: overview of Savannah’s historic house museums

The Davenport House Museum, on the northern side of Columbia Square, is one of Savannah’s oldest historic houses open to the public. It is also significant as one of the first major successes of the historic preservation movement in Savannah. The house, now on the National Register of Historic places, is owned by the Historic Savannah Foundation, restored by that organization in the 1950s and once used as its headquarters.

Davenport House was built by the New England builder and architect Isaiah Davenport as a home for himself, his wife Sarah Clark, and their children. He erected the large and distinctive red brick structure from 1820, completing it a year or so later.

Davenport moved to Savannah around 1808. He spent his earlier life in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, apprenticing as a carpenter. He traveled to Savannah in his mid 30s, perhaps hoping to find work there, and soon after his arrival married his wife Sarah. During the 18 years of their marriage, she would bear him 10 children.

Davenport rapidly expanded his business interests after arriving in the South. Savannah, then booming, had a great need of skilled builders, and he easily found work constructing new homes and public buildings in the city and even in nearby Tybee Island, where he supervised the construction of a defensive fortification, known as a Martello Tower, on its north beach (the structure is now lost).

Isaiah Davenport died of yellow fever in 1827, leaving his wife Sarah to raise their numerous children alone. Sarah Davenport operated a boarding house out of their former residence for several years. She sold the house to the planter William E Baynard, of Hilton Head Island, in 1840 for $9000. The house remained in the Baynard family for over a century, until its eventual purchase by the Historic Savannah Foundation in 1955.

Advertisements:

What To See & Do

Guided tours The Davenport House Museum can only be seen on guided tours, which depart at scheduled intervals throughout the day. The gardens can be seen at your leisure. Allow about an hour for a visit.

Tours take around 30-40 minutes (there is also an orientation video beforehand), focusing on the life and household management of a middle-class Savannah family in the 1820s, and on the 20th-century preservation movement that saved this house and many others across the city.

Gardens Attractive gardens to the rear and side of the house were redeveloped in 1975, a Bicentennial project of the Trustees Garden Club.

They are not a true restoration – the space would originally have been used for service buildings: a carriage house and horse stalls, and other functional structures such as a privy and well – but are designed to reflect a historical garden style, using plants commonly employed in coastal Georgia, including the crepe myrtles and azaleas that can be seen throughout Savannah.

Architecture Davenport House is built in the Federal style, an architectural style that was embraced nationwide from the last decades of the 18th century (although beginning to decline in popularity by the time Davenport built his house).

In the 1950s, the house was due to be demolished to make way for a parking lot. The Historic Savannah Foundation saved the house from destruction, initially using the property as its headquarters. It was first opened as a museum in 1963. The gardens were redeveloped the following decade; additional restoration work was undertaken from 1999.

Artworks and furnishings Davenport House’s restoration includes many antique pieces and period reproductions of furniture, ceramics and textiles, intended to recreate the interior decorations typical of a middle class family home around the 1820s.

Special events Davenport House offers several annual special events, some seasonal and others focusing on aspects of Savannah’s history and preservation. See upcoming events

Visitor Information

The following is correct at the time of writing. Please verify details before planning your trip. For additional information, call 912-236-8097 or visit the official website.

Opening hours Open daily. Monday-Saturday: first tour at 10am, last tour at 4pm. Sunday: first tour at 1pm, last tour at 4pm.

The Davenport House Museum is closed on St Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. It also closes at 1pm on the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and for one full week either the second or third week of January.

Admission Adults $9, children (6-17) $5, young children (0-5) free. 10% discount for seniors (65+), active military and AAA members.

A discount Pioneers in Preservation Pass is also available, which allows entry to three historic sites in Savannah: the Davenport House, plus the Andrew Low House and the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. The pass costs $21. See details

Pets Service animals only. Dogs and other pets are not allowed at the Davenport House Museum.

Advertisements:

Getting There

Address 324 East State Street
GPS coordinates N 32.077205, W -081.088045

The Davenport House Museum is located on the north side of Columbia Square (to the west of the intersection of East State and Habersham Streets), in the north-east of Savannah’s Historic District. See on map

Parking There is no on-site parking, but street parking (free on weekends) should be available nearby. Covered parking is available at the city-owned State Street Parking Garage, on the north side of adjacent Oglethorpe Square. More information about parking in Savannah

Public transport Savannah’s free downtown express shuttle does not stop directly outside of the Davenport House, but there is a stop only 4 blocks away, at Abercorn and Broughton Streets. More about Savannah’s free shuttle and other public transit services

Similarly, none of the local paid bus services stop right at the house, but several have stops within a few blocks. Get public transport directions