Open Tuesday-Saturday. Admission $7.
The King-Tisdell Cottage is the only African-American historic house in Savannah. The restored cottage, recently re-opened after a five-year closure, is now a museum devoted to aspects of the city’s black history, focusing on the culture and achievements of African Americans from Savannah and coastal Georgia in the 19th and 20th centuries.
History Of The King-Tisdell Cottage
The King-Tisdell Cottage is named for its former owners, Eugene and Sarah King and Robert Tisdell. The Kings, examples of Savannah’s thriving black entrepreneurial class (Eugene owned a laundry, Sarah a confectionery business), bought the home in 1925. It was at that time located at 516 Ott Street, in Savannah’s southern addition
Eugene died in 1941, barely into his 40s. Sarah remarried, but she lived together with her new husband, longshoreman Robert Tisdell, for only a short while before she herself passed away. The house was left to Tisdell, through whom it eventually passed to his subsequent wife, Alma Porter Tisdell.
By 1980, the Kings’ and the Tisdells’ former home stood in the middle of an area targeted for urban renewal, and was threatened with demolition. WW Law, one of Savannah’s most influential Civil Rights leaders, was also a strong advocate of African-American-focused research, education and cultural preservation.
Law was instrumental in the movement to save the King-Tisdell Cottage for future generations and turn it into a new center for the study and preservation of the city’s African-American history (another of his achievements was the founding of Savannah's Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum).
A new site for the house had to be found to save it from destruction, to which it would be moved, a practice also employed to save several of Savannah’s other historically-significant homes and buildings. The city cooperated with Law’s efforts to rescue the cottage, donating property and assisting in its move from the former Ott Street address to its new and present location in the Beach Institute neighborhood. The museum opened its doors in 1981.
What To See & Do
Exhibits The four rooms of the King-Tisdell Cottage each contain exhibits outlining an aspect of African-American history in Savannah and the lowcountry: the experiences of slavery and emancipation and of black entrepreneurship in the city; the Gullah-Geechee culture of the sea islands and coast; the life of museum founder WW Law; and the stories of the home’s former owners.
Architecture WW Aimar, a white woodmill owner, constructed the house in 1896. The attractively-painted cottage is one of many examples in Savannah of the late-19th-century “gingerbread” style, characterized by decorative woodwork on porches and other exterior features.
The following is correct at the time of writing. Please verify details before planning your trip. For additional information call 912-335-8868 or visit the official website.
Opening hours Open Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-5pm.
Admission Adults $7, seniors/military $3, children/students $2, young children (0-2) free.
Address 514 East Huntington Street, Savannah, GA 31401
GPS coordinates N 32.067531, W -081.089520
The cottage is located to the far southeast of Savannah’s Historic District. See on map
Public transport The King-Tisdell Cottage is accessible by public transport. Savannah’s free express shuttle does not stop at the cottage, but the Forsyth Park stop is six blocks away (less than 10 minutes walking). More about public transit in Savannah
Several paid bus services stop within about a block of the cottage. Get public transport directions