Wednesday - Friday: 10:00a - 3:00p
Saturday: 10:00a - 1:00p
The Harper Fowlkes House, a 1842 Greek Mansion is one of the most handsome homes in Savannah. Situated on Orleans Square, the home has a grand entrance dominated by towering square and Corinthian columns. Its construction is brick covered with plaster, and then scored the facade to evoke the appearance of large stone blocks with a portico featuring Temple of the Wind columns and a curved double staircase.
The home has arched-shaped windows on the upper level, a four-sided roof and a spherical dome that facilitate the passage of air and natural light. Other exterior features include ornamental cast iron gates and a set of double curved sandstone steps. The entry door has a transom and sidelights that provide a glimpse of the central hall’s checkerboard patterned marble floors. One of the featured treasures of the house is the elliptical opening viewed from the lower and upper levels of the entry and stairwell.
Richly furnished interiors include a dining room with faux bois-grained walls and ceiling, double parlors with false doors, and a sitting room featuring important oil portraits. Original mirrors, gasoliers and period antiques are found throughout the house.
The original owner, Stephen Gardner, purchased the lot on which the property sits but due to financial difficulties, Mr. Gardner was unable to complete the project. Aaron Champion, a local banker, purchased the property from Mr. Gardner’s brother. Mr. Champion sold the property in 1848 but reacquired it in 1852.
Alida Harper purchased the home in 1939 at an auction to settle the previous owner’s estate. Ms. Harper-Fowlkes furnished the residence with valuable antiques, period pieces and other collectibles. The chandeliers in the home were once gasoliers that used gasoline to illuminate the rooms. The residence has a Queen Anne style chair, a Chippendale sofa and other fine examples of 18th century furnishings. The dining room has a mahogany sideboard and a table from the 19th century. Other highlights include gilded mirrors, an ornate ironwork window bench, an antique gentleman’s chest and the three-story oval rotunda capped by a skylight.
Alida Harper-Fowlkes died in 1985 at the age of 77. In her will, Alida left the house to the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia to be used as state headquarters. She wanted future generations to see the lifestyle of the mid 1800s. Her will stipulated that the house is to be property maintained and can never be sold. All of the current furnishings were hers, including silver, china and crystal.