Georgia Historical Society-Hodgson Hall
Savannah, GA 31401
Monday - Friday: 9:00a - 5:30p
The Georgia Historical Society is the oldest continuously operating state historical society in the Southern United States and one of the oldest historical organizations in the United States.
The main floor, reaching 36 feet with its three-story-high ceilings and two balconies, houses the Society’s library room. The vaulted window in this room were designed to provide maximum light and ventilation in the days when there was little artificial light and no air conditioning. The windows located on the third story were essential to relieving the oppressive summer heat and provided maximum daylight for the reading room in the main hall.
High above the entrance to the spacious main hall, engraved in red-mottled marble and permanently gold-leafed, is Mary Telfair’s will: “No Feasting, drinking, and smoking or amusements of any kind will be permitted within its walls.” Around the walls of the library room portraits of well-known Georgians — The portrait of William B. Hodgson is located at the end of the hall and was installed in 1876 and is enclosed in a mantle of carved wood and Georgian marble.
Though the Society’s expanding collections and membership have required periodic renovations, much of the building remains intact. The interior doors to the Reading Room still operate on their original decorative brass hinges. The bronze railings along the mezzanine and staircases are also original. The four large tables in the reading room, made of slabs of solid walnut supported by cast iron bases, date to the opening in 1876. The front doors, original to the building, are made of solid pieces of mahogany. The outside entrance is a broad brownstone stairway with heavy curving metal balustrades leading to a two-columned portico. The property is surrounded on two sides by an ornamental iron fence with gates.
Hodgson Hall stands at the northwest corner of Forsyth Park and serves as Georgia Historical Society’s state headquarters and library. In memory of William B. Hodgson, this historic building upholds Georgia Historical Society’s commitment to the preservation, education and discussion of history in Georgia.