Front of Sorrel-Weed House
Back of Sorrel-Weed House

Sorrel-Weed House History…

Known for it’s Rich History, Architecture, and Savannah Prestige….

The Sorrel Weed House is one of the first two houses in the State of Georgia that gained the distinction of becoming a State Landmark. The Society for the Preservation of Savannah Landmarks held their first meeting here in 1939. They were the predecessor of the Historic Savannah Foundation. The house served as their museum, featuring a collection of the finest antiques in Savannah, on loan by distinguished Savannah families.

The house represents one of the finest examples of antebellum Greek Revival/Regency architecture in the United States. It was designed by one of the leading architects in the United States, Charles Cluskey. He also designed the old Governors Mansion in Milledgeville and worked on the United States Capitol building. The National Trust Guide compares many of the Sorrel Weed House features to the Owens Thomas House, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

Historic-Savannah-Colonial-Williamsburg

In 2007, the Savannah College of Art and Design & the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation held a vernacular architectural forum. This event attracted the leading architects and historians from around the world. They compiled a 600 page book of the architecture of Savannah and The Low country, devoting more space to the Sorrel Weed House than the hundreds featured in their book. It was the only Museum grade house to be in both “Conference Committee Favorites” as well as “Colonial Williamsburg’s Top Picks“.

The Sorrel Weed House was completed between 1839-1840 for Francis Sorrel. As one of the most accomplished gentlemen in Savannah at the time, Francis and the Sorrel home became the toast of the town. When it was built, it was the largest home and stood on the southern edge of the city. During the 1840′s and 1850′s, this was “the house” to be invited to for social parties and celebrations. Savannah’s renowned names were frequent guests in the house; the Habershams, Greens, Lowes, Gordons and numerous others spent many late nights in the parlor rooms until the early hours of the morning.

Prior to and during the Civil War, General W.T. Sherman was entertained in the home, as well as General Robert E. Lee. General Lee became friends with Francis in 1829-1830 and was a guest in 1861 and 1870. In 1862, the Sorrel House was acquired by Henry Davis Weed, one of Savannah’s largest business owners. This chapter of the house ultimately gave it the current name which is highlighted on the wrought iron plaque erected outside, “The Old Sorrel-Weed House”.

House TimeLine:

1835: Francis Sorrel buys Two lots on the corner of what is now “Madison Square”

1836-1840: Construct of the Francis Sorrel House.

1855-56: Francis builds a smaller House on his second lot for his sons to move into. (now, 12 W Harris St.)

1859: Henry Weed agrees to purchase the Sorrel-House from Francis Sorrel.  With the understanding that Alterations would be made to the house at 12 W Harris St, the Carriage House and the Courtyards prior to Henry taking possession of the Sorrel-House.

1862: Henry Davis Weed takes possession of the House after Alterations are complete & the two properties are fully Separated.

1875-1914: House stays in possession of Weed Family descendants.

1914-1941: Owned by two different banks.

1930’s: In the late 1930’s, the home becomes a House Museum for a time during the Banks ownership.

1941: Cohen family buys the House, and a few years later the Lady Jane clothing store is built onto and around the House.

1954: The house becomes one of the first two Homes to be Designated a State Landmark, and is titled the “Old Sorrel-Weed House”

1996: The house was purchased privately and the Lady Jane shop was removed so that Renovations could begin.

In 2005, the House was opened for tours to the public and in 2007 the Sorrel-Weed House received the honor of being designated a Georgia Museum and Foundation.

Because of the popularity brought on by Several TV show appearances and write-ups by architectural groups like the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, it continues to be open to the public for Tours, while Renovation continues within the House.

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