The Green-Meldrim Abode was advised by New York artist John S. Norris, who was in Savannah from 1846-61. He advised not alone the Green-Meldrim House, but additionally the U.S. Custom House, Massie School and abundant accomplished residences.
“Norris advised the Andrew Low Abode and the Cockspur Island lighthouse,” says Susan Arden-Joly, administrator of the Preservation Committee for the Green-Meldrim House. “He had all the big commissions 15 years afore the Civil War.”
Built amid 1853 and 1861, the abode has an adamant balustrade at its capital access that is believed to be different in the United States. It has octagonal posts that abutment a brace of arches, with a crenellated breastwork that surrounds the roof.
There are abounding abnormal architectural appearance throughout the Green-Meldrim House. The woodwork on the capital attic is carved atramentous walnut, and busy acme moldings or cornices are fabricated of stucco-duro.
The doorknobs, hinges, keyhole escutcheons and covers are silver-plated. There are marble broiler mantles in anniversary room.
The abode has oriel windows on its east side. The arced access is afire by a skylight above.
“There is a arch on top of the access that is agnate to a arch in the Mercer House,” Arden-Joly says. “We apperceive it was fabricated from a kit. The arch will lift, and the gas jets can accomplish hot air acceleration and cull in air-conditioned air.”
When Union troops captured Savannah in 1864, Gen. William T. Sherman active the abode and acclimated it as his address until the end of the Civil War.
It was at the abode in December 1864 that Sherman beatific his acclaimed buzzer to President Abraham Lincoln: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas Gift, the Burghal of Savannah, with 150 abundant accoutrements and affluence of ammunition, and additionally about 25,000 bales of cotton.”
The affection Sherman mentions belonged to Charles Green, buyer of the house, who after sued the United States to be reimbursed for the cotton’s value.
The abode additionally was the armpit of the “40 acreage and a mule” affair amid Sherman, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and African-American leaders in the city. It resulted in Special Field Order No. 15, which alleged for confiscated acreage to be broadcast to freemen forth the bank in South Carolina, Georgia and arctic Florida.
The Green-Meldrim Abode amount $93,000 to construct, a massive sum for its day. That’s about absurd to construe into today’s currency, Arden-Joly says.
“I don’t alike apperceive if you could get the blazon of accomplished workers who could do that today,” she says. “The abode has absurd adhesive abstraction and plasterwork.
“I’m not alike abiding they could do it today, so it’s adamantine to construe into dollars,” she says. “Green had his own ships, so the behemothic mirrors and chandelier came from Austria, the marble was carved in Carrera and the tiles came from England.”
From the start, the abode was advised extraordinary. For example, it was one of the aboriginal gas-lit houses in Savannah.
“At the time, it was one of the three best big-ticket houses in America,” Arden-Joly says. “That was after the furnishings, which are all top-notch.
“The access is marble, not wood. It’s congenital like a little fortress.”
Located at 14 W. Macon St., on the northwest bend of Madison Square, the abode was appointed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It is advised one of the South’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture.
Today, the abode is endemic by St. John’s Episcopal Abbey abutting door, which uses it for tours and a affair and accession space. What was already the kitchens, servants’ abode and abiding accept been adapted into the St. John’s Abbey rectory.
Construction of the abbey was started at the aforementioned time as the abode in 1850.
“In 1943, the abode was activity to be awash and broken down,” Arden-Joly says. “The abbey aloft the money to save it in six weeks. The abode was in bad shape.”
Although the Green-Meldrim Abode is building quality, it is no museum.
“This is a active house, the archdiocese house,” Arden-Joly says. “We accept bells receptions and archdiocese coffees here.”
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