Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters

owens thomas house

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DESCRIPTION

Why You Should Go

Built as a beautiful Regency style mansion in 1819, the Owens-Thomas House, along with its adjacent gardens, carriage house, and slave quarters, allows visitors to explore the complicated relationships between the most and least powerful people in the city of Savannah in the early 19th century.

History of the Richardson-Owens-Thomas House

In November 1816, work began on the new home of banker, shipping merchant, and slave trader Richard Richardson and his wife, Frances. The home was designed by English architect (and relative to Richardson by marriage) William Jay, but was constructed by builder John Retan and the team of free and enslaved men in his charge. The site also included a two-sided privy and a building located on the east end of the lot, which was divided into a carriage house and slave quarters.

The Richardsons moved into the home with their six children and nine enslaved men, women, and children in January 1819. Unfortunately for the Richardsons, the next three years saw steady decreases in their prosperity, including the financial Panic of 1819, a yellow fever epidemic, a fire that destroyed half the city, and the death of Frances and two of the children. By 1822, Richardson decided to sell the house and move to Louisiana, where he had family and business interests. He had been shipping enslaved people, mostly children, from Savannah to New Orleans for years.

By 1824, the Bank of the United States owned the house, which they leased to Mary Maxwell as a boarding house. The Marquis de Lafayette was a guest of Mrs. Maxwell when he visited Savannah in March 1825 as part of his whirlwind tour of the United States for the 50th anniversary of the American Revolution.

In 1830, George Welshman Owens, then mayor of Savannah, purchased the property at auction for $10,000. Owens, who was also a lawyer, planter, and politician, moved in with his wife, Sarah, and their six children in 1833. Over the years, Owens kept nine to 15 enslaved people on the property and held almost 400 men, women, and children in bondage on his plantations.

The last Owens descendant to live in the home was George Owens’ granddaughter, Margaret Gray Thomas. When Thomas passed away in 1951 with no direct heirs, she willed the house to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences to be run as a house museum in honor of her grandfather, George Owens, and her father, Dr. James Gray Thomas. The site opened to the public in 1954.

Carriage House

Orientation Gallery

The south half of this building originally housed horses and carriages on the first floor with a hay loft on the floor above. Beginning in;November 2018, the first level of this building will house our Orientation Gallery. Exhibits in this space help put the story of the site into the larger context of local, regional, and national history. The site of the original hay loft now houses The Loft, a workspace for Telfair’s historical interpreters to study primary documents, examine archaeological artifacts, and research our sites’ history.

Slave Quarters

The north half of the building contains the original slave quarters for the site. This two-story structure was composed of three rooms on each level. Nine to 15 enslaved people, about half of whom were children, lived and worked on the site at any given time between 1819 and the end of the Civil War. Once the war ended, the space became servants’ quarters, housing many of the same people.

Now these these wonderfully preserved spaces offer new interactive exhibits to help visitors understand the day-to-day lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked in the space, as well as the most unique architectural feature of the house, the indoor plumbing.

Holiday Closures:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • St. Patrick Day Observance
  • Easter
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve, open 10am-3pm
  • Christmas Day
  • New Years Eve Day, open 10am to 3pm

Parking & Transportation

Nearest Parking Garage: 100 East State Street, Savannah GA.
Hop On/Off Trolley: Stop #8 via Old Savannah Tours

See map below for address

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St. Augustine Saving Examples

Pro Tip #1: Hop On Hop Off Trolleys

  • If you plan on riding the Hop On Hop Off Trolley you can park for free at the Trolley bus station. If staying in the historic district they will also provide hotel pick-up (call them to schedule). 
  • If you want to ride the Hop On Hop Off Trolley for more than 1-day, you can use an additional Featured Tour or we recommend upgrading your 1-day ticket to multiple days when you get there. You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to upgrade.

Pro Tip #2: Use Maps on Mobile Pass

  • Utilize the maps on the Mobile Pass you’ll receive after purchasing Tour Pass (interactive maps, attraction map, Trolley map and parking garage & restroom map). You can use the Mobile Pass for planning to see what’s near attractions of interest.
1 day tour pass
1 Day Pass:
  • Choose a total of 2 Featured Tours + Visit as Many Standard Attractions as You Wish for 1-Day.
  • The selections below are an example. You can choose whatever you want from the available tours.

Savannah 

Saving Examples

Pro Tip #1: Hop On Hop Off Trolleys

  • If you plan on riding the Hop On Hop Off Trolley, ride it for 1-day to get familiarized with Savannah, then ride the free DOT Hop On Hop Off Trolley for additional days.
  • If you want to ride the narrated or paid Hop On Hop Off Trolley for more than 1-day, you can upgrade your 1-day ticket to multiple days when you get there. You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to upgrade.
  • Park at the Visitor Center: 301 Martin Luther King Blvd.

Pro Tip #2: Use Maps on Mobile Pass

  • Utilize the maps on the Mobile Pass you’ll receive after purchasing Tour Pass (interactive maps, attraction map, Trolley map and parking garage & restroom map). You can use the Mobile Pass for planning to see what’s near attractions of interest.
  • Trolley maps are also available on the Mobile Pass.
1 day tour pass
1 Day Pass:
  • Choose a total of 2 Featured Tours + Visit as Many Standard Attractions as You Wish for 1-Day.
  • The selections below are an example. You can choose whatever you want from the available tours.

Charleston

  • Pro Tip #1: Charleston has a free trolley (DASH) that you can ride for downtown transportation. There are 3 routes. All routes intersect at the Visitor’s Center (375 Meeting Street). To switch buses, get off at the Visitor Center and wait for the appropriate bus. We recommend parking here if you intend on riding the trolley.
  • Pro Tip #2: Utilize the maps on the Mobile Pass you’ll receive after purchasing Tour Pass (interactive maps, attraction map, Trolley map and parking garage & restroom map). You can use the Mobile Pass for planning to see what’s near attractions of interest.
  • Trolley maps are also available on the Mobile Pass.
1 day tour pass
1 Day Pass:
  • Choose a total of 2 Featured Tours + Visit as Many Standard Attractions as You Wish for 1-Day.
  • The selections below are an example. You can choose whatever you want from the available tours.
2-day pass
2 Day Pass:
  • Choose a total of 3 Featured Tours + Visit as Many Standard Attractions as You Wish for 2-Days.
  • The selections below are an example. You can choose whatever you want from the available tours.
risk free gurantee

Pass purchases can be refunded (minus 3% credit card processing fees) if requested within thirty-days of purchase date (for unused passes). Optional Trip Protection (5% of total amount) can be purchased at checkout which extends the refund period up to one-year from purchase date. Conditions apply. View full refund policy by clicking button below.

Charleston Saving Examples

Save $111.40 per person which is 44% off of retail rates with a 3-day pass!

(Examples below are suggestions. You can choose whatever you’d like to do from the available tours/attractions.)


1-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

1-Day Pass Includes: 2 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 1-day
Boone Hall Plantation (featured tour #1)$27
Carriage Tour (featured tour #2)$35
Nathaniel Russell House (walk-in)$12
Aiken Rhett House Museum (walk-in)$12
Charleston Fun Park (walk-in)$20
1-Day Without Pass$106
Cost of 1-Day Tour Pass($72)
Save 5%: Enter Email$3.60
Save per Person: 35% Off Retail=$37.60

1-Day Tour Pass Cost: $72

SAVE $37.60 PER PERSON, 35% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


2-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

2-Day Pass Includes: 3 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 2-days
Harbor Tour (featured tour #3)$30
Charleston Museum (walk-in)$12
McLeod Plantation (walk-in)$15
Charleston Tea Plantation (walk-in)$12
Deep Water Vineyards 9 wine tasting (walk-in)$7
2-Days Without Pass$182
Cost of 2-Day Tour Pass($117)
Save 5%. Enter Email$5.85
Save per Person: 39% Off Retail=$70.85

2-Day Tour Pass Cost: $117

SAVE $70.85 PER PERSON, 39% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


3-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

3-Day Pass Includes: 4 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 3-days
Ghost or History Walking Tour (featured tour #4)$30
Slave Mart Museum (walk-in)$8
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon (walk-in)$10
Gibbes Museum of Art (walk-in)$12
Palmetto Brewing free flight (walk-in)$10
3-Days Without Pass$252
Cost of 3-Day Tour Pass ($148)
Save 5%. Enter Email$7.40
Save per Person: 44% Off Retail=$106.40

3-Day Tour Pass Cost: $148

SAVE $111.40 PER PERSON, 44% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!

There’s no denying the saving and convenience that Tour Pass offers! Plus you can book your tours in advance with our amazing Mobile Pass that includes maps and detailed attraction information. The more you do the more you save. Imagine how much more you could save with a 4 or 5-day pass!

Savannah Tour Pass Grid
Tour Pass Attraction Grid
tour pass charleston tour grid

Charleston Saving Examples

Save $111.40 per person which is 44% off of retail rates with a 3-day pass!

(Examples below are suggestions. You can choose whatever you’d like to do from the available tours/attractions.)


1-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

1-Day Pass Includes: 2 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 1-day
Boone Hall Plantation (featured tour #1)$27
Carriage Tour (featured tour #2)$35
Nathaniel Russell House (walk-in)$12
Aiken Rhett House Museum (walk-in)$12
Charleston Fun Park (walk-in)$20
1-Day Without Pass$106
Cost of 1-Day Tour Pass($72)
Save 5%: Enter Email$3.60
Save per Person: 35% Off Retail=$37.60

1-Day Tour Pass Cost: $72

SAVE $37.60 PER PERSON, 35% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


2-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

2-Day Pass Includes: 3 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 2-days
Harbor Tour (featured tour #3)$30
Charleston Museum (walk-in)$12
McLeod Plantation (walk-in)$15
Charleston Tea Plantation (walk-in)$12
Deep Water Vineyards 9 wine tasting (walk-in)$7
2-Days Without Pass$182
Cost of 2-Day Tour Pass($117)
Save 5%. Enter Email$5.85
Save per Person: 39% Off Retail=$70.85

2-Day Tour Pass Cost: $117

SAVE $70.85 PER PERSON, 39% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


3-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

3-Day Pass Includes: 4 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 3-days
Ghost or History Walking Tour (featured tour #4)$30
Slave Mart Museum (walk-in)$8
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon (walk-in)$10
Gibbes Museum of Art (walk-in)$12
Palmetto Brewing free flight (walk-in)$10
3-Days Without Pass$252
Cost of 3-Day Tour Pass ($148)
Save 5%. Enter Email$7.40
Save per Person: 44% Off Retail=$106.40

3-Day Tour Pass Cost: $148

SAVE $111.40 PER PERSON, 44% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!

There’s no denying the saving and convenience that Tour Pass offers! Plus you can book your tours in advance with our amazing Mobile Pass that includes maps and detailed attraction information. The more you do the more you save. Imagine how much more you could save with a 4 or 5-day pass!

risk free guarantee

Pass purchases can be refunded (minus 3% credit card processing fees) if requested within thirty-days of purchase date (for unused passes). Optional Trip Insurance can be purchased for a nominal fee at checkout which extends the refund period up to one-year from purchase date. Conditions apply. View full refund policy by clicking button below.