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This stately home was built in 1819 for successful cotton merchant and banker, Richard Richardson and his wife, Francis Bolton. It was designed by the English architect William Jay, one of the first trained architects in the country. He designed the house in the English Regency style and features many interesting architectural elements such as curved walls and doors, indirect lighting in the drawing room, a bridge in the upstairs hall, and one of the finest staircases in the South. The English Regency style is named after King George IV, who served as Prince Regent from 1811-1820. Today the house is one three buildings that comprise the Telfair Museum, the oldest public art museum in the South. Its features a decorative arts collection consisting of Owens family furnishings as well as American and European objects dating from 1750-1830. Behind the house are an English-themed garden and one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South.


  • Owens-Thomas House
  • The English gardens at the Owens-Thomas House

Richard Richardson and his family resided in the house for a few short years before financial difficulties forced him to sell the house (the National Register Nomination form states he died at this time). At the time, Richardson was serving as the president of the Bank of America, and the Bank acquired the house for a short time and used it as a boarding house. It was during this period in 1825 that Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette and his son stayed in the house while they were in Savannah. It has been reported that Lafayette gave a speech to a crowd that gathered in front of the house in March of that year. In 1830, Mayor George Welshman Owens bought the house and it remained in the family until his granddaughter bequeathed it to the Telfair Museum in 1951.  

"Owens-Thomas House." Telfair Museums. Accessed September 21, 2016. http://www.telfair.org/visit/owens-thomas.

Pitts, Carolyn. "Owens-Thomas House." National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places. May 11, 1976. http://focus.nps.gov/GetAsset?assetID=4fdc246d-a940-4ae8-a4d9-9eb798b7bbe1.