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The Olde Pink House
The Pink House
The Olde Pink House logo.jpg
Olde Pink House.jpeg
The Olde Pink House in 2017
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Former names Habersham House
General information
Architectural style Georgian
Location Savannah, Georgia, United States
Address 23 Abercorn Street
Construction started 1771
Completed 1789; 232 years ago (1789)
Owner Donna Moeckel
Technical details
Floor count 3
Floor area ~16,000 sq. ft
Design and construction
Architect Joseph Clay (original);
Mark P. Finlay Architects (2006 expansion)

The Olde Pink House (also known as The Pink House and, formerly, Habersham House) is a restaurant and tavern in Savannah, Georgia, United States. Located on Abercorn Street, in the northwestern trust lot of Reynolds Square, the building dates from 1771. It is bounded by East Bryan Street to the north, Abercorn Street to the east and East Saint Julian Street to the south.

One of its key features is a Palladian window above the portico.

History

The building was originally known, when it was built in 1789, as Habersham House, after its owner, James Habersham, Jr., one of Savannah's most important early cotton factors and founding-family members. Habersham lived there until his death in 1799. The lot was originally a land grant from the British Crown. It survived the Savannah fire of 1796 that destroyed 229 buildings in the city.

In 1812, the home became Planters Bank, the first bank in Georgia. It was at this time that a portico, supported by unfluted Doric columns, was added to the building's main façade, while an extension was built on the northern side.

After the Civil War, the house changed hands several times, becoming an attorney's office, bookstore and (between 1930 and 1943) Alida Harper Fowlkes' (1908–1985) Georgian Tea Room.

The building was bought and restored by Jim Williams, owner of Mercer House, in the middle of the 20th century.

In 1970, Herschel McCallar, Jr. and his partner Jeffrey Keith bought the building for around $60,000. They undertook a one-year restoration, which included jacking up the building and upgrading the foundation by installing I beams and setting it back down. When they did this all the doorways and mouldings went back into place as if it were new. They also discovered the twin fireplaces in the basement that had been covered over at some point in the nineteenth century. These fire places were the original cooking kitchen in the 18th century, and are now the highlight of the bar. They also removed the Victorian staircase and lowered the original 18th-century section of stairs to the first floor. This is what you see when you enter the building today. They also installed the staircase into the tavern so one did not have to go outside. All new plumbing and electrical, and a new kitchen were also added at the time. Keith also opened an antique store on the second floor. They made several buying trips to England to purchase the many 18th-century antiques, and paintings seen in the restaurant today. They opened the restaurant in 1971.

Keith sold the building to William and Elizabeth Balish in 1992, two years after the death of McCallar. The Balishes retained McCallar and Keith restoration, and maintained the grandeur they did in the restoration. Donna Moeckel, the daughter of the Balishes, is the current owner.

In 2006, Arches Bar, on the southern side of the building, was added during an expansion project. There is also a cellar tavern, Planters Tavern, which features a single-table wine vault for special occasions. There are thirteen dining rooms in total.

In December 2018, a fire broke out in the upstairs ballroom, causing damage that resulted in the building closing for four months.

Copy

An almost-identical house was built in 1928 at 102 East Gaston Street, just beyond the northeastern corner of Forsyth Park.

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