Inside a Savannah Mansion
On New Year’s Eve, we were invited into the home of an old-school Savannahian. Our soft-spoken host, Alvin, was a true southern gentleman, as gracious as possible, and both his character and his house seemed to be straight from the pages of some Victorian Gothic novel.
Alvin’s brick mansion, built in 1887, was in our neighborhood and we had admired it often. So when we were invited inside, we jumped at the chance. Since purchasing the mansion decades ago, Alvin has worked to restore its original elements, decorating it with artwork and period furniture. Jürgen made an appreciative comment about much all this original artwork must have cost, which caused Alvin to laugh. “This is all stuff I get for free!” He pointed to a painting of a dancing jester. “The girl who painted this gave it to me in exchange for a month’s rent.”
The mansion’s architect, William G. Preston, had also been responsible for the late, lamented DeSoto Hotel. Alvin reminisced about that building, which was torn down to make space for the Hilton, a much derided eyesore on Madison Square. He got out a book of old images from Savannah, back in the days when the live oaks which now tower over the city’s squares were just saplings. Alvin was a member of the Historic Savannah Foundation, and recounted some of the battles which he helped fight; preserving the DeSoto was one they lost.
After a couple cocktails, we took our leave; the New Year’s celebrations were just heating up in the city, and Alvin urged us to go and have fun. We did so, but somewhat reluctantly. The party we ended up at was alright, but I have a feeling that spending New Year’s with Alvin in his incredible mansion would have been the more memorable evening.
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How amazing … the sailboat stained glass window, antique sink, beautiful ceramic. What a choice opportunity to be so welcomed in Mr. Neely’s home of treasures!
We still can’t believe our luck to meet Mr. Neely.
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Thanks for allowing us into Mr. Neely’s home with you. It is absolutely beautiful and so much character. He looks like he would have some interesting stories to tell too. Thanks again
Robin, thank you so much for commenting. He did tell us some great stories… I think he’s had quite an interesting life!
I think this is the most fantastic and interesting aspect of your 91 Day adventures. Certainly, the descriptions and photos of the places and things you’ve seen are outstanding. But, the chance for you to experience, then share with us, the people you’ve met….priceless !
thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us. we also got a chance to travel cross country for a few months and savannah was my very favorite city on the trip. these pictures make me want to hitch up the airstream and hit the road again. Right now 🙂
This is such a beautiful home!! I was standing outside it on my bike one day and Mr Neely came out and talked to me and he was such a nice man! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pics with us!!!!!
I love this! What a gorgeous home. He sounds like a nice guy, too. Agree on the “get over yourself, Mercer home”.
I have lived in the Savannah area for over 30 years now and have always admired the architecture of this awesome home. Every chance I get I ride by and try to get a few photos. Thanks for taking me inside after all these years.
Many thanks for doing such a wonderful presentation of this beautiful Southern gem,Savannah!
Your images were wonderful and quite creatively displayed.
Best Wishes, Isabella
I have known Alvin since I was14. When I rented my first apartment it was in his carriage house directly behind his. He is one of the finest people in savannah , and I am so happy you were able to meet him. He is very modest ; however he is behind most of the movements in savannah to preserve historic buildings… And as a side note , he never just excepts your rent without asking you to come in , sit down, and have a drink.
Can you please tell me if they was a little boy who died in that house? I have a photo that you would interested in… I would be happy to send it you free if you can proved the story or history.. Thanks