Saturday, March 4
John Norris Architecture trolley tour
10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Tickets $25 (includes all four tours)
You will be amazed to learn just how much of Savannah was created by John Norris!
John S. Norris was born in 1804 in New York City, where he began his career as a stone mason. He later became a builder and, as he concentrated on building design, his career evolved into architecture. One of Norris’s first commissions was the Customs House in Wilmington, North Carolina, which set the stage for his commission to build the U.S. Customs House in Savannah, Georgia.
Norris’s move to Savannah proved to be the highlight of his career, and his prolific work established the fabric of Savannah’s Historic District. His buildings are easily the most important of the city, including both commercial and residential designs.
Much of John Norris’s work can still be seen today in commercial structures such as the U.S. Customs House (famous for the trial of The Wanderer); Massie School; Abraham’s Home (now SCAD’s Norris building); Independent Presbyterian Church Manse; The Unitarian Universalist Church (where Jingle Bells originated); and the Cockspur Island Light House (briefly the home of Florence Martus, known as The Waving Girl); to list only a few.
The Andrew Low House was Norris’s first residential design, which led to numerous other elegant and prominent homes throughout the Historic District. One of these homes was the Green-Meldrim House; at the time of its completion in 1853, it was the most expensive and luxurious home in Savannah. The trolley tour will take you from the Green-Meldrim House to the Andrew Low House, with a detour to see several other Norris designs along the way, including the famous Mercer-Williams House, immortalized in The Garden of Good and Evil. Built for Civil War General Hugh Mercer, the great-grandfather of legendary Savannah composer Johnny Mercer, this house was Norris’s last commission in Savannah.
“The growth and wealth of the coastal South prior to the outbreak of war was the mortar which held every brick and expensive piece of granite together in Norris’ fine architecture, and the South is richer for it, and richer still to have so many of his buildings preserved for history.” Mike Walker, “The Savannah Architecture of John S. Norris.” From PorterBriggs.com.
The John Norris Architecture Trolley tours run continuously from 10 am to 4pm, between the Green-Meldrim House and the Andrew Low House. Pick-up/drop-off locations are at the NW corner of Bull and Harris Streets and at the front of The Andrew Low House.
Your ticket allows admission to all four tours. Allow 30 minutes per tour.