Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mansion Offices

I mentioned in a 4/8/09 post the transition of Savannah mansions into civic, institutional or office buildings throughout the mid-1900s. These photos from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) compiled after 1933 show two Savannah mansions retro-fitted as offices and businesses, revealing interesting juxtapostions like the formica lunch counter latched onto the ornate 19th-century fireplace, the Coke machine and the chandelier medallion. I like to see the sleek mid-century file cabinets and typewriters housed within the Victorian-trimmed rooms. Within the past twenty years, most of these mansions became house museums or again single-family homes, though often not a primary residence.

Library of Congress, HABS: Anderson-Leslie House, 4 West Oglethorpe

Library of Congress, HABS: Abram Minis House, 204 East Jones Street

The significant fact is that, in these cases, good buildings were preserved and made useful during the ebb and flow of economy and cultural values over the past century.

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