A Few Things You Didn’t Know About The Marshall House

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About The Marshall House

The Marshall House has long been known for its great location on Broughton Street, its superior service and as an authentic historic Savannah hotel.  Here are a few fun and interesting things you might not know about The Marshall House.

1.  Mary Marshall is still here.   No, not as a ghost, but in a portrait painted by Peter Laurens in 1830.  The portrait currently hangs behind the front desk, so Mary greets every guest at check-in.  The painting was purchased from the Estate of Jim Williams, a well known Savannah preservationist and antiques dealer made famous by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Mary Marshall Painting
Portrait of Mary Marshall painted in 1830 by artist Peter Laurens.


2.  Mary’s husband is here too!  Mary’s husband was James Marshall, a banker.  His portrait hangs above the fireplace in the library.  (This is a modern drawing done in charcoal by artist Zach Issen.)

This portrait of Mary Marshall's husband, James, is displayed over the fireplace in the library at The Marshall House.
This portrait of Mary Marshall’s husband, James, is displayed over the fireplace in the library at The Marshall House.


3.  Our First Guest Review was Published in 1852.  The Savannah Morning News published a heart-felt endorsement on July 31, 1852:  “Following the advice of a friend, I stopped at the Marshall House, a new first class hotel, opened here a few weeks ago.  The parlors and sleeping rooms are handsomely furnished.”   Modern day reviews rank The Marshall House consistently among the top Savannah hotels, and a readers’ poll by Savannah Magazine this year named the hotel the “Best Boutique Hotel” in town.    Write your own review here.

Named 2014 Best Boutique Hotel in Savannah
Named 2014 Best Boutique Hotel in Savannah


4.  The verandah wasn’t original to the hotel, but almost!  The 120-foot iron verandah added in 1857, six years after the hotel was constructed. Ralph Meldrim (owner of the Green-Meldrim House where General Sherman stayed during the Union Troops occupation of Savannah during the Civil War), was proprietor of The Marshall House at the time.  It was re-constructed and replicated during the hotel’s major renovation in 1998.  It’s now considered an iconic symbol of the property, and its a favorite for returning guests.

Original iron verandah at The Marshall House, installed in 1857.
Original iron verandah at The Marshall House, installed in 1857.


The verandah today.


5.  We Make a Great Christmas Gift.  General William Tecumseh Sherman and his Union Troops used The Marshall House in 1864-65 as a hospital.   History buffs will recall that General Sherman presented the City of Savannah to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift.  These days, we encourage Marshall House gift certificates at Christmas.  It’s just a lot easier than trying to gift the whole city, and still an makes an impressive gift!

Savannah as a Christmas Gift!
Savannah makes a great Christmas Gift! A copy of the 1864 letter to President Lincoln.


6.   Mary Marshall was a fire department patroness.  In 1867, Mary Marshall contributed start-up funds to a volunteer fire department so The Marshall House and other properties in Savannah could have some fire protection.  They called it Marshall Hose Company in her honor.

7.  In the hotel’s early days, rates started at $3 per night.  In 1870, The Marshall House charged $3 per day for a room.  We are pretty sure this did not include complimentary WiFi or cable television.  However, they may have parked your horse for you.

8.  Joel Chandler Harris lived here.   Famous for authoring the “Uncle Remus” stories, Mr. Harris was also the associate editor at the Savannah Morning News and was considered Georgia’s leading humor columnist at the time.   Mr. Harris lived in the “Florida House” – a boarding house that later became a part of The Marshall House in 1880.

Joel Chandler Harris (1873)
Joel Chandler Harris (1873)



9.  The Marshall House sat empty for 42 years.  In 1957, The Marshall House closed its doors.  The hotel was 106 years old, and its owners at the time faced expensive retrofits to comply with new state fire codes.  (Apparently, throwing around the fact that Mary Marshall supported the volunteer fire department in 1867 did not help.)  The hotel remained closed until 1998-99 when extensive renovations were done, giving us The Marshall House we know today.

Extensive renovations, totaling $10.5 million, were underway in 1998.
Extensive renovations, totaling $10.5 million, were begun in 1998.
The Marshall House
Renovations underway, this photo shows the hotel under construction before the verandah was added.