When it comes to the latest trends in women's apparel, there's no better place to shop till you drop than Downtown Chucktown. And if you're searching for the finest threads in Historic Savannah, look no further than Copper Penny - the Lowcountry's go-to shop for anyone that has a passion for fashion.

We have been dressing women in Historic Savannah for over 34 years and offer upscale designer collections curated with a Southern eye. Here, women from around the United States discover sophisticated, effortless beauty for every season. Whether you're looking for a sassy new dress to impress that special someone or the perfect outfit for your next vacation, your options are endless at Copper Penny.

With easy-to-find locations close to Historic Savannah's hottest spots, our curated selection of the newest, most popular women's clothing lines reflects the effortless glamour of Historic Savannah. Whether you're a tidy professional or a fierce trend-setter, our goal is to help you find the perfect look for your own unique style. With designer brands like CK Bradley and Holst & Lee on hand year-round, finding your new look is easy and fun when you visit Copper Penny.

Our clothing lines give ladies a refreshing mix of one-of-a-kind authenticity with real wearability, allowing them to shine with confidence and style all year long. So, go ahead and spoil yourself - you deserve to look like a million bucks!

Areas Near Our Stores

Find the Perfect Dress to Impress

Diamonds are pretty and all, but honestly? Dresses are a girl's best friend. Dresses are fun, comfortable, and versatile. At Copper Penny, they're also fashionable and cute. We have a huge selection of women's dresses in Historic Savannah, GA, from stylistic sheath dresses to drop-waist styles that will make your girlfriends jealous.

We offer several styles and shapes from which you can pick. Not sure what style fits best?

It all starts at the waist:

 Boutique Clothing Historic Savannah, GA
 Boutique Dresses Historic Savannah, GA

A-Line Waist

These dresses are made to fit your waist and then gradually flare out towards the hem. A-line dresses are excellent for minimizing thighs, hips, and midsections while pulling the eyes to your bust. This style of dress is a great fit for almost any body type. There's a reason why so many brides settle on A-Line dresses for their big day! With plenty of varieties, this is a kind of dress that you can wear again and again.

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 Cloths Shop Historic Savannah, GA

Empire Waist

Like the A-Line style, empire dresses are made to fit through your bust. Rather than creating a distinctly angular shape like the A-Line, the Empire style flows from the bust down. This is another kind of dress that fits many body types. From curvy to apple body shapes, the Empire draws focus to your bust and minimizes everything else. For lovely ladies on the shorter side, this style defines your silhouette, especially if you choose a maxi length dress.

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 Cloths For Women Historic Savannah, GA

Drop Waist

A throwback to the roaring 20's style flapper dresses, Drop Waist dresses look best on lean, athletic bodies that don't have too many curves in the hip area. The key to pulling off a Drop Waist style dress is to ensure that it's not hugging you. This dress is best worn when it is able to hang freely on your body.

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Once you know the kind of waist that fits your body type, it's time to find your shape. A few of our most popular dress shapes include:

Fit & Flare Dresses in Historic Savannah

Any clothing store for women in Historic Savannah, GA, worth its salt, will have plenty of fit & flare dresses for you to try. This common-shaped dress is one of the most popular on the market, mainly because they look great on every woman, regardless of age or shape. A timeless choice, fit & flare dresses fit through the bodice and flare out just below your hip. This helps develop a balanced, slimming silhouette for most women. If you want to accentuate your best assets and hide everything else, ask our experienced fashionistas to show you some the most popular fit & flare dresses at Copper Penny.
Time to start doing your happy dance! Fit & flare dresses have very balanced proportions, making them a true winner for every body type. Women with athletic builds love this dress for the extra curves. Women with apple-shaped bodies love how fit & flare dresses define their waistlines. Because this dress already looks like an hourglass on the hanger, it will be a natural fit for ladies with such a figure.
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 Clothing Stores Historic Savannah, GA
 Fashion Stores Historic Savannah, GA

Shift Dresses in Historic Savannah

Shift dresses are typically rectangular in shape and tend to be comfy and forgiving since they aren't fitted. Also called a column dress, the shift dress is a great choice for polished professionals needing a conservative, fashionable outfit for work.
These dresses look fabulous on women with athletic, lean shapes and women with an apple-like figure. This kind of dress doesn't work well with a belt, so ladies with an hourglass figure may not be able to show off their curves in a shift. Try pairing this dress with a nice pair of heels for a beautiful new look!
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Wrap Dresses in Historic Savannah

Wrap dresses are one of the most popular styles on the market, because they give ladies of most shapes and sizes a flattering, fashionable dress option.
If you have an hourglass, apple, or generally curvy body shape, you're going to love wrap dresses. This style of dress offers a natural waist while placing emphasis on your bust. Wrap dresses give you a balanced silhouette and, with a knee-length fit, are great for any type of color or style, both day and nightwear.
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 Fashion Boutique Historic Savannah, GA

Timeless Tops for Every Style

Unless you're feeling extra sassy, chances are you're wearing a top at this very moment. Tops are garments that cover the top half of your body. At Copper Penny, we have an endless selection of tops in a wide range of styles - from basic tees to blouses and everything in between. If you're looking for the highest quality women's tops in Historic Savannah, GA, you just hit the jackpot!

With that said, finding the right top for the right occasion is easier said than done. However, at Copper Penny, we make finding the right top fun. Whether you're looking for a top that makes a statement or you need a classic button-down for a subdued style, we've got your back. We only carry the most popular tops from the best brands and designers around the world.

 Ladies Clothing Historic Savannah, GA

Here are just of our most popular tops:

 Online Boutique Historic Savannah, GA

Women's Poplin Tops in Historic Savannah

Sometimes called broadcloth tops, poplins have classic characteristics and are often woven with an over/under weave. This kind of weave gives more substance to your top while also giving you room to breathe. Poplin shirts are typically soft and smooth, and are great for everyday business attire, some formal occasions, and for certain ceremonies. Sweet and feminine, our Bruna poplin eyelet bib top features ruffles at the sleeves and an eyelet lace yoke at the front. Pair your poplin with your favorite pair of shorts or jeans for a contemporary, relaxed look.

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Boutique Historic Savannah, GA

Women's Wrap Tops in Historic Savannah

Great for wearing solo or layered over a camisole or tank top, wrap tops are lightweight, versatile, and great for many different occasions. Wrap tops go well with jeans, maxi dresses, and high-waisted jeans or trousers. Our V-Neck Wrap SLV Top by Jayden is uber-popular at Copper Penny and the perfect choice for dressing down or dressing up. The choice is yours!

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 Boutique Clothing Historic Savannah, GA

Women's Off the Shoulder Tops in Historic Savannah

For a dose of feminine fashion, be sure you add an off-the-shoulder top to your everyday wardrobe. A casual, sexy choice, off-the-shoulder tops have unique necklines that cut across your upper arms and chest, leaving your shoulders bare. The result is a flirty flash of skin, which elongates your neck and gives a relaxed, "daytime casual" look. Our Nola off-the-shoulder top pairs perfectly with shorts or even a flowy skirt and is hand-woven in Spain using Jacquard fabric.

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 Boutique Dresses Historic Savannah, GA

Women's Tank Tops in Historic Savannah

Who doesn't love a good tank top?! Tank tops are lightweight, versatile, and equally great for lounging in the yard or running errands on weekends. Tank tops lend an air of simplicity to your outfit and can be styled in endless ways. Take our Velvet Heart Victory Tank, for instance. This tank is a refreshing update on our classic sleeveless tank top, complete with fray details and a scoop neck. Throw in the fact that it's machine washable, and you have a wardrobe winner.

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Having trouble finding the best top for your size and style? As the most trusted women's clothing boutique in Historic Savannah, GA, Copper Penny has helped women discover new looks in the Lowcountry for more than two decades. We take pride in providing a personalized, boutique experience for our customers. If you have questions, give us a call or swing by one of our locations. We would be happy to give you our professional opinion.

Until then, here's a quick guide you can follow to help you find the right fit for your women's top in Historic Savannah:

How to Find the Right Fit for Your Women's Top

When choosing a women's top for your outfit, you have to consider how comfortable, confident, and beautiful you will feel. The best way to feel your best in an outfit is to make sure it fits correctly. To get started, you'll want to take your measurements. For most women's tops, the best areas to focus on are your hips, waist, and chest.

  • Hip Measurements: Measuring your hips is fairly easy. Take your measuring tape and use it to wrap around the widest area of your hips.
  • Waist Measurements: Take your measuring tape and place it at the very top of your hip bone. Wrap it all the way around your body. Try to keep your measuring tape in line with your belly button. For the most accurate measurements, stand up straight and breathe normally.
  • Chest Measurements: For an accurate chest measurement, take the end of your measuring tape and place it on the fullest area of your bust. From there, wrap the tape around your body, under your armpits, and around the blades of your shoulders. Then, wrap the tape tightly from the back of your body to the front, where you started.
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 Cloths Shop Historic Savannah, GA

Need help measuring? Swing by Copper Penny and ask one of our friendly sales associates to help you out! While you're there, don't forget to check out our huge selection of women's tops in Historic Savannah, GA.

Contact Us

Looking to take your style to the next level? You can also get in touch with a personal stylist directly from our website. With a personal stylist by your side, you can find stunning looks for specific occasions, using comfortable clothing in your favorite colors and cuts. Copper Penny is your one-stop-shop for fashionable, fun, fabulous designer clothing in Historic Savannah. But don't take our word for it – come see for yourself!

Latest News in Historic Savannah, GA

8 things to know before visiting Savannah

The Savannah of years past conjures up images of high society and tradition, with grand homes and dramatic oak trees like those featured in the famous book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.But these days, it’s a welcoming and eclectic place where you’ll find locals, art students and visitors all enjoying the same spaces. The city draws in history lovers to admire the carefully preserved historic homes and museu...

The Savannah of years past conjures up images of high society and tradition, with grand homes and dramatic oak trees like those featured in the famous book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

But these days, it’s a welcoming and eclectic place where you’ll find locals, art students and visitors all enjoying the same spaces. The city draws in history lovers to admire the carefully preserved historic homes and museums, and foodies for the restaurant scene influenced by a wide variety of cultures. It’s easy to get around and relatively safe, making it a popular escape for many travelers.

Here’s what you need to know about the Hostess City before you go.

1. Spend at least three days in Savannah

If it’s your first time visiting, you’ll need to spend at least three days in Savannah to even scratch the surface. Most travelers choose the weekend, arriving mid-day on Friday. This is a great time to get your bearings and explore without an agenda. Saturday is when you’ll see most of the attractions and museums. Don’t expect many places to be open on Sunday until late, so get one last meal in before hitting the road.

If you have longer to spend in Savannah, plan on exploring beyond the historic district – spend some time in the Starland District, Tybee Island and the Isle of Hope.

2. Use rideshare apps from the airport to maximize time

If you’re arriving by plane, it will be at Savannah/Hilton-Head International Airport, which serves the coastal areas in both Georgia and South Carolina. Depending on what time you land, it should take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to get to the heart of downtown, varying wildly based on traffic.

Rideshare companies are available, including Lyft and Uber. You can pick them up from the north entrance of baggage claim. Taxis can also be hailed from outside of the airport.

The city’s local bus system, Chatham Area Transit or CAT, also stops at the airport on the West Chatham Route 3. It’s not the fastest option, but definitely the cheapest, with rates starting at $1.50 per ride.

3. You probably don’t need a car to get around Savannah

Just about every car rental company has a presence in Savannah, but for the most part, you won’t need your own vehicle to get around the city. Savannah’s historic district is walkable, with most destinations no more than a 15-20 minute stroll through the tree-lined squares. Having a car can be a hassle, especially when it comes to finding metered parking spots or decks.

The DOT bus is a free shuttle that visits all of the city’s top landmarks, including the Downtown Loop from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Eastern Wharf and the Forsyth Loop, which goes from Johnson Square to Victory Drive. The Savannah Belles ferry is also free, with a triangular route to the Westin hotel across the river, City Hall Landing at the eastern side of River Street, and the Waving Girl statue on the east side of River Street. If you want to go further, the Token Transit app is an easy way to purchase a ticket in advance. All you have to do is show it to the driver when you board.

The only exception is if you want to visit Tybee Island and the outer areas of the city. In that case, renting a car for a day might be prudent as it can take around 25 minutes to get there, and the island is big enough that you’ll want a way to get around. Just keep in mind that in many places, including the beach access points, you’ll have to pay to park.

4. Reservations are essential for the best restaurants

There are plenty of great restaurants in Savannah, including award-winners from celebrity chefs, but you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to go – especially during high season and events like St. Patrick’s Day or SCAD graduation.

The Grey, Husk and Common Thread are among the most sought-after tables that you can book in advance online. There’s also greater availability at more casual restaurants, which you can make a reservation for if you’re traveling with a group. Alternatively, go during happy hour or sit at the bar.

5. Yes, you can walk around Savannah with alcohol (with exceptions)

Visitors to Savannah tend to be surprised that the city’s alcohol laws that allow you to legally take your drink with you, but there are exceptions to this rule. First and foremost, the drinking age in the United States is 21, which is absolutely enforced in Savannah. You must have a legal ID that is up-to-date, including a driver’s license or passport.

The open container policy applies to the historic district, from River Street to Jones Street. You can only carry a drink in a plastic 16-ounce cup or can, so ask for a “go cup” from a bar. You can only have one drink at a time, and you can’t have a drink in a motor vehicle. If you don’t follow the rules, you may get arrested!

6. The best neighborhood to stay in depends on what you’re interested in

River Street and the historic district are the most popular places to stay, especially for first-time visitors. There’s been a recent hotel boom, including the openings of the JW Marriott Plant Riverside District and the Thompson Savannah. But things can get rowdy on weekends and the incoming ships sound their horns at all hours – if sleep is what you’re after, you might want to look elsewhere.

The Ellis Square and Madison Square areas are a nice alternative because you can still walk to River Street, as well as the most beautiful areas in Savannah. The DeSoto Hotel and the Andaz Savannah are well-located with great amenities.

7. Pack light layers to handle the heat

While you might expect Savannah to be a very dressy city, most places you go will actually be casual. The only dress codes are in fine dining restaurants, but otherwise, comfort is key. Light colors and layers are best, especially during the summer months when the humidity is in full force.

Comfortable shoes are also important, especially if you’re walking all over town. Bringing a hand fan can help you cool off if you’re waiting in line to get into restaurants like Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House or just relaxing in one of the squares.

8. Savannah is a safe city

For the most part, Savannah is safer than other major cities. According to the latest crime statistics, the majority of crimes are car break-ins and petty theft. With that said, use common sense as you would anywhere else.

Walking alone at night is usually fine, but if you’re feeling nervous, opt for a taxi or pedicab. Drink responsibly and watch where you walk, especially on River Street, where the uneven bricks make it easy to trip. During the day, drink plenty of water to avoid overheating.

For the first time ever, Lonely Planet's experts have compiled the USA's 500 most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences. Ponder the scope of the Grand Canyon, delve into the history of a nation of immigrants at Ellis Island or wander across architectural grandeur at Golden Gate Bridge. Where will you go next?

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Savannah picks emancipated Black woman to replace name of slavery advocate on historic square

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia’s oldest city, steeped in history predating the American Revolution, made a historic break with its slavery-era past Thursday as Savannah’s city council voted to rename a downtown square in honor of a Black woman who taught formerly enslaved people to read and write.Susie King Taylor is the first person of color whose name will adorn one of Savannah’s 23 squares. It’s the ...

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia’s oldest city, steeped in history predating the American Revolution, made a historic break with its slavery-era past Thursday as Savannah’s city council voted to rename a downtown square in honor of a Black woman who taught formerly enslaved people to read and write.

Susie King Taylor is the first person of color whose name will adorn one of Savannah’s 23 squares. It’s the first time in 140 years that Savannah has approved a name change for one of the picturesque, park-like squares that are treasured features of the original plan for the city founded in 1733.

“It’s one thing to make history. It’s something else to make sense. And in this case, we’re making both,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said. He noted that five Black women sit on the nine-member city council, something people of Taylor’s era “never would have fathomed.”

Public spaces and monuments in the Southern city have long been dedicated almost exclusively to Georgia’s colonial founders, former governors, fallen war heroes and other prominent white men.

Other news

Georgia wants to study deepening Savannah’s harbor again on heels of $973 million dredging project

Savannah considers Black people and women for city square to replace name of slavery advocate

“It’s time for a woman-named square,” said Patt Gunn, a Savannah tour guide who led a group of activists that pushed for three years to have the square renamed for Taylor.

The oak-shaded square that will bear Taylor’s name near the southern edge of Savannah’s downtown historic district had spent 170 years named for John C. Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president from South Carolina who was a vocal supporter of slavery in the decades preceding the Civil War.

The Savannah City Council voted last November to get rid of the name Calhoun Square following a campaign by Gunn’s coalition, which argued he was unworthy of the honor in a city where 54% of the population is Black.

City officials stripped any signs with Calhoun’s name from the square immediately following that first vote. The space sat nameless for nine months as City Hall collected recommendations for a new name.

Some in Savannah strongly opposed the change. Resident David Tootle said Calhoun’s support for slavery was dead wrong but shouldn’t disqualify him, as a historical figure who served as vice president under two administrations.

Tootle filed suit last month arguing that removing signs with Calhoun’s name from the square violated a 2019 Georgia law passed to protect Confederate memorials and other public monuments. Tootle sought an injunction blocking city officials from voting on a new name, but never got a ruling from a judge.

“It’s not about Calhoun,” said Tootle, who is Black. “It’s the fact that we’re erasing history. We can’t erase somebody out of the history books and take their names off things because we don’t agree with them and thought they were bad.”

The mayor and council also voted to place a marker in the square explaining that it initially bore Calhoun’s name and why they chose to remove it.

Born to enslaved parents in 1848, Taylor was secretly taught to read and write as a girl living in Savannah. As a teenager during the Civil War, she fled to Georgia’s St. Simons Island, which was occupied by Union troops.

Taylor worked as a nurse for the Union Army, which in turn helped her organize a school to teach emancipated children and adults. After the war, Taylor set up two more schools for Black students. Before her death in 1912, Taylor became the only Black woman to publish a memoir of her life during the war.

The city council chose Taylor from a diverse group. Finalists also included a pastor who in 1777 founded one of America’s oldest Black churches in Savannah; a civil rights leader whose efforts peacefully desegregated the city in 1963; the women who kickstarted Savannah’s historic preservation movement in the 1950s; and an Army special operations pilot who saved his crew but perished in a 2014 helicopter crash in Savannah.

I spent 4 days in Savannah, Georgia. Here are 5 things that were worth it and one I'd skip next time.

I recently spent four days in Savannah, Georgia, a city known for its scenic riverfront, haunted buildings, and "Forrest Gump" filming locations.When I visit new cities, I love trying out everything from gimmicky tourist attractions and beloved restaurants to under-the-radar activities. During my trip, my mom and I explored ...

I recently spent four days in Savannah, Georgia, a city known for its scenic riverfront, haunted buildings, and "Forrest Gump" filming locations.

When I visit new cities, I love trying out everything from gimmicky tourist attractions and beloved restaurants to under-the-radar activities. During my trip, my mom and I explored the cobblestone streets and sauntering around the city to find the best things to do.

Here are five things we thought were worth the money and time on our short trip, and one that I'd skip next time.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room was worth the 45-minute wait outside.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is a culinary institution in Savannah. The original Wilkes boarding house opened in 1870, but Sema Wilkes took over in 1943, serving her delicious Southern food to hungry patrons.

After waiting outside for about 45 minutes, we were invited to sit at a communal table with six other people.

The all-you-can-eat spread, which was already on the table when we sat down, included every Southern staple imaginable, from fried chicken and macaroni and cheese to house-made pickles and okra with tomatoes. I counted about 30 different dishes, and that was before the dessert options of banana pudding or peach cobbler arrived.

Dining at Mrs. Wilkes costs $30 a person and is cash only.

The American Prohibition Museum was an under-the-radar activity that I loved.

I'm usually not a fan of gimmicky museums, but the American Prohibition Museum located in the heart of Savannah's City Market, was worth the $21.

We got to explore the only museum in the country dedicated to Prohibition, and it has 200 historic artifacts, restored cars from the 1920s, and interactive displays that help to bring history to life.

After perusing the museum's galleries, I ended up in a cool 1920s-inspired speakeasy and ordered a Chatham Artillery punch — a strong drink of rum, bourbon, sparkling wine, brandy, lemon, and sugar.

I learned that the drink is part of Savannah's storied history and supposedly dates back to the 1800s.

A food tour gave me a better sense of the city's culinary scene.

When I think of Savannah, or any Southern city, I have preconceived notions of the type of food I'm going to be eating — most include something fried or seafood.

Although Savannah has plenty of that, the Secret East Side/Port City Walking Food Tour we did taught me that not everything has to be battered and fried to be delicious.

The tour was about three hours long and stopped at six different places where our group of 12 tried a sampling of dishes. Some of the items included a South African-inspired chicken sandwich, a braised-beef taco, a fried pork chop, and a scoop of ice cream from a shop that's been open since 1919.

Overall, it was worth the $68 I paid. But next time I'd probably do one of the other food tours the company offers to try different restaurants and dishes.

A riverboat cruise gave us a unique perspective of the city.

One of my favorite activities we did in Savannah was the narrated harbor sightseeing riverboat cruise. It takes place on a red-and-white paddle-wheel boat, lasts about an hour and a half, and costs $35 for adults and $22 for kids.

During the cruise, we passed by the port of Savannah and the historic riverfront. Then we made our way to Old Fort Jackson, where there was a cannon-fire display complete with actors dressed in period garb.

The boat had indoor and outdoor seating, but I chose to sit outside to see everything better. I spotted a few bald eagles flying overhead and admired the unique skyline of Savannah's historic district.

We also enjoyed the fun and ease of the sightseeing trolley tour.

One touristy thing I can never get enough of is a sightseeing trolley or bus. I've done these types of activities in Key West, Paris, Barcelona, and now Savannah, and they continue to be worth the money for me.

The Old Town Trolley Tour in Savannah started at $39 a person, but goes up depending on the day and how many people have bought tickets already.

I rode around the city all day, and it was so fun. The trolley picks up guests from set locations, and you can get on and off as often as you wish. I loved the freedom of being able to explore different areas or grab a snack or cup of coffee.

While riding, the drivers also double as tour guides, telling us about historic monuments or famous places. Every driver had a different set of facts, so even if I passed by a location more than once, I learned something new each time.

Next time, I think I'll skip the Boo Y'all comedy ghost tour.

Doing a ghost tour in Savannah is one of the most hyped-up attractions, but I'm not one to walk through cemeteries at night. When I saw there was a comedy ghost tour that combined the history of the city with a bit of lighthearted fun, I was intrigued.

Our $33, 90-minute tour took place on an air-conditioned bus, which was nice. But that was about the only highlight for me.

Although some people might enjoy the type of humor on the tour, I didn't find our host that funny. I thought their jokes were more self-deprecating than anything else. Throughout the tour, costume-clad characters also joined our bus to tell a story about the historical figures they were representing. The storylines were fine, but again, not funny to me.

In the middle of the tour, the bus stopped for about 15 minutes at a local bar for drinks. When we got back to the bus, the guide noticed at least five people ditched the tour — I kind of wish I'd done the same.

First City Progress: Historic Savannah looking for preservation-minded Kiah House buyer

After sitting empty for more than 20 years wrapped in probate and falling into ruin, the Kiah House in Cuyler-Brownsville was saved from the wrecking ball by Historic Savannah Foundation, which bought the former museum and home in 2022 for $60,000.Now, HSF is looking to find a new owner for t...

After sitting empty for more than 20 years wrapped in probate and falling into ruin, the Kiah House in Cuyler-Brownsville was saved from the wrecking ball by Historic Savannah Foundation, which bought the former museum and home in 2022 for $60,000.

Now, HSF is looking to find a new owner for the Kiah House — one who will restore it to its former glory and use the 2,900-square-foot home to "bring a positive light back to the neighborhood," according to Ryan Jarles, HSF's Director of Preservation.

"I think a lot of people have assumed we would be rehabilitating the house," Jarles said. "Unfortunately, we just don't have that sort of funding capability. So, how the revolving fund's properties are sold is through a request for proposal."

The proposal ensures buyers must present evidence of the estimated $500,000 needed to restore the house, including the large window that dominates much of the façade, and a plan for how the property will be used. The minimum starting bid for the property is $99,595.

"With this property being so important to the community, we aren't even allowing people to submit a proposal until they've been vetted as someone who can produce a project that is going to be something that is utilized by the community," Jarles explained. "And someone who, frankly, has the funding to be able to move forward on a project of this size."

Opinion:Push to preserve Yamacraw Village more about public housing site's future than its past.

Virginia Jackson Kiah's legacy

The Kiah House was built in 1915, but underwent major renovations in 1959 when the Kiah family moved in and Virginia Jackson Kiah decided to open a museum on the property. Kiah was a lifelong educator, artist and Civil Rights advocate who believed in the power of preserving and sharing Black culture and history with the public. Kiah moved to Savannah in the 1950s with her husband, Dr. Calvin Kiah, and opened the museum in 1960. It closed in 1990 when Virginia Kiah moved to a nursing home. It has sat vacant ever since.

After Kiah's death in 2001, a two-decade legal battle and stakeholder infighting kept the house in "probate hell," according to Jarles. After threats from the city to condemn the now-blighted property, the Kiah House was placed on the "Places in Peril" list by the Georgia Trust Fund, which helped call attention to the property.

Historic Savannah Foundation's Revolving Fund

After working to purchase the house for two years, HSF closed on the property in April 2022. The property was purchased using the Revolving Fund, which "privately raises money, which is then used to purchase vacant, blighted, and endangered historic properties. HSF cleans them up, stabilizes and secures them if necessary, and then conducts a search for a preservation–minded buyer." The Revolving Fund was established in 1965 and has helped HSF save more than 400 properties, according to its website.

Since, HSF has been researching the property's significance, installed a temporary roof, and had assessments done to understand the work needed to restore the house to how it was when Kiah lived and worked in it.

HSF has also been working to get the Kiah House listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jarles said their application was approved, but has yet to be finalized. "The nomination process has been really eye-opening, meeting people who truly have a connection to the Kiahs and truly just want to see the building continue its existence," he said. "It's been really interesting and it's a heartening process."

One person who's been invested in saving the Kiah House — and preserving the Kiah's legacy — is Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon. She is a scholar-in-residence at Savannah State University and the CEO and founder of the African Diaspora Museology Institute in Savannah. She's worked for a decade to preserve the Kiah House, and was the driving force behind the historical marker that now stands in front of the 505 W. 36th St. property.

"She (Virginia Kiah) always called museums 'for the masses,'" Simon explained. "It was never, 'oh, this is a Black museum.' But as African-descended people, they knew well that we make up the masses, and those who probably wouldn't have been welcomed with big smiles and open arms at other museum facilities."

Simon, who also leads the Friends of Kiah House group, said she is ecstatic that HSF stepped up last year to buy the house, and trusts they will continue to protect its uniqueness as the proposal process begins.

'I'm just excited that they did not give up on it because they led the fight that got it out of probate," Simon said. "They're a valued and trusted entity in Savannah that looks at preservation, so we were blessed to have them step up. Because had it not been for them, we would still be fighting, 'Don't tear it down.' I'd be standing on the courthouse steps crying everyday."

HSF is pre-qualifying potential buyers now, and will do so until June 28. In July, they will begin accepting proposals, which will be scrutinized by the Revolving Fund committee, HSF staff, and the HSF board. Jarles said they aren't going to rush the process.

"If we don't like (your proposal), you will not get chosen," Jarles said, assuring that they won't allow the property to be turned into short-term vacation rentals or other cash-grab uses. "We've met all these people who really love the Kiahs, who love this building and want to see something good happen to it. And so, we're really making sure that we have the right to select someone who we know is going to do something impactful with this property."

Where To Stay In Savannah, Ga. For Your Next Trip

Savannah, Ga. is best known for its historic landmarks and scenic views. It is the perfect place to take a staycation if you live in the area or get an introduction to the state of Georgia. If you are determining where to stay in the Savannah, Ga. area, this guide can help.Southern hospitality and incredible architecture are hallmarks of Savannah’s charm and are partially credited for the ...

Savannah, Ga. is best known for its historic landmarks and scenic views. It is the perfect place to take a staycation if you live in the area or get an introduction to the state of Georgia. If you are determining where to stay in the Savannah, Ga. area, this guide can help.

Southern hospitality and incredible architecture are hallmarks of Savannah’s charm and are partially credited for the ranking of number 4 city in the United States (2023). Savannah is such a picturesque destination that the city is a popular setting for films (think “Forrest Gump”).

If a relaxed environment with coastal landscapes sounds like the perfect getaway, make sure Savannah is on your list.

Where To Stay In Savannah Georgia

Tybee Island District

Tybee Island is a well-known beach destination that can be reached by train or bus from Savannah. The island is the home of the Tybee Lighthouse Museum, Tybee Island Beach and many other attractions. Visitors can enjoy many fun beach activities like dolphin watching, sea kayaking or even boating.

While visitors can expect a beautiful relaxing vacation, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is nearby so the beach area will be inhabited by a younger group at times. Whether the goal is to have an affordable and active beach trip or scope out the area for retirement, Tybee Island should be on your bucket list of places to visit during a trip to Savannah.

Tybee Island is the closest beach to Savannah, so both locals and tourists appreciate the area. Rentals are popular options in the area and Tybee Island has more than 1,000 properties to choose from. Oceanfront Cottage Rentals has a variety of luxury vacation rental homes that vary from condos to quaint cottages to beachside mansions. There are over 500 hotel and motel rooms available, but only one beachfront hotel. The Desoto Beach Hotel has a historic appeal to it and is in a prime location for guests who prefer to be within walking distance of restaurants and shops.

Moon River District

The Moon River District, which is just 20 minutes south of downtown Savannah, is a contrast to the more metropolitan sides of Savannah. The area has many outdoor activities and hiking is popular because the Moon River District is so picturesque. Named after the song by Johnny Mercer, this district embodies the song’s jazzy and elegant gusto.

Inns are the popular choice for visitors in The Moon River District. The River Street Inn has exceptional reviews and is a conveniently located historical building. This Savannah inn provides four star service and provides its guests with a serene view of the Savannah River. The Inn is decorated with a mix of industrial and antique pieces and offers spacious rooms with natural lighting.

Gateway District

This district is located on the busy stretch off Interstate 95 with plenty of space and activities for tourists. For solo travelers, this area of Savannah may be preferred so it is easier to keep active and occupied. Stop by the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens or shop at the Keller’s flea market to pass the time between the pub and beach front.

Gateway District is a more lively part of Savannah, so visitors can expect economical accommodations. Since this area veers on the southwest edges of Savannah, the accommodations and neighborhoods are surrounded with popular restaurants. Visitors can stay at hotels like the Holiday Inn in Savannah, located 10 minutes away from the airport and the Savannah Historic District.

Starland District

The Starland District is known as the artsy side of Savannah which has plenty of unique shops and creative buildings to peruse. The neighborhood was designated by two SCAD students in the late 1990’s and reflects that in its bohemian style. Appreciators of vintage and eclectic spirits will flourish in this district which has plenty of shops and record stores. The Starlandia Supply, a hybrid art supply store, is one of the staples of the area that highlights the origins of the Starland District.

Visitors can expect unique dwellings and vacation homes in Midtown. Starland proudly promotes local artists and businesses, which is reflected in the style of accommodations. Homes are mostly rented in this area as the district retains its charm and close knit community.

The districts of Savannah, Ga. differ but each district has something special to offer and accommodations to match the needs of guests!


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