After our visit to Colonial Cemetery in Savannah, we decided to stop and do a tour of the Andrew Low home. Andrew Low was a wealthy merchant who had this home built for him and his first wife in 1848. Sadly, his first wife and their son died before the house was completed, so when Andrew Low moved into the house with his two daughters, he was a devastated widow. He married his second wife 5 years later, and they had three more daughters and a son, and one baby that died in infancy. But Andrew seems to have been somewhat cursed with women, as his second wife died in 1863 in her early thirties.
The home has 5 bedrooms and a bathroom with an indoor flush toilet and running water! An elaborate rainwater collection system collected water in below the house, where it was manually pumped to a 500 gallon cistern in the attic above the bathroom. That way, if you wanted to draw a bath or wash your hands at the faucet, gravity made it simple! If I remember correctly, the metal bathtub also had a mechanism for heating the water (likely by putting coal into a container built around the bathtub). Not bad for 1848!
Andrew Low was friends with Robert E. Lee, and Lee was the godfather of Andrew’s youngest daughter Jessie. He stayed for a week in the house during a visit to Savannah in 1870 and during that visit, the Lows invited Joe E. Johnston, Andrew Lawton, and J.F. Gilmer, 3 of Lee’s Generals during the Civil War, over for dinner. Lee had not seen Johnston since the Civil War ended, so I can only imagine what that dinner was like! It would have been so cool to have been able to sit in! At any rate, the bedroom where Lee stayed during that 1870 visit is now called the Lee Bedroom (what creativity!).
Andrew Low also had the distinction of being the father-in-law of Juliette Gordon Low, who married Andrew’s son William Mackay Low in 1886 (the same year that Andrew died). If you were a Girl Scout, you may have heard of Juliette – her nickname was Daisy – because she founded the Girl Scouts. She came from another wealthy Savannah family, and had the opportunity to travel Europe extensively during her school years. She and William lived in England for several years and she traveled back to Savannah on occasion before William died in 1905. Sadly, the marriage wasn’t a happy one, and Juliette and William were already separated by the time he died.
In 1911, Juliette met Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England, who is the founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. She brought the movement back to the US and founded the Girl Guides here in 1912. A year later, she changed the name to the Girl Scouts. Juliette wanted the Girl Scouts to give girls the opportunity to do the same outdoor activities as the boys did – camping and hiking and spending time outdoors, etc., so she made the Girl Scouts different than the Girl Guides of Europe at the time, which focused more on domestic skills and activities for girls.
She also embraced girls with disabilities at a time when disabled children were not given these types of opportunities (Juliette Gordon Low was almost entirely deaf herself) and the Girl Scouts gave girls the chance to get more education in business and the sciences, and to prepare for a role outside the home. It seems pretty mundane now, but in 1912 that was cutting edge! Daisy spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Girl Scouts, and died at the Andrew Low house in 1927, after a battle with breast cancer.
The entire tour was interesting, because I didn’t know anything about Andrew Low and not much about the founding of the Girl Scouts (I even was a Girl Scout for a couple of years, but I must not have been paying attention when that lesson was taught). I did feel like our tour guide rushed us through and didn’t give us any opportunity to ask questions. I was thankful that we were not on a tour with a gaggle of Girl Scouts – they came in right before we left – a whole herd of them! It must have been some sort of Girl Scout jamboree week, because there were Girl Scouts everywhere! More on the invasion of the Girl Scouts later…
After our Andrew Low house tour, we stopped for some cold drinks at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Gift Shop, located across the street from the Cathedral itself. I had a frozen raspberry lemonade and John had an iced Americano. Mine was delicious – perfect to cool down on a hot day! We sat for awhile enjoying our drinks and relaxing, and then headed over to the railroad museum, but decided not to go in. I think Jon was getting kind of touristed out at this point – and he didn’t think that we could beat the Railroad Museum we had seen in Sacramento. For more on the Sacramento Railroad Museum…
So, as our energy was flagging from being out in the hot sun all day, we decided to head back to our room for a little rest. But only until the wine social began!