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March 19, 2005
John Norris designed this home for him as well as several other famous Savannah buildings. Andrew was a man who was lucky in business, but his personal life was marred by tragedy. His first wife, Sarah, died at the young age of 31, leaving him with two young daughters. His second wife, Mary, also died in childbirth at 31, leaving him with three more daughters and a son. The daughters were educated in England and all married Englishmen. The house was host to many famous people, including William Makepeace Thackery and Robert E. Lee. That alone cannot account for its immense popularity. The most famous resident of the house is only a Low by marriage. She is Juliette Gordon Low, Andrew’s daughter in law who inherited the house in 1886. She married William Mackey Low known as Willy. Willy vowed to never work a day in his life and he kept that vow. For the first years of their marriage, Juliette enjoyed his lifestyle with him, but after a while it wore thin. I don’t imagine that there is anyone who doesn’t know who Juliette is, but in case you don’t, she founded the Girl Scouts of America. She did this in 1912 and lived on in this house until her death in 1927. She bequeathed the carriage house in the rear to the Girls Scouts. The Colonial Dames of America bought the Low House in 1928 and began to fill it with period pieces. It was opened as a house museum in 1970.
You visit the house on a guided tour. We were lucky enough to be the only ones on our tour, so we got undivided attention and were able to ask lots of questions. Picture-taking was not allowed in the house. Our guide, Eve, was very knowledgeable and made the tour interesting. As in most Norris Houses, the kitchen was in the house. Being from New York, he knew that gas lighting was the way of the future and had the house piped for it. The walls are two-feet thick, and the ceilings are 13½-feet high. This helped to keep the house cool in the summer. There is a fireplace in every room and they are made of Egyptian marble. It is a beautiful house, but one you can imagine yourself living in.
From journal Strolling in Savannah
July 24, 2000
From journal A Novel Approach to Savannah