The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Garrard House in Gordonston



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How old do you think Sugar’s mother Genette looks?  She’s the one on the left.  The little girl on the right is actually her niece, Mary, the child of Genette’s sister Margaret, who was the oldest in the family and Genette was the youngest.

Mary was born about 1918, and her brother Billy in 1919.  So let’s imagine it’s about 1920, perhaps early in the year during cooler weather, given that the childen are wearing coats.  Perhaps the matriarch of this group, Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, would walk with her little daughter Genette over to the Garrard house, and help take care of the children.  I’m completely making that up.  But they did live in the same neighborhood, so why wouldn’t they?

Here’s the Garrard house.  Let’s imagine again that the time frame is about 1920.  I don’t know yet when the house was built.


Here’s the sales brochure again.  The Garrard house is on the bottom row on the left.



I’ve cropped the photo out of the brochure.  Here it is.


The tree on the left seems to be much bigger, and the side arbor seems vine-covered.




The address is right, but the house has been changed a lot.  I see dormer windows on the 3rd floor now. And the foliage on the right property line is so dense from the street all the way back that we couldn’t get a proper shot from that angle.  At any rate, the arbor has been enclosed to make a room, and yet another room was added onto the end of that.  The enclosed arbor still has the columns which are visible above; at least, one column is visible.

In 1928 Margaret and her husband William Garrard were living at 7 Kinzie in Gordonston.


In 1930, they are living at 600 Chatham Crescent, which is not in Gordonston at all.  Remember there’s not a 1929 City Directory for Savannah, unless Sugar has a copy in a closet.



So we’re wondering why both the Lawtons and the Garrards left beautiful Gordonston around 1929, when suddenly we realize…

The Depression.


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2 Responses to “The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Garrard House in Gordonston”

  1. Judith Says:

    So it hit even them hard? The house is so beautiful.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      They had a lot to lose, I suppose. There’s that country music song that says they didn’t know there was a Depression because times were always hard, and nothing was really different.
      I believe that William Garrard was in real estate development in addition to other things. He and Margaret divorced, and he moved to Virginia. Margaret in her later years lived 122 East Taylor Street with her mother, Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, according to the city directories.


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