Impressive in workmanship and size, the park-side mansion was built in 1873 for Samuel Pugh Hamilton and his family . Mr . Hamilton was a successful businessman and prominent Savannah citizen and alderman .
He and his wife, Sarah V . Hamilton, created a social center for Savannahs elite, hosting a variety of society activities in their home .
The Hamilton mansion was the first residence in Savannah with electricity . In 1883 electric lights were installed in the salon . Spectators witnessing the inaugural room lighting feared the house would explode . The entire house was fitted with electric lights by 1886 . It was no coincidence that the illustrious Samuel Hamilton became the President of the Brush Electric Light & Power Company around the same time his prestigious mansion was illuminated, encouraging the acceptance of the invention .
Because of the Hamilton mansions tin roof, it withstood the Savannah fire of 1898 . All of the homes on Lafayette Square survived the fire due to their heat resistant roofing . A neighbor on the square, St . John the Baptist Cathedral completed the same year as the Hamilton mansion was not as fortunate .
In 1915 Dr . Francis Turner purchased the house from the Hamilton estate . He and his family lived there until 1926, when they opened the house up for boarding . The mansion became a home for the Marine Hospital nurses in 1928 . The Turner family moved back to the mansion in the 1940s, and the basement of the house served as office space for Dr . Turners practice . Dr . Turner was known by neighbors as an electric car enthusiast, preferring electric to the noise and smell of gas cars .
The Turner family sold the house to the Cathedral of St . John the Baptist in 1965 . The Cathedral purchased the property to provide a playground for their school, nearby . Once this plan published, the Historic Savannah Foundation began petitioning to save the house from demolition . After years of negotiations the mansion was saved from destruction in the late 1960s by the Historic Savannah Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1955 to protect endangered buildings in Savannahs historic district .
Over the next 30 years the Hamilton-Turner House under several owners and management was an apartment building . The house was embroiled in scandal under the management of Joe Odom . His raucous parties made famous through the John Berendt book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil troubled neighbors on Lafayette Square .
The Hamilton-Turner mansion was converted into a bed and breakfast in 1997 by Charlie and Sue Strickland . The Hamilton-Turner Inn restoration and preservation passed to Rob and Jane Sales in February of 2003 . The present owners take seriously the task of continuing the legacy of maintaining and upgrading this fine historic building in cooperation with the Historic Savannah Foundation . As long time Innkeepers, Susie Ridder plans to put her experience to good use, over the next three years, investing a considerable amount to do necessary restoration to the building, returning The Hamilton-Turner Inn to its original grandeur .