Discover the Founders of the Savannah Foundation - In 1955, downtown Savannah was in deplorable condition. Beautiful old houses and significant commercial buildings were being destroyed.
Although some restoration efforts were going on at the time, the core of the city was rotting. Seven determined, civic-minded women joined to preserve and restore Savannah.
"In the spring of 1955, downtown Savannah was in deplorable condition. Beautiful old houses and significant commercial buildings were being destroyed. Others were fast deteriorating. . . . [Although some restoration efforts were going on at the time,] the core of the city was rotting. Finally Savannah lost the beautiful City Market," said Mrs. Anna Hunter, one of the founders of Historic Savannah.
She along with six other determined, civic-minded women joined to preserve and restore Savannah. When Historic Savannah Foundation incorporated on July 6, 1955, the immediate challenge was to raise $22,500 to purchase the Davenport House.
By September, the funds were raised; the Davenport House was purchased and saved from demolition. In March 1963 the Davenport House opened as a museum.
The Founders of Historic Savannah Foundation
Katherine Judkins Clark - 1897 – 1993
Native Virginian, Katherine Judkins Clark adopted Savannah as her home when she married Reuben Grove Clark in 1921. Long before there was an historic district, they made their home on Gaston Street; later they moved to the 1793 Odingsell House on East St. Julian Street.
Kass, as she was known, began her work as a preservationist in 1948 when she became chair of the committee to restore the Owens-Thomas House, which was left to the Telfair Academy.
Elinor Adler Dillard - 1903-1992
Elinor Adler Dillard, widow of Sam G. Alder and William E. Dillard, was a native New Yorker. She moved to Savannah on her marriage to Adler in 1921. Long active in community affairs, Mrs. Dillard was a member of the Woman’s Board of Bethesda, the Family Services of Savannah, the Record Club and the League of Women Voters.
Anna Colquitt Hunter - 1893-1985
Native Savannahian Anna Colquitt Hunter was the first woman to win Savannah’s top civic award, the Oglethorpe Trophy, for her contribution to community life. Besides her involvement in Savannah’s historic preservation movement, she was a career woman, having spent 45 years as a newspaper reporter, retiring as an editor. She also had a creative life outside of her career. She began painting in 1946 and was featured in a show at the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973. Her husband was George L. C. Hunter.
Dorothy Ripley Roebling - 1904-1977
Dorothy Ripley Roebling and her husband Robert C. Roebling lived at Modena Plantation, Savannah Georgia . She left a legacy of community service including work with the Historic Savannah Foundation, serving on the boards of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Savannah Association of Retarded Children. She was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, the Mayflower Society, the Colonial Dames of America, the Georgia Conservancy, the Junior League, the Savannah Art Association and the Trustee’s Garden Club.
Lucy Barrow McIntire - 1886-1967
A native of Athens, Georgia, Lucy Barrow McIntire spent most of her life in Savannah. She was the widow of Frank P. McIntire, a Savannah attorney. Known as "Miss Lucy," she was the descendent of Georgia leaders including General Henry R. Jackson and the Davenport family of Savannah.
She was one of the community’s most active leaders in civic, cultural and charitable affairs. She was the first president of the Junior League of Savannah, served as home service director of the American Red Cross and was on the board of the Crittenton Home. In 1958, she was named Savannah’s Citizen of the Year.
Nola McEvoy Roos - 1895-1980
Nola McEvoy began her involvement in politics after her marriage to Louis J. Roos, a Savannah business and alderman. She was active until her retirement as public relations director of Civil Defense. She served as clerk of Savannah City Council, as a member and vice president of the Chatham-Savannah Board of Education and as vice chairman of the Chatham County Democratic Executive Committee.
In her civic life, her main interest was the Business and Professional Women’s Club. She served as local and state president. She also served as fund-raising chairperson for the American Red Cross, as a board member of the Girl Scout Council and was the first president of the Women’s Council of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce.
Jane Adair Wright - 1901-1991
Born in Hillsborough, Ohio, Jane Adair Wright came to Savannah when her father, Rev. David Cady Wright, became rector of Christ Episcopal Church. She was curator of the Owens-Thomas House from its opening as a museum in 1954 until 1963.
She was a founding member of the Junior League of Savannah, served as executive secretary of the Chatham-Savannah Tuberculosis Association for several years and was interim director of the Savannah Girl Scouts. Additionally, she belonged to the Georgia Historical Society and the Trustees Garden Club.