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Axson Memorial Building

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1928, Cram and Ferguson; 2015–2016 modifications, Sottile and Sottile. 25 W. Oglethorpe Lane

The demolition of the John S. Norris-designed Italianate manse on this site was not without controversy, especially because its parlor had hosted the wedding of Ellen Axson (granddaughter of the former minister of the Independent Presbyterian Church [6.17]) and Woodrow Wilson in 1888. (A replica of this room was included inside the new building.) Although plans by the New York firm of Ludlow and Peabody were already underway, famed Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram offered an alternative design. Cram’s building ties directly into the church, forming an enclosed garden on the northern side, and his restrained English classicism defers to the church in its materials, ornament, and scale. Modifications currently underway will transform the auditorium into a multipurpose space with direct access to the garden courtyard via a new door and stairway, which will also lead to the fellowship hall in the basement level. The Whitaker Street Building across the lane (2010, Hansen Architects; 210 Whitaker Street) was built to serve as additional Sunday school space. Following the stylistic example of the other two supporting structures, it contributes to a multisite campus for the church.

Writing Credits

Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler


What's Nearby


Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler, "Axson Memorial Building", [Savannah, Georgia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Savannah, Robin B. Williams. With David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016, 113-114.

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