Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace Discount Tickets
If old homes speak to you, then you will certainly want to stop a while and listen to the grand old home on East Oglethorpe Avenue in historic downtown Savannah. Now known principally as the birthplace of Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, this magnificent old English Regency style house has a wonderful history and many amazing stories to tell.

The Wayne/Gordon house was built between 1818 and 1821. The original owner, James Moore Wayne was the mayor of Savannah and later went on to become a United States Supreme Court Justice. In 1831 the home was purchased by the Gordon family. William Washington Gordon was the founder of the Central of Georgia Railroad. Both the Wayne and Gordon families were prominent and prosperous and this lovely home reflects that in both its original architecture and its later renovation. The house has gone through many changes over the years and these changes reflect the two hundred year history of this home and the family and city that claim it.

Juliette Gordon was born in this home on October 31, 1860. She was the second child of William W. Gordon II and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon. Juliette’s father’s family settled in Georgia after the Revolutionary War and her mother’s family was important in the founding of the city of Chicago. Juliette was born into a privileged life in a time when it was expected that women would become wives and mothers and gracious hostesses. Juliette attended several upscale boarding schools and completed her early education at a finishing school, the Mesdemoiselles Charbonniers in New York. Certainly, she was well-trained to assume the role of a proper Victorian matron, and she managed to do so for many years, but life had bigger plans for Juliette. Her quirky and eccentric personality and her great energy earned her a special place of honor in the history of equal opportunities for women.

After the death of her husband, William Mackay Low, Juliette met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts in England. She was greatly impressed with him and his organization and decided to expand on the concept by organizing a similar group for young girls when she returned to America. She contacted her cousin who was a school principal and they got together a group of 18 girls and began having regular meetings in 1912. The girls worked on projects that were beyond the typical things taught to young women at the time. Many early meetings took place at the Olglethorpe Avenue home and grounds, but there were also camping and nature hiking activities. The 1913 Girl Scout Handbook gave information on domestic practices and practical information about first aid and gardening and astronomy, but it also encouraged young girls to consider careers in medicine and aviation.

Juliette Gordon Low was a strong, intelligent woman of many talents and a tour of her beautiful home reveals this. She had a lifelong interest in the arts and she was accomplished in many of them herself. She was a poet and playwright and linguist. She could paint and carve wood and was an accomplished sculptress. She trained as a blacksmith and even made a pair of decorative iron gates for her home. Many of her artistic works are still displayed in the house along with many original Gordon family furnishings. The history of the house is well documented and there are guided tours available. The house has been restored to look as it did in the days leading up to Juliette’s wedding to William Mackay Low in 1886.

The Juliette Gordon Low birthplace also has the distinction of being the first home in Savannah to be declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The home was purchased from the Gordon family in 1953 by the Girl Scouts of America. The organization had special fundraising projects in 1954 to pay for the renovations. There are special Girl Scout events here throughout the year. There is a shop for souvenirs and books about the history of the scouts and the home.

Juliette Gordon Low



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