The Charles H. Morris Center and the revitalized garden have laid the groundwork for the high quality, creative activities and rich experiences that will be available at Trustees’ Garden.
The vision of Trustees' Garden is a place where you can:
- Enjoy history, music, food, cultural activities, festivals and special events.
- Relax in a place where you can sit, stroll and play in the common areas.
- Learn about sustainability, health and wellness through educational opportunities.
Trustees' Garden has always been an integral part of the history of Savannah.
From 1733 to 1748 Trustees’ Garden was used as an experimental garden where peaches, rice, cotton, grapes, flax, hemp, indigo, olives, and mulberry trees, which were essential to silk culture, were grown. Silk was an early endeavor, and the town’s largest structure was the filature where the cocoons were unwound into silk thread. A gown for Britain's queen Caroline was made from Savannah silk.
In 1757 Royal Governor John Reynolds was granted title and laid out small residential lots — that did not include the squares. In 1794 a tavern for seamen was opened and become known as “The Pirates House.” The high bluff on the northeastern corner overlooking the river was a succession of fortifications until designated Fort Wayne in 1812. Today the brick and stone fortifications can be seen arising from General Macintosh Boulevard.
In about 1830 an iron foundry, later known as Kehoe Iron Works, opened at Broughton and Randolph Streets. In 1849 Savannah Gas Company was built as a coal gas generation plant that was in continuous operation until natural gas was introduced in the mid-twentieth century.
In 1945 H. Hansell Hillyer and his associates acquired Savannah Gas Company. Coal gas production ceased and shortly thereafter Mr. Hillyers’ wife, Mary McClaren Hillyer, began to restore the area with a project known as the Trustees’ Garden Village, which was successful as a commercial and apartment rental area. In 1966 the Atlanta Gas Light Company merged with the Savannah Gas Company. In 1998 the 10 acre Trustees’ Garden site was sold to developer Alan Beal, who in turn sold it to Robinson Callen. In 2004 Charles H. Morris acquired 6.3 acres from Robinson Callen.
Trustees’ Garden is the last large parcel of land in the Historic District. Charles Morris has completed phase I which is the Charles H. Morris Center (the former Hillyer building) and has plans to restore several other historic buildings on the site that include the Three Gables Building, and Kehoe Iron Works.