Savannah’s Historic District is filled with dignified, lovingly-restored mansions which can be toured for a price. The Noble Hardee House overlooking Monterey Square is not one of them.
Ever bit as stately as its counterparts, construction on this Italianate gem got underway in 1860 by cotton merchant Noble Hardee. He died before it was completed nearly a decade later.
With its flaking stucco and rusting ironwork, the decaying grand dame of Monterey Square is believed to be the only unrestored mansion in the city. To see inside, all you need is a love for old things or a fondness for organized chaos.
Each of the mansion’s four stories is now used to house Alex Raskin Antiques. Visitors enter through the cellar on Bull Street and must be willing to navigate a labyrinth of unique furniture pieces from the 1700s and 1800s.
In some rooms, tables and chairs are precariously stacked to the ceiling. On the home’s main floor, the grand staircase competes for attention with the large book cases that almost block the front door. Meandering through the rooms with their large fireplaces, unbalanced chandeliers, and sweeping archways will leave you wondering what life was like for the families who lived there so long ago.
Raskin, the current owner, has spent more than two decades purchasing items at auctions and stocking the mansion like a warehouse with no intent of bringing back its glory days. Hearing the creaking floors and seeing the worn-away plaster is a part of the building’s charm and intrigue.
This is not a place to explore if you have little ones or carry large purses or backpacks. Some items here have price tags that go into the tens of thousands of dollars. While you might not walk out with something, you’ll forever treasure your experience inside.