Haunts of the 17 Hundred 90 Inn and Tavern
The 1790 Inn is the oldest hotel in all of beautiful Savannah, originally built in 1820. It was designed by Steel White, a planter from Virginia, with the intentions of establishing a boarding house. However, a tragic riding accident took White's life before the construction was even completed.
Shortly after its completion, the building became the "17 Hundred 90 Inn". It's not clear why the name 1790 was chosen, but it is pretty clear why they did not settle upon the 1820 Inn. That was a rather catastrophic year for the town of Savannah. More than half of the city was consumed by disastrous fires, and entire families were rubbed out by an epidemic of yellow fever.
The 1790 Inn and Tavern is a very popular stop for ghost hunting tourists. The bottom floor houses a restaurant with exquisite dining, back-dropped by the rustic regalia of a centuries-old tavern. Both carry the charming ambience of an old merchant vessel.
The upper floors contain the hotel rooms of the 1790 Inn, with a total of 14 suites. The recent purchase of the old house across the street allowed the 1790 Inn to move its check-in desk, as well as providing a parking lot to visitors, a significant convenience as downtown Savannah does not provide nearly enough parking space to accommodate its residents and tourists.
The most reports of paranormal activity seem to surround the ghost of Anne Powell, a young girl who fell from the window of room 204. There are numerous stories surrounding her death.
One tells of a 16 year old girl married, rather unhappily, to Steel White; the man who died while building what later became the 1790 Inn. She fell in love with a German sailor and became pregnant by him. He was just in it for the entertainment, not love. As the story goes, he left for sea promising to return soon and marry her, but never really had any intention of coming back. After months of waiting, she found out the truth and flung herself from the window of 1790 Inn's room 204.
Another story says Anne Powell was actually a servant at 1790 Inn who was rather flirtatious, likely looking for a wealthy husband to whisk her away. She became smitten with a sailor who never intended anything more than a good time. He headed off to sea promising to return to her. She found out she was pregnant, and that he never meant to return to her, and jumped to her death from 1790 Inn's room 204
A third versions tells that Anne Powel leapt to her death when her lover's ship sailed away after her husband locked her in a bedroom (room 204). The tale relates that she watched the sails of his ship go over the horizon, then - heartbroken - leapt to her death. However, this story cannot be true because her husband, Steel White, dies before the building of 1790 Inn was ever completed.
Guests of the 1790 Inn and Tavern have claimed to witness the ghost of Anne Powell leaning over them while they slept in the bed of room 204. The most common story of Anne Powell's sightings involves men who wake to the touch of her caressing their cheek, then see her looking over them and crying just before she turns and jumps out the window.
Most stories, however, pertain to missing items, rather than sightings. Wallets, jewelry, keys and under-garments seem to be the most popular items taken, usually found later in a planter or behind a shelf. Some women have claimed that their night wear was inexplicably removed from their suitcase and laid out on the bed as if someone were about to put it on.
Anne Powell's presence has been so heavily reported in room 204 that the 1790 Inn, at one time, required any patron who stayed in this room to sign a waiver stating they would not request their money back should they choose not to stay the full night. The waiver is no longer required because most visitors who request room 204 are ghost hunters hoping to see a manifestation of Anne Powell.
Visitors have also reported seeing a disturbing apparition in the basement kitchen of 1790 Inn. She is believed to be an African American servant with a flair for voodoo. She seems to hate women in general, picking on the female workers in the kitchen, restaurant and tavern. There are reports of hair yanking, pushing in the back and "jangling bracelets at them".
by Steve Vaughan
About the Author
Currently a paranormal investigator who travels up and down the east coast investigating haunted places.