When Francis Greenleaf became owner and editor of what is now the Savanna Times Journal in 1885, he could not have imagined that over a century later his beautiful Queen Anne home, boasting of 22 rooms nestled high on a hill in Savanna would become a mansion of 60 plus rooms.
Started in 1899 and finished in 1901, "Hillcrest" was one of four extravagant homes built at that time as the result of a wager as to which home would be the most opulent home in Savanna. Seven owners, and many years later, Mr. and Mrs. Alan St. George purchased the home.
It was 1976 when they began their lifelong mission of expanding and decorating the home in the manner of the 'American Aristocracy.' Together the newlyweds transformed the former Greenleaf home into what is now called "Havencrest Castle," their 'Temple of Love and Art.'
The St. Georges planned and executed every minute detail of the many themed rooms. Some of which include: A Persian Suite, the Chinese Tea Room, an 80 foot long Medieval Hall, the Ivory Tower Chapel, the Russian Rococo Library, a Conservatory and the Fragonard Music Room. Antiques, jewels and rare embellishments complement every room.
"Havencrest Castle" is filled with original art and sculptures, created by St. George. He is also the founder and president of an international mascot company, Facemakers, Inc., located in Savanna. Some unique features include an embossed leather and quarter sawn oak ceiling in the entrance hall, a rose marble fireplace in the shape of an “H” from when the mansion was named "Hillcrest" and a Crystal Tower on the fifth floor that commemorated the St. George's 15th wedding anniversary. "Havencrest Castle" is truly a ‘jewel’ here in Savanna, each room has its own distinctive personality.
Now for the first time Alan St. George is offering limited public tours of "Havencrest Castle." The guided tour will include the history of the castle and the details of each room.
The cost is $20 per person for the two and a half hour tour. Group and family rates are available, the castle is not handicap accessible. For further information, please call Havencrest curator Michael S. Dunavant at 815-990-7159 to schedule your tour today.