About the House | Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is an urban site consisting of several buildings on two lots in the middle of downtown Savannah, Georgia. The house and outbuilding directly behind were completed by 1821. By 1953, the house was in disrepair, having been divided into apartments in the 1940s. The outbuilding was modified for commercial use in the 1930s with a large window fronting Bull Street, and was leased to Hodge Optical downstairs and another small business upstairs.

Two apartments occupied each floor of the main house except the basement and top floor, which remained empty. The side porch, or piazza, was enclosed as a bedroom, and on the upper floor a small kitchen projected out from the building’s façade.

In the 1930s, a nursery school operated in the main house and children played in the grass yard. By 1953, the yard was largely overgrown. The brick carriage house, built at the turn of the century, had not been used in decades and was structurally unsound.

To raise funds, a national campaign was administered by a special Birthplace Committee along with regional council administrators, and a grassroots effort by the girls and their volunteer leaders all over the country and the world.

In October 1956, Girl Scouts traveled to Savannah to celebrate the opening of the Birthplace as a place where girls could come to be inspired by Daisy’s life and imagine how they could make the world a better place.  In 1965, the Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


In 1956, the yard was redesigned as a formal garden by Clermont Lee, the first female landscape architect to own her own business in Savannah.  There was little documentation of any of the Gordon gardens and it is unknown how the side yard was used by the family.  Lee chose to design the space to look like a Victorian parterre garden with planted islands edged with clay tiles.  She planned for this formal garden to be seen– not used– and designed it to be viewed from outside the Oglethorpe Avenue fence or from the piazza.  Documents show a growing tension between Lee’s vision for a formal garden and how visiting Girl Scouts used and experienced the garden daily.

Beginning in 2012 and requiring two years, a comprehensive restoration of the exterior treated every area through which water could enter.  Costing about $2.5 million, it included a new roof, cornice, brownstone steps, window repair, and removal of the 1964 stucco to enable extensive replacement of fractured bricks which caused exterior cracking.  During a banner weekend in March 2012, Birthplace staff accommodated records numbers of Girl Scouts celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. On the following Monday, March 12, scaffolding went up for the restoration work.  Despite the noise, dust and ever-present construction workers, the Birthplace served over 80,000 visitors in 2012.   GSUSA’s commitment to excellence resulted in a beautiful outcome recognized by preservation awards from the Historic Savannah Foundation, the Georgia Trust of Historic Preservation, and the American Institute of Architects in Savannah.  In 2020, a modern building was constructed to connect the east and west outbuildings and to increase accessibility.

Historic preservation is never-ending. It requires thoughtful, deliberative investigation before projects begin.  For 63 years, GSUSA has sought out knowledgeable experts in their fields to study, report, and recommend the best approaches to preserve and protect its historic structures. Our work to preserve the tremendous history of Juliette Gordon Low and the Girl Scouts continues.