The original owner, full of southern hospitality,
is delighted with the fine restaurant and bar.
Besides being a spectral supervisor, He checks the
quality of drinks while he pleasantly fraternizes.
Spirits who worked here in life still do in the afterlife.
Spirits of mischievous slave children love to play jokes on the living.
The 1771 Olde Pink House is a high-class restaurant which makes its home in the pink, two-story Colonial-style Habersham Mansion. It serves wonderful food and offers warm southern hospitality that would please the original owner, James Habersham Junior.
Why is it Pink?
When its bricks were covered with stucco, a pink color bled through. After years of trying to paint over the pink color that refused to go away, owners finally gave up and allowed the pink color to remain.
Stepping inside is like going through a time-warp back to the 18th century. The house has been restored to its historical glory, blended with renovations that are pleasing to the public. People enjoy their meals in an upscale Colonial setting, surrounded by antiques of the era. It is sort of like dining in a Colonial house museum.
The owners use every room including the basement for commercial purposes.
The elegant, romantic dining rooms of the restaurant are found on the first and second floors. The use of tablecloths, and candle centerpieces that give a soft light, creates the perfect place for an intimate, romantic dinner.
Private Rooms are available for corporate meetings and social events. Gatherings of all kinds have been held here, from elegant affairs to informal, laid-back events.
Basement bar/restaurant — Steep wooden steps lead down to a very nice piano bar with nice wooden tables surrounding it. On the right side of the room is a comfortable, relaxing sitting area with chairs and couches, like a living room, complete with a huge fireplace. The piano player plays background music.
About the Habersham Family
James Habersham Jr. was one of three sons of colonial planter and cotton merchant, James Habersham Sr., a pillar of Savannah society, who was an ardent loyalist and a driving force to get the ban on slavery lifted in Georgia.
Imagine his deep disappointment and despair when all three of his sons sided with the colonial patriot cause. All were involved with the subversive organization, Sons of Liberty, and fought against England in the upcoming Revolutionary War.
He died a broken-hearted man, not on good terms with the boys he loved. At least they weren’t afraid to fight for a cause—just on the wrong side of their father’s beliefs. Family events must have been difficult!
Two of the three Habersham brothers joined the Colonial Army and proved themselves to be brave and courageous. John Habersham became a hero during the Revolutionary War and rose to the rank of major in the Colonial Army. His brother, Joseph, gained fame as one of the men who marched into the governor’s mansion and arrested the British governor, Sir James, on Jan. 18th, 1776.
James Habersham Jr. chose to work behind the scenes and “use his brain and connections as a merchant to financially support the war effort.”
After the Revolutionary War, James Jr. entered politics and served as Speaker of the Georgia General Assembly for two terms: 1782 and 1784. He married his sweetheart and also had three sons.
His death in 1799 was thought to be suspicious by some historians. One unproved theory is that James Jr. supposedly found out about his wife’s affair with the contractor who built his mansion. It is claimed that he hung himself in his basement. However, this is probably just ugly gossip, because his spirit doesn’t act like someone who committed suicide, just a man who died before he was ready.
When the time was right, the Habersham descendants sold the property to new owners. There have been eight different owners who have maintained this property. At some point, it became a commercial property, and has been one since then.
About His Home…
James began the construction of his mansion in 1771, but didn’t finish it until 1789. While it is common even today to experience delays in construction for a new home, James experienced more than the usual homeowner woes.
Besides experiencing family turmoil with his father, something about the mansion appealed to the military mindset. The British stopped the mansion’s construction during the Revolutionary War by occupying his home. The best that can be said is that they didn’t trash the place. Around eighty-five years later, General Sherman’s generals also found the mansion appealing and stayed there as well, which must have been equally annoying and distressing to the Habersham descendants.
However, the worst problem for James Jr. and his descendants was unforeseen, as it often is in building a new home. The main structure was made of red bricks, which were covered over with white plaster. Perhaps the quality of bricks or the plaster itself wasn’t very good, because the red bricks bled through, making the mansion pink!!
James Jr., a smart man with a gift for thinking and solving problems, was living in a pink mansion, and had to endure being the entertainment of the neighborhood. The only solution was to keep painting the mansion white, until the bricks bled through again.
This mansion survived the great fire of 1820, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and was owned by a variety of people after the Habershams sold it. Through the years, all who had lived there had to keep repainting it white!
Finally, a woman who owned it in the 1920s decided to go with the flow and paint it a shade of pink, which was an asset for her tea room establishment at the time. Since then, the mansion has been pink, which became a trademark of any establishment that moved into the building.
History of Manifestations
With its long history, unpleasant or displeasing events were bound to happen. These would be long forgotten by the living, but not by the spirit people who were made unhappy by these occurrences. They still call the mansion home for a variety of reasons.
When people suffer unbearable losses in life, sometimes they continue to grieve as spirits, unable to let it all go.
Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (The spirit of a woman who died in a fire that happened on the land where the Pittsburgh Theatre stood, would appear to the living and cry her eyes out).
Chapel of the Cross, MS (The spirit of a woman cries at the grave of her beloved who was killed in a duel before they could say their wedding vows).
Olde Pink House, GA (The spirit of a woman can be heard crying by employees when the restaurant is closed).
When circumstances cut short the homeowners stay in the family’s forever home, the spirit of the owner may decide to reside there in his afterlife.
The Whaley House Museum, CA (Tragedies of the Whaley family caused them to leave their forever home. The family members moved back to work on their restlessness).
Hartford Twain House Museum, CT (Due to finances and the death of a daughter, the Twain family sold their favorite home. When their house was restored and furnished with their possessions, their spirits became active).
Waverly House, VA (The spirit of a falsely-accused owner who lost his property found some peace by moving back inside).
Olde Pink House, GA (James Habersham Jr. died in 1799, just ten years after he finished his home. He has chosen to spend his afterlife here and tries to be a helpful, gracious host once more).
When a structure is restored and items that spirits loved while alive are added, these items can act like environmental triggers for paranormal activity.
Brumder Mansion, WI (When a replicated 1920s bar was added to the basement theater, spirits from the Brumder’s speakeasy days became very active indeed).
Custer House, ND (When the Custer House was rebuilt using the General’s original blueprints, and personal items and furniture were added to create a house museum, the Custer family and the officers moved right back inside, finding comfort and peace).
Olde Pink House, GA (When a bar with its eating area was built in the basement, the spirits of James Jr., his grandson, and his brother Joseph became enthusiastic participants).
Spirits of children who die suddenly from accidents or illnesses, sometimes like to stay at their favorite places and continue to be themselves.
Bee/Bennett Mansion, CA (The spirits of two little boys who died suddenly in their family home love to play tricks on the living).
McRaven House, MS (The spirits of two little spirit boys who died from Yellow Fever have a blast interacting with tour guides and visitors in their family home).
Longwood, MS (Two little spirit children continue doing what they did before they died. They reside in their family home with the spirits of their parents).
Olde Pink House, GA (House slaves were used as servants in the many years before the Civil War. It goes to reason that slave children could’ve died, either as a result of diseases like the dreaded Yellow Fever or by so called “dumb kid” accidents).
When people enjoy working at a place of employment, their spirits sometimes choose to spend their afterlives doing their duties the best they without having a physical body).
Kennebunk Inn, ME (The spirit of Silas Perkins not only continues to be the night watchman, but has given himself the task of doing bed checks).
Lake Hotel, WY (The spirit of a porter still appears in front of guests and carries their bags).
Olde Pink House, GA (The spirits of servants still attend to their old duties).
The Perfect Host
The spirit of James Jr. is always a positive force, with his hospitable, southern charm, being much like he was while alive.
He appears as a solid person in front of the living, which is the cordial thing to do.
The living think he is dressed up in colonial clothes to support the historic aura of the Olde Pink House.
The spirit of James Jr. has shown a friendliness in his personable ways toward the restaurant’s patrons.
He has talked to patrons as if he was making a social call.
He loves to hang around and people-watch.
Always the Businessman
Being a merchant himself in his life, he is very pleased with the commercial enterprise set up in his forever home.
He enthusiastically supports this restaurant, showing his support in several ways.
He helps by adding the touches he likes when the staff isn’t looking.
He pushes chairs into the tables, straightens up messy waiter stations, and crooked place settings.
Candlelight is Classy
This spirit loves the idea of having lighted candles on the tables.
He is suspected of relighting the table candles.
After putting out all the table candles for the evening, a waiter turned his back for a moment, continuing his closing duties.
When he turned back, all the candles on all the tables had been quickly lit again by an unseen presence, who wasn’t quite ready to see them go out just yet.
The spirit of James Jr. has been seen in the mansion by every new employee who works there during the months from October to March, especially on quiet Sunday afternoons.
James Habersham Jr. is keeping an eye on the living, making sure they are coming up to snuff in the hospitality department, as they are in his mansion.
He must be happy with what he sees, because he only appears for these six months.
Imagine a Basement Bar!
The spirits of James Jr., his grandson, and his brother Joseph love to visit the upscale basement bar.
All three spirits appear in solid, lifelike form, pay for their drinks, socialize with the patrons and love to people-watch.
The Spirit of Joseph Habersham
He is often seen sitting at the bar, dressed in his Revolutionary uniform while sipping his ale.
A local resident who stopped by the basement tavern for a beer saw this apparition who he thought was a real person, hired to add to the bar’s colonial atmosphere.
This local resident got this spectral fellow’s attention, and raised his beer in a toast with a smile on his face.
The spirit of Joseph smiled broadly back at him and raised his glass of ale as well.
The local resident took his eyes off him just for a few seconds to ask the bartender about the man in the colonial soldier outfit.
The bartender exclaimed “What soldier?” The apparition had disappeared.
The Spirit of the Habersham grandson
He loves the fact that there is an upscale bar located in his old basement bedroom.
His spirit appears as a sixty-year old man who enjoys an ale while sitting at the bar, dressed in 19th- century clothes.
After finishing his drink, his solid form has been followed as he moves to the nearby cemetery, where he disappears into the Button Family Monument. His remains were laid to rest here because his own family’s monument was full.
The Spirit of a Mournful woman
The spirit of a female who suffered a terrible loss during her lifetime is stuck because she can’t let go of all her sadness. Both staff and patrons have experienced her visually and heard her cries.
In the second-floor dining rooms, she has been seen many times, trying to hold it together.
On her bad days, she sometimes has been seen crying, while in other instances, just her sobbing has been heard.
After the restaurant had closed and most of the staff had gone home for the night, the manager and the bartender were left to close it up.
The manager made sure that no one living was upstairs. When he had gone back downstairs to be with the bartender, they both heard her crying upstairs. Needless to say they quickly did their closing routine and left.
Spirits of servants have chosen to stay where they loved to work.
Shadows and mists are seen, going about their duties.
The spirit of a servant girl appeared in the first floor dining room in front of a waiter, perhaps wanting to help.
Out-of-Control Slave Children
A psychic piano player for the basement bar has seen out of the corner of her eye slave children running around the basement area.
They behave however they want to, because they have no adult supervision.
These young spirits have appeared in front of the bar staff and boldly taunted them.
They like to throw dice against the wall in the hallway by the bathrooms.
These children used to take wine bottles out of their places behind the bar and hit the bartender with them. The wine bottles are now chilled in a glass-enclosed refrigerator.
They like to play tricks on the living.
Some little spirits used to lock women in the bathroom. The management finally took the lock off the door, which curtailed the problem somewhat, though a force does on occasion hold the door shut for a bit, briefly keeping the annoyed patron stuck inside.
The Shoelace Incident
Adventures of Tom and Julie Carr
Everyone in Savannah goes out to dinner on Friday night. Around 8:30 PM, on one such evening, the Olde Pink House Restaurant was still jumping, with a long waiting list to get inside.
The kind hostess took us down to the basement bar and found us an empty table. Tom and I, who were starving by this time, were lucky to get this table, located just left of the stairs.
After enjoying a wonderful meal, we got up to leave and started to climb up the steep steps to the entry hallway of the first floor restaurant.
About three steps up on the staircase, my right shoelace pulled itself out of the bow and wrapped itself around under the edge of the step and stayed there by itself.
Puzzled by this strange occurrence, I was stopped in my tracks, and I felt underneath the step and found no nail or crevice which might have explained this, but I did find the end of my shoelace which was held against the wood by a cold pressure which released when I pried the end of it off the wood!
People have experienced fluid paranormal activity for a very long time, earning this restaurant and tavern the title of being one of the most haunted places in Savannah.
It is on many Savannah ghost tours, though paranormal investigators haven’t been allowed inside as the owners know who is here, and why risk getting them upset?
A big yes indeed is in order.
This restored mansion and tavern are enjoyed by many loyal patrons and spirits a like. Despite the variety of reasons why, the spirits who reside or visit, all find the temporary peace they seek for their restlessness, and a fine spot to work on what is keeping them here.
23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
The Olde Pink House Restaurant and Piano Bar is located off Reynolds Square, near the corner of East Bryan Street.
- Haunted Savannah, The Official Guidebook to Savannah Haunted History Tour
by James Caskey
- The National Directory of Haunted Places
by Dennis William Hauck