Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project

Exploring the First Girl Scout Headquarters in Savannah

I recently discovered this wonderful vintage photo from inside the Girl Scout First Headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

I’ve visited the First Headquarters several times, and it doesn’t feel this open and spacious. I thought it would be fun to see how the building has changed over the past 110 years.

The building today known as the First Headquarters was originally the carriage house behind Juliette Gordon Low’s marital home in Savannah (now known as the Andrew Low House). Early Savannah troops, such as the girls in the photo, held their meetings in the converted building.

Inside First Headquarters

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
First Headquarters Interior, 1920s

The Savannah Girl Scout council used the upper level as offices and opened their own small museum on the main floor in 1948.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
Savannah Girl Scouts Launch 1936 Cookie Sale (First HQ photo)

The Savannah Council outgrew the space in the 1980s and moved their offices elsewhere. The First Headquarters building was modernized and reopened as an equipment shop in 1996. After a further renovation, the building came a museum and history program center in 2003.

Today, the building is divided into three rooms–a gift shop, the museum, and a small meeting room. The upstairs is closed to the public.

The central, museum portion has not significantly changed. The windows, fireplace, and even the portrait match up perfectly.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
First Headquarters Museum in 2015 (photo by Ann Robertson)

The exterior has also evolved, reflecting the shift from one large room to three separate spaces.

Outside First Headquarters

Originally, the building had large doors on the right that allowed carriages and automobiles to exit onto Drayton Street. Pedestrians entered the building through a door facing Drayton Street.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
First Headquarters Building, 1920 (GS Historic Georgia)

This version of the building was immortalized in a color post card.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
First Headquarters Postcard

A replica of the First Headquarters was used as the centerpiece for a 25th anniversary celebration in Washington DC in 1937.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
Model of the First Headquarters in 1937 (Harris & Ewing photo)

The model initially went to the Girl Scout Little House in Washington. When the Little House closed in 1945, this along with the Little House doll house were transferred to Rockwood, where they were discarded. The Little House model was saved from the dustbin, but not that of the Savannah building.

Rockwood Trivia: The gentleman in the photo above is John W. Caughey, widower of Carolyn Caughey, who built Rockwood.

The garage doors were replaced with standard door and window in 1948. Another renovation in 1968 replaced the door with a window.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
First Headquarters Building today (GS Historic Georgia)

The contemporary photo above was taken when the main sign was temporarily removed, perhaps due to an approaching hurricane.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
Juliette Gordon Low joins a troop outside Girl Scout headquarters in Savannah (GSUSA photo)

The has not been lost, although it has been updated.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Girl Scout History Project
Trip Advisor

The First Headquarters museum doesn’t get as much publicity as the nearby Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, but it is well worth the brief walk to pay a visit.

You might even find Daisy there herself.

For more architectural history about the Girl Scouts and Savannah, see the National Parks Service application to create the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District.

©2022 Ann Robertson, writer, editor, and Girl Scout historian

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Ann Robertson

Ann Robertson is a writer, editor and Girl Scout historian.

5 thoughts on “Exploring the First Girl Scout Headquarters in Savannah”

  1. This was, by far, the BEST trip I have ever taken with Girl Scouts! I won’t ever forget it! It meant so much to me to be able to see all the places where Girl Scouting started, and to see the looks on the girls faces as they too, appreciated all of the history in Savannah, for the start of something they, too, loved so much! Our tour guide was also able to get us into the cemetary and the Lowe Family burial plot so we were actually able to go into Juliette’s burial spot. The girls and I were so very, very solemn when we actually got to stand where Julliette was buried. I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes as we stood on her burial spot.

    That we were there in 2012, and so many people treated us special because we were in uniform most of the time and it was the Anniversary year, made the trip so much more special! It was the trip of a lifetime for this Lifetime Girl Scout!

  2. Ann Harper GSCNWI – Chicago. Do you or we have copy of Juliette’s house in Savanna made for sale by Shelia /1990 or the newer version of Juliette’s birthplace /1998? I have both and will donate them to you or to our museum. I am on the historian team

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