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
The Savannah Girl Scout council used the upper level as offices and opened their own small museum on the main floor in 1948.
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.
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.
This version of the building was immortalized in a color post card.
A replica of the First Headquarters was used as the centerpiece for a 25th anniversary celebration in Washington DC in 1937.
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.
The garage doors were replaced with standard door and window in 1948. Another renovation in 1968 replaced the door with a window.
The contemporary photo above was taken when the main sign was temporarily removed, perhaps due to an approaching hurricane.
The has not been lost, although it has been updated.
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