The History of Brockington Hall
Brockington Hall is a 16th Century, Classic Italianate villa-style structure built for Dr. Julius LeHardy in 1882. Remnants of an 1832 structure on the site – a distinct brick and beam foundation – wer found under the existing Victorian era structure during renovation.
Although the identities of the architect and the builder for the LeHardy house are not known, extensive facade changes made between 1883 to 1885 and it has been suggested that these were designed by Detlief Lienau. Lienau was a Danish-born architect from New York who was responsible for the conversion of the Telfair Mansion into Savannah’s current Telfair Museum and for the design of Hodgson Hall (the home of the Georgia Historical Society) during the same time period as the refurbishment of the house.
Trained at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Lienau is credited with having introduced the French style to American building construction, notably the mansard roof with its decorative flourishes. Several of his buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, the most famous of which probably is the 1868 LeGrand Lockwood Mansion in Norwalk, Connecticut.
The refurbishment of LeHardy’s home included the addition of three marble mantels and the addition of the double front stairs. Both the terrazzo flooring and the Chinese Chippendale-style wrought iron railing on the front porch are the “first-known-to-the-region” use of these materials. The Chinese Chippendale theme is used in our monogram and in our website banner.
The house was owned and occupied by a series of prominent Savannah families over the years. Owners included Robert A Knox, A. Cheshire Nash, A. Pratt Adams, James R. Dotson, and Franklin R. Dulaney.
In the 1960’s, extensive modifications were made to the rear of the building to add the current ballroom, and for almost two decades the parlor floor was operated as an event venue for weddings, formal parties and other upscale events under the name, Brockington Hall. Also in the building at that time were a florist shop and several apartments. According to then owner Tommy Anderson, the grand apartment on the third floor was occupied by Burt Reynolds and an interesting variety of his guests during the filming of the movie “Gator” released in 1976. Lauren Hutton also lived in one of the apartments while her portions of the movie were filmed, and some scenes were shot in the house. Dinah Shore and O. J. Simpson each rented apartments here, and a commercial for Champion spark plugs was filmed on the front porch. During this time, the event venue was enjoyed by many prominent Savannahians and their guests.
Brockington Hall was purchased by retired United States Air Force Lieutenant General Lewis Mundell and his wife, Elsie, in the early 1980’s. Having lived and traveled abroad, they decorated the parlor floor with their collection of antiques and overseas purchases. They continued to host parties and to use the facility for charitable events, tours, social group events, lectures, and other gatherings of benefit to the community. Events included gatherings for the Historic Savannah Foundation, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Garden Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Colonial Dames. After the Mundells passed away, their son Lee and his wife Melissa moved into Brockington Hall and continued to provide the facility for private events, filming events for students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, fashion shows, photography events, and civic functions.