According to locals, 416 West Liberty Street was originally home to a debtor’s prison in the early 19th century. Back then, if you were unable to pay your taxes or a private debt you would be sent to prison until you could pay. Unfortunately, many died in the prison before they were able to pay off their debts.
Before prohibition swept the United States, the property was also home to a distillery in 1904 called the Louisville and Kentucky Distilling Companies. Then in 1911, Freich’s Liberty Street Pharmacy took over the building. Locals could come eat lunch and order a drink from one of Savannah’s first soda fountains. Several other businesses came and went over the years, including the Taylor Furniture Company.
Today, the building is home to The Distillery Ale House, but it’s not an actual distillery. The Distillery Ale House is the largest craft beer selections in Savannah.
In addition to the beer you might find at the Distillery Ale House, you may also run into some spirits. Soldiers who died fighting in the Siege of Savannah across the street are believed to be roaming the building.
The Siege of Savannah in 1779 was the second bloodiest battle in the American Revolution. Over 1,100 casualties were reported by French and Colonial soldiers as well as the British forces that turned away the attack. After the battle, British troops buried the dead in a mass grave down the street where Madison Square sits today.
During construction of the Distillery, many artifacts from the American Revolution were unearthed on the property. Musket balls, bonesand, and various other items were found which all support the theory that some bad things happened on the property during the Siege of Savannah.
Employees and patrons of the Distillery tell stories of seeing dishes move around in the kitchen unexpectedly. Servers say they have felt someone tapping them on the shoulder when no one is around.
Apparitions have been spotted on the third floor, too. On the second floor, a battery powered light fell off a wall during the night a few years ago. Even though the batteries had fallen out, employees found the light flashing the next morning.