A History of our Beautiful Savannah Home
This three story home, with its gabled roof, arched windows and elaborate porch, was built for Austin Church and his bride Harriet Smith in 1897. Mr. Church acquired the Sibley Quarry in 1898 for limestone used to make baking soda. In 1912 the home and quarry were sold to the Solvey Process Company. Mr. and Mrs. Church built a new home across the street on riverfront property. Eventually in 1943 that larger home became the first Riverside Hospital, and was recently demolished due to its deteriorated condition. Mr. John W. Foley purchased and moved into this house in 1940. The greenhouse was added in 1961. Dr. W. Waugh bought the home in 1981. Two years later, he decided to restore the home to its original state and did so with great attention to detail. Some of the original light fixtures were removed, repaired and rehung. In 1983 the home was placed on Michigan’s Historical Register. In 1991, Dr. Joseph and Rosemary Rogers purchased the home and it became Rachel’s, a heart-healthy restaurant that served healthy low fat meals. Dr. Rogers had an addition built at the back of the home, which would give a larger area for the kitchen. The interior rooms were beautifully decorated, to give anyone entering a sense of the past. Mr. Al Lorenz opened the 1897 Smokehouse Restaurant here in 1994, specializing in smoked beef and fresh seafood. In 2007 the restaurant re-opened as the Blue Nile, with Ethiopian cuisine. In late 2009 it was sold again and opened as Savannah’s Restaurant, serving Steak, Seafood and Pasta. Joe and Laurie Dixon, the current owners, purchased the restaurant in October 2014. They and the entire staff at Savannah’s welcome you and are pleased to serve you today!