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Historic Sites Make News as Special Event Venues

Historic Sites Make News as Special Event Venues

Newer isn't always better — historic venues add their own special charm to special events.


ADDRESS: 1174 E. Commerce, San Antonio, TX 78205; 210/474-7640


HISTORY LESSON: The venue is located in the city's historic St. Paul Square district, the original home of the Southern Pacific railroad, which opened there in 1877.

OLD-SCHOOL STYLE: Located near San Antonio's famed Riverwalk and the Alamo, Historic Sunset Station is a 10-acre property offering five distinctive buildings, including the Depot (a train depot dating back to 1902), the Spire (originally a church) and the Crown (a former rooming house). The flexible space can host groups from 20 to 20,000 guests. The on-site event team provides decor, catering and entertainment services.

WHAT'S NEW: “We have seen more progressive dinner events, beginning with hors d'oeuvre and cocktails at one venue, moving to another for dinner and another for dessert and dancing,” notes Paul Nix, CMP, director of sales and marketing. “This allows guests to have continued excitement throughout the evening, lending to the Sunset Station ‘wow’ factor every time they enter a new space.”


ADDRESS: 324 E. State St., Savannah, GA 31401; 912/236-8097


HISTORY LESSON: Built in 1820, this Federal-style home was threatened with demolition in 1955. However, a civic group stepped in to save it, launching Savannah's preservation renaissance. The house features its original plasterwork, a cantilever staircase and period furnishings.

OLD-SCHOOL STYLE: Ideal for weddings and receptions of up to 100 guests, the house features a 60-by-90-foot outdoor parterre garden with fountain, brick and flagstone walkways, an arch covered with jasmine and white roses, and large Italianate urns overflowing with greenery. Because the venue is open for public tours almost seven days a week, garden events are limited to late afternoon and evening.

HISTORIC EVENTS: Davenport House had its date with celebrity in 2005 when TV star and Savannah local Paula Deen filmed an episode of her cooking show on the property.

WHAT'S NEW: Weddings tend to be “less lavish” these days, notes Jeff Freeman, museum associate and collections manager, “but our venue allows our guests the flexibility to create a stylish and memorable event within the confines of almost any budget.”


ADDRESS: 614 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205; 503/224-3400


HISTORY LESSON: Built in the boom years immediately following Portland's 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition, the six-story Governor Hotel opened its doors in downtown Portland in 1909. Noted local architect William Christmas Knighton turned to turn-of-the-century embellishments including gilded archways, ornate sconces and dramatic chandeliers.

OLD-SCHOOL STYLE: Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the four-star property offers 100 guest rooms and suites along with more than 22,000 square feet of event and meeting space. The Heritage Ballroom can accommodate 900 guests for receptions and 550 for seated banquets; the elegant Fireside Room can hold receptions for 50 and banquets for 30.

HISTORIC EVENTS: The hotel celebrates its 100th birthday this year with free historical hotel tours, a centennial open house in July and special accommodation packages.

WHAT'S NEW: Clients are demanding “more intimate and personal events,” notes general manager Marc Nowak.


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