Henry Willink Cottage, 1845, Savannah

The home of Henry Frederick Willink is one of many early Savannah landmarks that have been moved to the vicinity of East St. Julian Street. Willink was the son of a successful German immigrant, Frederick Henry Willink. He was born in Savannah in either 1825 or 1827; the date and location of his death are unknown. After time spent at the Chatham Academy, the younger Willink apprenticed at his father’s shipyard before moving to New York to improve his skills. Willink returned to Savannah in 1851 to start his own shipyard. [His home, originally located near Oglethorpe Avenue at the intersection of Price and Perry Streets, is said to have been built in 1845, but since he didn’t return to Savannah until 1851, there is some debate about the date].

By the outset of the Civil War, his business, Willink & Miller, was in full swing garnering commissions to build the gunboat Macon, as well as the ironclads Savannah and Milledgeville. After the war, he did quite well with other shipbuilding projects, as well as a wrecking  business and a marine railway on Hutchinson Island. From at least 1864 to 1877-79, Willink served as a Savannah alderman, but it is unclear if he served consecutive terms. Little beyond this time is known.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

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