Local News

Havencrest in Savanna the topic of new documentary

Free screening Dec. 6 in Savanna

SAVANNA – A free preview screening of “Havencrest Castle: A Very Special Place” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Savanna Times Theater, 222 W. Main St.

Havencrest, a mansion that sits high atop a bluff in the Mississippi riverside town, is owned by Alan St. George, who, with his wife, Adrianne, transformed it into an elaborate romantic tribute to their love. When Adrianne died in 2006, St. George continued to work on their home as a lavish memorial to her.

The film also will air on WQPT channel 24.1 at 7 p.m. and midnight Dec. 8 and at 5 p.m. Dec. 12.

A question-and-answer period with St. George and the filmmakers will follow the screening.

WQPT’s newest documentary has been in the works for several years, its production delayed by COVID-19, producer Lora Adams said in a news release.

“We interviewed Alan several years ago and had hoped to finish the film that same year,” Adams said in a news release announcing the viewing. “However, it took an additional 18 months to finally get the chance to finish taping and to edit the documentary.”

Over the years, St. George, owner of a costume and mascot-making company, Facemakers, has opened Havencrest to the public for tours and special events.

Originally known as Hillcrest, it was owned by Simon and Frances Jane Greenleaf. Simon Greenleaf owned the Savanna Times, and later the Savanna Journal with his son, Francis; the newspapers eventually merged into today’s Times-Journal.

The Greenleafs died in 1944, and Hillcrest passed through several hands before the St. Georges moved to Savanna in 1976 from Oak Park.

The film covers the history of the house and the story of the St. Georges as they turned their home into a castle. Facemakers’ success enabled them to expand its original 22 rooms to 63, adding sumptuous decorations reflecting their interests and appreciation of other cultures.

Havencrest highlights St. George’s skills as a sculptor and a painter; his art adorns walls and ceilings. Many rooms in the original part of the castle are decorated in traditional Victorian designs. Other rooms feature Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, and Indian themes, as well as a medieval hall, and a conservatory with Chicago-style architecture.

“Our mission statement was not only to recreate the house, but the lifestyle of the American aristocracy,” St. George said in a previous interview with Sauk Valley Media.

Havencrest Castle is at 140 N. Fifth St.; call 815-273-3900, go to havencrestcastle.com or find it on Facebook for more information.