Hostess City of the South

March 1, 2023

Georgia continues to charm me. People are so friendly, the food is delicious, and there’s so much to see. We arrived in Savannah, GA the night before and spent some time exploring. As mentioned in the previous post, we met up with Coda and our trio is now complete. Additionally, our friends Jeff and Norma came out to visit and Lil Sudden has family visiting (she leaves tomorrow, but Boris’ mother will be flying in). It’s a full house!

Did you know:

  • Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia (founded in 1733)
  • Savannah is the first planned city (laid on a grid system with wide streets)
  • Savannah is the 13th Colony (Georgia colony named after King George II)
  • Lawyers, Drinking, and Slaves were outlawed
  • You can have open containers throughout the Historic District (this was a pleasant surprise)
  • The Girl Scouts were founded in Savannah
  • The Spanish Moss hanging from the trees isn’t really a moss (it’s related to the pineapple)
  • Owen-Thomas House was the first to have indoor plumbing in the US
  • Savannah was a Christmas gift to President Lincoln
  • Oldest House in Savannah is the Pirates’ House (1753 opened as an Inn)
  • Savannah is one of the most haunted cities
  • Forest Gump was filmed in Savannah
  • First African Baptist Church was organized in Savannah
  • Georgia’s First Bank was in Savannah (see pink house picture below)
  • The Forsyth Fountain was ordered from a catalog (see fountain picture below)

The historic area is about 1 mile by 1 mile set in a grid. We spent the day walking around, taking in the sights.

JW Marriott Savannah Pant Riverside District Hotel

The hotel resides in an abandoned 1912 city power plant on the western end of the Savannah riverfront with the smokestack towers adorning the skyline. Inside the hotel is a museum of ancient artifacts, fossils, and sculptures. There’s even a chrome dinosaur!

Colonial Park Cemetery

Established in 1750, the cemetery closed to burials in 1853 and became a park in 1896. Walking paths wind through the grounds that house over 10,000 graves. Headstones and vaults are strewn about the grass while a brick wall in the back houses headstones that were moved or misplaced.

Notable residents in the cemetery include:

  • Button Gwinnett: one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett met his end after a dual with Lachlan McIntosh over a dispute on who was right regarding an invasion into Florida.
  • Major General Nathaneal Greene: served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and is known for his successful command in the Southern theater of the conflict.
  • Mass grave: Yellow Fever ravaged Savannah with one of the worst years being 1820. The mass grave holds almost 700
  • The Duelist’s Grave: army Lieutenant James Wilde was shot and killed during a duel with Captain Roswell Johnson (also an officer in the 9th Regiment, U.S. Infantry). The reason for the duel is unknown.
  • John, Joseph, and James Habersham: three patriotic brothers
  • Lachlan McIntosh: successful planter near Darien, GA prior to the American Revolution. Famous for his duel with Button Gwinnett and served at Valley Forge.
  • James McIntosh: great nephew of Lachlan McIntosh and served during War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.
  • Archibald Bullock: One of the patriots who issued the call in 1774 for the first province-wide meeting of friends of Liberty in Georgia. First President (Governor) of Georgia. Theodore Roosevelt was his great-great-grandson.

During the Civil War, the Union Army camped in the cemetery and had a mischievous sense of humor. They altered the dates on the headstones. As a result, one man lived to the ripe old age of 421, another to 544, and another man’s son was born 1,000 years before his father.

Forsyth Park and Fountain

30-acre park that is most notable for its fountain that was ordered from a catalog and installed in 1858. We strolled through the park and saw local artisans working and selling their goods.

Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

The Savannah skyline is adorned with the lovely cathedral. The congregation of St. John the Baptist formed in the late eighteenth century when French emigres found refuge in Savannah. The Cathedral was dedicated in 1876, however, a fire destroyed much of the structure in 1898. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1900 and had another major restoration in 2000.

Waving Girl Statue

Florence Martus greeted ships from 1887 to 1931 by waving a cloth (or with a lantern at night) at approaching ships in search of her long lost lover. Her fame spread and ships would return her greetings with a blast from the ship’s horn. Many still sound a salute to her statue. It is estimated that Florence had waived to over 50,000 ships without missing one.

Ghosts and Gravestone Haunted Tour

Savannah is built on bones and is considered one of the most haunted sights. So of course we have to go on a ghost tour. As we stepped onto a creepy trolly, we were greeted by Maggie, our tour guide. Maggie shared stores of the local hauntings as we drove by some of the most famous hauntings. The tour included two stops, one at a house with creepy dolls. Unfortunately, no ghosts were spotted, but the tour was fun.

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