Savannah

In November, 1732, James E. Oglethorpe and 114 other men, women and children set sail from Gravesend in England.  On February 12, 1733, 86 days later, after stops in Madeira, Charleston, and South Carolina’s southern-most outpost in Port Royal the “Anne” finally came to rest below Yamacraw Bluff.  Scrambling up rough wooden steps already placed in the side of the hill, the colonists were finally able to see the panorama of their new home, Savannah, named for the river below.  And so America’s thirteenth and final colony was founded. Savannah and the commercial power of her riverfront grew through the years.  From the very beginning as a utopian society and an agricultural economy, through the Revolutionary War, the “King Cotton” plantation years, the Civil War, and continuing in its key role in the nation’s civil rights movement up to its present-day status as one of the world’s most popular tourist designations, Savannah has remained proud of her heritage and beauty. Savannah has a long track record of historic preservation, beginning in 1839 with the chartering of the Georgia Historic Society.  The fight to preserve reached national attention in the 1950s when residents organized renewed efforts to overcome the city’s reputation as the “pretty woman with a dirty face.”  Many historic homes and official buildings have been saved as a result of the Historic Savannah Foundation, one of the country’s largest community urban-preservation programs.  Through their efforts, the downtown historic district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Today Savannah charts a population of about 132,000 residents and is ranked as one of the top ten busiest seaports in the country.  Tourism is one of the city’s leading industries, sparked in the 1990s by its renown as a popular location for film production, and the notoriety of John Berendt’s book and the subsequent film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Visitors are hosted by numerous trolley and walking tour companies that highlight her rich heritage and countless stories of courage and perseverance, her architecture, and her world-famous city squares.  Savannah is also known as one of the country’s most haunted cities and there are wonderful tours that will introduce you to many of the city’s fabled ghosts.