A Pretty City on the Coast of the Eastern American State of Georgia
With its gardens surrounded by beautiful houses, Forsyth Park, and the Savannah River, it isn’t surprising to know that Savannah is one of the prettiest cities in the USA.
The city was founded by General James Edward Oglethorpe in 1733 as a Crown Colony for King George II of England. It was the General who laid out the city on a grid plan of streets interspersed with spacious public squares.
The squares are filled with trees draped with Spanish moss and flowers of various hues and perfumes. Some of the squares have statues, others have fountains and some have both.
Wright Square in Bull Street, which is surrounded by art galleries, a coffee shop and restaurants has a large boulder in it. This marks the grave of Tomo-chi-chi, a Yamacraw Indian chief who directed General Oglethorpe to this area. Incidentally, the square was featured in the Robert Redford film, “The Legend of Bagger Vance”.
Another square used as a film location is Chippewa Square with its bronze statue of General James Oglethorpe. The film was “Forrest Gump”, starring Tom Hanks.
Also on this square is the house where Juliette Gordon Low was born. Mrs. Low was the founder of the Girl Scouts of America but has connections with London. In her teens she was a debutante in London, met and married an Englishman. Among her friends in London was Mr. Baden-Powell. So impressed was she by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Great Britain that, when she returned to America, she set up the Girl Scouts.
Back to the film theme and Forsyth Park. This is where “Forrest Gump” sat in the opening sequence.
One of the most beautiful things in the park is the fountain, the design for which may have been taken from one displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London’s Hyde Park. In the center is the figure of a lady and set about the pool are other statues all spouting water. In springtime when the azaleas and magnolias are in bloom, the sight a scents are wonderful.
The book (and movie) “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt was set in Savannah. The story is about real people from Savannah, some of whom are wonderful eccentrics. Jim Williams, who lived in the Mercer Mansion on Monterey Square, allegedly killed his worker-housemate Danny Hansford. After a number of years and four trials, Jim Williams was acquitted.
The Mercer Mansion belonged to the great-grandfather of songwriter Johnny Mercer – remember “Moon River”? Johnny never lived in the house, although some guides tell you so.
There are sights of a different sort along River Street. The old buildings, which are now shops and restaurants, were originally warehouses – in the days when Savannah was a great port.
The cobbles used for the streets were originally ballasted from the ships. As the ships were loaded, the ballast was removed and piled up. People helped themselves and used the stones in the building of their homes. Once the British Government cottoned on – forgive the pun, but this is what was shipped from Savannah – to what was happening, they tried to charge people. No paid and the cobbles were eventually laid in the roads.
Further along River Walk, towards the end of the buildings, are some gardens for rest and relaxation. The most popular point here is the statue of the Waving Girl and her Dog. The story goes that a young lady and her dog used to stand by the river. She would wave her handkerchief to all the ships that passed by. After she died the statue was erected in her memory.
There is a free Historic District Shuttle to make it easy to tour.
Savannah does have an airport, it has an Amtrak train station and, if driving, is located just off Interstate-95.
The Savannah CVB has all the information you need to help you enjoy your visit.
About two hours north of Savannah is another pretty city – Charleston, South Carolina, which can be reached via SR17/I-95/SR17.