Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

Walking Through Savannah Squares

September 9, 2008
The Hamilton-Turner Inn on Lafayette Square, Savannah.  June 24, 2008.

The Hamilton-Turner Inn on Lafayette Square, Savannah. June 24, 2008.

After Betsy and I left the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, we had a little time to walk around a couple of the squares nearby.

The Cathedral is on Lafayette Square, which is named for the Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who served as George Washington’s aide de camp during the Revolution.  Until 1846 the Savannah City Jail was located beside this square.  In 1983 the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America installed a fountain in the center of this square commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Georgia.

The Hamilton-Turner Inn, built in 1873, faces Lafayette Square, as does the home of Georgia’s prize-winning 20th century author Flannery O’Connor.

We then walked along Macon Street, which contains some beautiful row houses, to Troup Square.

Troup Square is named for George Michael Troup, a native of the region who served as a Congressman, a Senator, and the Governor of Georgia.  Troup Square is smaller than most of the other squares and is made even more unique by its Victorian armillary.

The Unitarian Universalist Church (built in 1851) is on this square.  The organist and choir director of this church, James Pierpont, wrote the song “Jingle Bells”.

To see more of our walk through these Savannah squares click HERE.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

September 3, 2008
The organ of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah.  June 24, 2008.

The organ of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah. June 24, 2008.

When Betsy and I were planning our anniversary trip we did some internet research on our proposed destinations, especially Savannah since neither of us have ever been there before.  I knew about Fort Pulaski and I knew I wanted to visit the fort.  I knew that Savannah was a very historic and a very beautiful city, but that was about it.

One of the Savannah attractions mentioned in the AAA online tour book was the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  “This cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the South, and features marble railings, floors and altar.  In addition there are murals, stained-glass windows, large carved-wood stations of the cross, and a solid white-oak 2,081 pipe organ.”

Both Betsy and I decided the Cathedral would be a good place to visit.  Our tour of Savannah took us past the Cathedral, so we got a good idea of how to get back.  After our tour we drove back to the Cathedral and went in.

The Cathedral was everything the tour book said it would be and more.  It was physically beautiful and spiritually inspiring.  We would highly recommend this attraction to anyone visiting Savannah.

To see more of the Cathedral click HERE.

Savannah Tour

August 31, 2008
Victorian Row Houses in Savannah, Georgia.  June 24, 2008.

Victorian Row Houses in Savannah, Georgia. June 24, 2008.

The day after visiting Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island, Betsy and I went to downtown Savannah to tour the historic district.

Georgia was the last of the English colonies to be founded in North America.  James Edward Oglethorpe is considered the founder of Georgia, although he was only one of 21 persons named as trustees of the new colony.  An interesting provision of the original charter was that rum, lawyers and slavery were forbidden!

England had several reasons for founding Georgia.  Oglethorpe was personally interested in providing relief to the debtors of England and in helping the English poor and  unemployed.  The English crown wanted to remove the poor so England would not have to support them.  Another interest of the crown was to provide a buffer to protect South Carolina from Spaniards in Florida.

Oglethorpe and 120 other settlers arrived in what is now Savannah in February, 1733.  Oglethorpe soon became friends with a local Indian chief, Tomochichi.  Oglethorpe and Tomochichi pledged mutual goodwill and the Yamacraw chief granted the new arrivals permission to settle Savannah on its bluff above the river.  As a result the town flourished without warfare and the accompanying hardship the burdened many of England’s early colonies.

Savannah is known as America’s first planned city.  Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets dotted with shady public squares and parks that served as town meeting places and centers of business.  Savannah had 24 original squares and 21 of them are still in existence.

I must admit that we didn’t enjoy our tour of Savannah as much as we enjoyed our tour of Charleston, but we did get a good overview of the historic district and are now ready to go back and take a walking tour!

To see more of our tour click HERE.

Fort Pulaski

August 26, 2008
The flag flying at Fort Pulaski.  June 23, 2008.

The flag flying at Fort Pulaski. June 23, 2008.

In the early 1800s the United States constructed a third system of forts to protect the East and Gulf coasts from invasion.  Most of those forts still exist.

The fort constructed to protect Savannah, Georgia, was named Fort Pulaski in honor of the Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, who lost his life fighting against the British at Savannah during the Revolutionary War.

Fort Pulaski was designed to be one of the most modern fortifications ever built.  Many considered the fort’s 7½-foot solid brick walls backed with massive masonry piers unbreachable.  Construction of the fort started in 1829 and required $1 million dollars (that was real money back then!), 25 million bricks, and 18 years of work to finish.

Unfortunately for the designers of the fort technology did not stand still after the fort was complete.  The rifled cannon was perfected which had both greater accuracy and greater range.  Union rifled cannon a mile from the fort breached the walls and forced the Confederates to surrender after only 30 hours of bombardment.

Fort Pulaski was built on Cockspur Island which was extremely marshy.  Before the fort could be built, a dike and drainage system had to be designed and constructed.  The drainage system was designed by a young lieutenant of engineers — Robert E. Lee.  That explains why I was so interested in seeing the fort.

To see more of our visit to Fort Pulaski click HERE.