March, 2011 – Savannah, George – A Little History

Posted on November 16, 2011

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Old Savannah Cotton Exchange

Here’s just a bit of history to give you an idea of what this beautiful city is like.

Savannah is the historic riverside birthplace of Georgia, settled in 1733 by British colonists led by James Oglethorpe and Col. William Bull.

The city is located on the Savannah River.  It was, and still is, a major shipping port.

Prior to the Civil War, growing cotton and shipping to to markets in England was one of the south’s primary industries.  Warehouses were built in Savannah along the river, and cotton grown inland was brought into the city for sale to factors, or buyers, w ho in turn sold it to England.

Factor’s Walk was an elevated walkway at the rear of the warehouses where buyers once stod to evaluate and price wagons full of cotton pulled up below.

English ships sailing unto port to take on loads of cotton arrived with cobblestones in their holds for ballast.  These stones were offloaded, and eventually used to pave streets around the warehouse district.

During the Civil War, Savannah was mostly spared from the ravages of Gen. William Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea.  While Sherman’s men left a swath of devastation from Atlanta to the edge of Savannah, Sherman and his officers were given free rein to enjoy the homes,  hospitality (and wine cellars) of Savannah’s most prominent residents in exchange for his promise to refrain from reducing the city to ashes.

Today, these old cotton warehouses are a thriving restaurant, music and entertainment scene, as well as a local festival site.  A paddle wheel steam boat offers river cruises, there’s docks for private vessels, and plents to eat and drink and experience.

Savannah was the first planned city in America.  James Oglethorp laid it out in a north-south, east-west grid with 22 blocks set aside as parks, each with flower gardens, trees, shrubs, and usually a statue or fountain in the cemter.  Beautiful old homes, many dating from the 1700’s, line the streets surrounding these suares.

It’s a beautiful, historic and vibrant city – very pedestrian-friendly, and filled with things to see and do and experience.

We didn’t spend near enough time here. We WILL be back.

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