Savannah: Sultry Slice of Southern Charm
Tales of Wealth and War Time Takeovers
Official Savannah, GA Website: http://www.ci.savannah.ga.us/cityweb/SavannahGaGOV.nsf
No other southern city evokes quite the same mystery and intrigue, as does Savannah, Georgia. The city is tucked amid the curly cues of the brackish Intracoastal Waterway and sits above the Savannah River not very far from the Atlantic Ocean. The riverfront, which runs along Bay Street, is one of the city’s most touristy attractions: come St. Patrick’s Day the city turns the river green and green beer flows non-stop from bars and pubs that line the cobblestone streets.
The other most popular shoppers destination is City Market. Visitors may explore the work of local high-end artisans and browse the eclectic shops.
Downtown Historic Area
Climb the short, steep hill from the riverfront buzz and you quickly find yourself face to face with antebellum architecture at every turn. The downtown avenues are lush, draped in Spanish moss exactly like you might see in a movie scene. Roundabouts or traffic circles are common as are niche gardens and unique statues and monuments. Plenty of city tours are available for visitors that want to ride and get a bit dramatized history.
Historically Savannah served as the epicenter for trade in Georgia, especially cotton, situated as it was on a major river and at the mouth of the Atlantic where ships for import and export passed in and out. This global trade helped imbue Savannah with its distinct and diverse flavors and quite cosmopolitan sensibility. It also made it possible to accumulate wealth and power, making the Port of Savannah the ultimate “catch” during the Civil War.
Thanks to the energies of citizens in the early 1900s, the burgeoning Industrial Revolution was unable to flatten the historic buildings in Savannah’s downtown district. Believe it or not, during the early 1900s the historical factor was considered less than desirable and would-be developers preferred to erect modern architectural structures as a means to herald progress and improvement. Today the downtown area is closely monitored by the historical society.
Not far from downtown Savannah, along the coast, lies tiny Tybee Island, anecdotally known as “Savannah Beach.” The first Days Inn Hotel was located on Tybee and the area draws visitors from all over the U.S. Lighthouse enthusiasts flock to the Tybee Island Light Station, “one of North America’s most beautifully renovated.”1
Colleges and universities provide critical infrastructure. The Savannah College of Art and Design has been an integral part of the downtown fabric for a few decades. Other institutions include: Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah State University, and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.
1. Tybee Island Light Station, accessed September 21, 2007, http://www.tybeelighthouse.org/ .