2014 Trip Two, April 4, Deep South

Friday, April 4 Savannah GA

This may be the last day without rain for a while so we spent most of it walking around Savannah. It is advertised as a very walkable city and it is. We took a 1.75 hour walking tour focusing on the city’s architecture in the morning.

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

Savannah was founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe. We talked about him yesterday so no need to recap that. The city is 20 miles from the ocean and is a major port with ships coming up the Savannah River to the port facilities. The population of the city is 140,000.

view of ship moving up Savannah river from our hotel

view of ship moving up Savannah river from our hotel

The city was laid out in a very formal fashion. There were 24 squares (green spaces) and around each square a grid like street and alley system was established. Around each square were four blocks of residential homes and four blocks of civic activities. Oglethorpe created four squares before he left the colony and returned to England. With his square concept, it was easy to grow the city in a logical fashion. Just add another square.

Walking tour by oldest house in Savannah

Walking tour by oldest house in Savannah

Our tour guide was a young man who had taken architecture classes but never went for his formal registration. He has been giving these tours since 2005. There were 16 people on today’s tour. We had called a few days ago to make reservations. This morning he indicated there were an equal number who had called and he had to turn them down.

This house dates from 1820.

This house dates from 1820.

I won’t try to recap his presentation. He covered the architecture of the city from its founding (nothing exists from 1733 due to frequent fires and the normal desire to improve things) to now. There are examples dating back to the 18th century though. Most importantly, you may remember that U.S. General Sherman marched to the sea from Atlanta to Savannah. His troops destroyed railroads and munitions and liberally took food and livestock from the civilians. He surrounded Savannah, the Confederate troops abandoned the city, and the city leaders surrendered the town under the understanding it would be spared. Thus, there was no major Civil War destruction in Savannah.

Built in 1873 and notable for use of wrought iron

Built in 1873 and notable for use of cast iron

After the talk, we continued our walk through the various squares for another two hours. The weather was delightful and the squares are made for sitting and people watching. In the latter part of the afternoon we walked along the riverfront. A small art festival was going on and people were plentiful.

Fountain in Forsyth Park

Fountain in Forsyth Park

We had an excellent dinner overlooking the Savannah River and experienced a minor diversion. Fire. A building a block down began to smoke from an upper level. Fire trucks arrived and there appeared to be no major damage.

Evening diversion

Evening diversion

Our evening entertainment was a musical presentation titled “Savannah Live”. This was a two hour, high energy performance of mainly rock and roll from the 70s to the 90s along with some Broadway hits. We found it extremely lively and the musical execution by singers and the band was exceptional. Much more entertaining than the shows we experienced in Branson last fall.

We are hoping the camera holds up for the last ten days of the trip. It was dropped a few days ago and the lens cover does not fully retract. We have to edit most pictures to eliminate the gray shadow.

Ed and Chris April 4 11:45 pm

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