Savannah, GA Saturday April 5
The rain has held off but we continued with our plans to visit historic buildings in Savannah. (No interior pictures allowed.) Along the way, we walked along the river front and observed the statue of a young girl who supposedly waved to every outgoing vessel from the harbor.
We went to a series of three buildings owned by one foundation. The Owens-Thomas house was one of the premier historic homes in Savannah, built in 1819. The architect, William Jay, incorporated numerous new ideas from England including indoor plumbing and cast iron. The design is of the Regency style.
This was the in town residence of a wealthy family. Within three years though, due to financial panic and epidemics the house was sold and the wife and two children dead. It passed through several hands until ending up in the Owens family who maintained it until the 1950s.
The house included separate slave quarters. The family had several plantations and got their money off the backs of enslaved people. Sorry, I get tired of hearing about these nice people whose wealth came this way. I asked the guide at the end of the tour if many black Americans tour the property and she indicated that no, but that this historic home saw more blacks due to their honest treatment of the slave issue.
Our next stop was at the Telfair Academy, also designed by William Jay. The Telfair’s were another aristocratic family, originally from Scotland, who had no difficulty owning hundreds of slaves. The group did not produce many progeny and eventually donated the property to create the first art museum in the South. It opened in 1886.
The museum has two recreated rooms from the house and the museum is in the balance of the mansion and an expansion. The art is basically 18th and 19th century American and European art. The basement has several sculptures. All in all, it was pleasant but nothing overwhelming. The only noteworthy item was the original sculpture of “Bird Girl” used on the cover of
the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.
Our third stop was the Jepson Center, a new facility dedicated to contemporary art and art education. We had lunch at their cafe which had displays of docent art along the walls leading to the cafe. We met the owner of the cafe who has to make do without the use of an oven. The Jepson Center people were concerned about fire, smell, etc. Lunch was excellent, hope he can make a go of it without the oven.
The art here was so-so; an exhibit on Marilyn Monroe, a small room on digital art, a really boring exhibit of modern art, and a small room dedicated to slave history in Savannah-the best part of the center although it was mainly large boards of written history.
We left here and went walking for a while. As mentioned yesterday, the historic district is very walkable. The numerous squares have plenty of benches. People are out and about, even late in the evening. Tour trolleys are trundling around, horse drawn carriages are clip-clopping and pedi-cabs are waiting at most parks if you want to have someone take you directly to another location. Most squares have a buskar-musician playing an instrument, hoping passerbys will make a donation.
We stopped at Leopold’s, an ice cream establishment started in 1919. There was a long line, reminiscent of our experience at Stone Harbor on the New Jersey shore when the girls were still in school. We walked by later in the evening and they still had a long line.
Our evening entertainment was one of the functions of the Savannah Music Festival. This is its 25th year and is the largest musical arts event in Georgia. It offers an eclectic array including jazz, dance, chamber/symphonic, pop/rock, and American folk/traditional.
Our event was the Acoustic Music Seminar 2014 Finale: Stringband Spectacular. It was held at the Lucas Theater, one of those grand old theaters that had been renovated for $15,000,000 around the year 2000. The event featured 16 young adults aged 16-25 and their mentors playing mandolins, violins/fiddles, banjo, harp, guitar and bass. Many of the songs were composed by the students themselves and the group of players changed from composition to composition. The performance was excellent.
Ed and Chris April 6 12:10 am