Found along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia are communities known as the Gullah-Geechee, who are descended from freedmen and former slaves. Historically isolated due to the ultra-rural environment and their own choice, these are people who developed their own culture and language. We went to the Pin Point Heritage Center to learn more about them, their work and their lives.
Located on Calhoun Square, the Massie School opened its doors in 1856, and was the first public school in Georgia. Today, it’s been converted into the Massie Heritage Center, featuring an overview of Savannah’s unique urban planning, and exhibits dedicated to the most important aspects of the city’s culture, from architecture to the Native American influence.
A weathered memorial stone in Savannah’s Emmet Park pays tribute to a group of Lutherans from Salzburg, Austria, who immigrated to Georgia in the 18th century to escape the persecution of their Catholic homeland. Under General Oglethrope, Georgia had become known for its religious tolerance, and welcomed the the Lutherans with open arms. Along the banks of a river to the north of Savannah, they settled a town which they would name Ebenezer.
In 1808, with relations between Britain and our fledgling country quickly deteriorating, President Thomas Jefferson ordered the construction of Old Fort Jackson to protect the important port city of Savannah. Named for revolutionary hero James “Left Eye” Jackson, it was ready in time for the War of 1812, but never needed.
Found on Franklin Square, the First African Baptist Church is the oldest black church in North America. Founded by slaves in 1775, it has a history nearly as old as Savannah itself.
Found in the old railway shed of the Central of Georgia, the Savannah History Museum is a good place to stop for an overview of the city’s development through the ages.
Named after revolutionary hero Nathaniel Greene, whose monument and burial site is at Johnson Square, Greene Square was laid out in the 1790s and developed into the center of Savannah’s black population. With a number of beautiful homes encircling it, it’s one of the city’s more enchanting squares.
Andrew Low was a Scot who moved to Savannah when he was sixteen. He entered the cotton business and, by the time he was in his thirties, had become the leader of uncle’s company and the richest man in the city. Accordingly, he built a house which would reflect his newly-acquired status on Savannah’s newest square, Lafayette.
The Pirate’s House, on the northeastern corner of Savannah, is thought to be Georgia’s oldest building, and is certainly one of its most famous. Captain Flint, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, is said to have died here after drinking too much rum.
The road to Tybee Island takes you right by Cockspur Island, home to Fort Pulaski. Originally built after the War of 1812, the fort is now a national monument.
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