Ebenezer – Home of the Salzburg Lutherans

Ebenezer – Home of the Salzburg Lutherans

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.

Salzburger Ghost Town

We knew nothing about Ebenezer other than the text on the memorial, but took a detour there, since we happened to be driving by. Ebenezer is difficult to find, barely on the map, and we were skeptical about finding anything of interest. As we turned onto Ebenezer Road, a “Dead End” sign greeted us, which wasn’t encouraging.

But after parking at a church and stepping out of the car, we realized there’s life here, after all, and were swept into the arms of Ebenezer’s unofficial welcoming committee. An older man greeted us enthusiastically and introduced us to his town, which has become a sort of historical heritage site. There’s a museum dedicated to the Salzburg Lutherans, the Jerusalem Salzburg Church built in 1769, and an original log cabin filled with colonial artifacts of German and Austrian design.

Ebenezer Swan Salzburger

Ebenezer doesn’t exist anymore, as an actual, incorporated town. But in its early days, the Lutheran community had been immensely successful. The town even served briefly as the capital of Georgia, and was the home of a state governor. But the Revolutionary War devastated Ebenezer, and it never recovered. In 1855, it was abandoned for good and the few remaining residents brought into the nearby city of Rincon.

The history of the place is fascinating, and we loved stepping inside the original log cabin and the church, both of which are remarkably well-preserved. We spent an hour talking to our guide, his son, and another man who’s lived in the area his whole life.

Our visit to Ebenezer was a lot more successful than we had feared. During the trip back to Savannah, I reflected on how diverse my country truly is, despite its relative youth. I mean, we had just visited an abandoned town in the middle of the Georgian backwoods, founded by persecuted Austrians. It’s these kind of weird cultural conglomerations which really make the USA special.

Georgia Salzburger Society – Website
Location on our Map

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Salzburger GA Church
Ebenezer Window
Wet Bricks
Ebenezer Bench
Salzburger Ebenezer
Ebenezer Open Air Church
Sugar Cane
Sugar Cane Press
Salzburger Tools
German Water Well
Ebenezer Ghost Town
German Nachttop
German Waffle Iron
German Sewing Machine
Ebenezer Curtain
German Machine
German Tools
German High Tech
German Ant Trap
Ebenezer Fragrance
Ebenezer Couple Picture
Salzburger Coins
Old Ebenezer Clock


  • Sandy Traub

    The Beehive Foundation published a book of illustrations, circa 1736, highlighting life encountered by Ebenezer settlers. Google “National Humanities Center – Ebenezer Journals of P. G. F. von Reck and Rev. J. M. Bolzius, 1734, excerpts.” to find a few amazing illustrations by Frederick von Reck. [problem posting hyperlink]

    January 25, 2011 at 5:27 am
  • Gil

    The natural beauty of Ebenezer Creek is remarkable. A slow moving blackwater stream, it is habitat for 1,000 year old cypress trees. It is beautiful place to paddle a boat or canoe. There are areas along its banks sprouting cypress knees taller than a man.

    January 25, 2011 at 6:36 am
  • Isabella Davis

    Heavens Guys!!! I didnt know about this article until I by ACCIDENT came across your post about The Schnitzel Shack here in Rincon! That’s where I live(Rincon) although to make things easier for people to understand I just say I’m from Savannah!Everyone knows where that is! I live about 6 miles from Ebenezer .I also found it strange to finally settle in a place after all the years of moving that was settled by Austrians and have a street named Weisenbaker(my maiden name was Weissenbacher) and I’m a first generation transplant here from Rosenheim!.It certainly is a small world my friends! I am presently posting a few images of historic Savannah check them out under” Glasskunstler”Again many thanks for the entertainment and world travels,always enjoyed and never boring!All the best, IsaBella

    January 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm
  • Joachim

    Adventsgruß 2013 aus der Haimat der ostpreußischen Salzburger an die Salzburger in USA http://www.myheimat.de/rinteln/kultur/d2566448.html Viele Grüße Joachim http://SalzburgerEmigranten.de/

    December 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm