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Ebenezer – Home of the Salzburg Lutherans

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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
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Salzburger GA Church
Ebenezer Window
Wet Bricks
Ebenezer Bench
Salzburger Ebenezer
Johann-Martin-Boltzius
Ebenezer Open Air Church
Sugar Cane
Sugar Cane Press
Salzburger Tools
German Water Well
Ebenezer Ghost Town
Salzburger-House-1755
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
Kate-Keebler-Neidlinger
Salzburger Coins
Old Ebenezer Clock
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January 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm Comments (6)

Wormsloe Plantation

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Located on the Isle of Hope, just twenty minutes by car Savannah, Wormsloe Plantation is a gorgeous historic site which allows visitors to explore both a museum and a couple nature trails. And this must be one of the only sites in America whose most memorable feature is its driveway.

Wormsloe Gate

Pulling into the plantation, the scene is breathtaking. Hundreds of live oaks tower over a straight road which leads deep into the coastal forest. Speed along the path is limited to 15 mph, but most visitors will want to proceed even slower. The oaks, evenly spaced apart and draped with Spanish moss, create a scene of incredible beauty, particularly on days when the sunlight filters through the foliage.

Wormsloe was established by Noble Jones, an English official who came to Georgia with Oglethorpe and the original settlers… and who had the coolest name of any of them. And throughout the succeeding generations, this plantation has continued to provide a home to the same family. Wormsloe’s mansion is still a private residence, although it’s opened often to fundraising events and private parties. When we visited, preparations for a wedding reception were in gear.

Wormsloe Library

There’s a museum dedicated to the area, with colonial and Native American artifacts that have been found here. But we paid it scant attention, wishing to spend more time outdoors; it was a beautiful day, and Wormsloe’s walking trails were calling to us. They brought us by the tabby ruins of Noble Jones’ original residence, and the shell middens left by the Isle of Hope’s original inhabitants: the Yuchi and Creek Tribes. We even found a makeshift “Colonial Village”, complete with a wooden house and big tools used by the settlers.

Wormsloe Plantation is one of the most photographed spots in Savannah, and for good reason. The grounds are simply stunning, and its proximity to the city makes it a favorite spot for day trips. Nature lovers and history buffs (and really, just about everyone) will find plenty to enjoy, here.

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Wormsloe Historic Site – Website

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Wormsloe
Wormsloe Georgia
Wormsloe Chimney
Wormsloe Knecht
Fake Flowers
Wormsloe Lady
Antique Inbox
Secret Gardens
Deer Statue
Frida-Renne-Barrow
Relax in Savannah
Spanish Moss House
Plantation Ruin
Wormsloe Grave
Savannah Nature
Wormsloe Palms
Wormsloe Root
Tree Skin
Travel Blogger
Lost Bird
Wormsloe Bridge
Fuzzy Moss
Mogli Jungle Book
Savannah Fall
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January 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm Comments (5)
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.
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