Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sightseeing In Historic Savannah, Georgia

A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting the charming old Southern town of Savannah, Georgia.  We began our visit sightseeing down the old historical River Street.  If you would like to see that post click on:

The city of Savannah is the first and oldest city in the State of Georgia.  Georgia was named after England's King George II and was the last of the 13th original colonies to be established.

In the below photo we see a statue honoring General James Oglethorpe.  He, along with 120 passengers on a ship called "Anne"  from England, landed on a high bluff along the Savannah River in February 1733.  

After many beginning hardships General Oglethorpe set out to plan and establish the city of Savannah.  He is credited with planning the first American city.  He planned for wide open streets intertwined with shady public squares or parks that served as town meeting places.  Twenty-one (21) of the original 24 parks remain in the city of Savannah to this day.

This bronze statue erected in 1910 is located in Chippewa Square, one of the 21 squares or parks planned by Mr. Oglethorpe.

General James Oglethorpe

This statue of James Oglethorpe seen in the above photo was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French who also created Lincoln's statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Chippewa Square is located in the center of the 21 squares in Savannah.
It is one of the best known squares in the city...

If you happened to see the movie Forrest Gump you would have seen, in the opening scene of the movie, Forrest sitting on a bench in Chippewa Square as he waited for a bus.  The original bench he was sitting on is no longer in its original position in the square, but is located now in the Savannah History Museum.

There are several benches, like the bench seen in the photo below, located all around the park as a reminder to the original bench seen in the Forrest Gump movie.

The city has a provided a very convenient "Hop on - hop off" Trolly Tour Service.
This is a very nice way to see so many of the popular sights all around the city.

As we were driving along on the Trolly, I spotted this very old looking building seen in the below photos.  If you look closely, you can see toward the top of the building the letters constructed into the building inscribed Savannah Cotton Exchange.  This building was built in 1872 when Savannah was a leading producer of cotton.  They tell us that many of the world's cotton prices were set on the steps of this old Savannah Cotton Exchange.

You may know this,  but just in case I will tell you what I found out about the statue located in front of the Cotton Exchange building.  During construction of this old historical building they added a fountain in front and a "griffin" which is a legendary creature with the body, tail and back legs of a lion.  Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions i.e. The Cotton Exchange.

We took a quick walk around at the Savannah Visitor's Center.  Seen in the below photo I spotted this large picture on the wall.  Look at all of that cotton!!  ...  There are what looks like hundreds of bales, giving us an idea of the major amount of cotton grown in the Savannah area.  Can you imagine picking all that cotton ... Amazing!

We were so fortunate the Trolly took us past this Victorian Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, dating back to 1799.  The Trolly tour guide told us to be sure not to miss this beautiful old church.

We were told there was a devastating fire back in the early 1900s and the church we see in these photos is the result of the church being rebuilt and then renovated again in 1998-2000.  As you will see in the below photos this is an amazingly beautiful church and we were so glad we visited.

Seen in the below photo is the view of this beautiful church as we walked into the front door.

And, in the below photo this is a view of the church looking from the front alter up 
to the back of the church where we see the amazing old organ. 

And the below photo is a closer-up photo of the front alter.

The below photo shows a side-alter off to the left of the main alter.

The fresh flowers on the alter were so simple and beautiful.

And in the below photo we see another side-alter off to the right of the main alter.

In the below photo we see The Stations of the Cross on the wall. These large three dimensional wooden carved Stations of the Cross were created in Munich, Germany and installed in the church in 1900.

As you probably already know there is a total of fourteen Stations of the Cross carvings representing successive incidents during the last day in the life of Jesus, from condemnation by Pilate, to his crucifixion and burial. It is very touching to walk around and reflect on each one of these carvings.

I loved the carved wooden details of each one of these Stations of the Cross.

The stained-glass windows in this beautiful church are from Austria.

The murals on the walls and ceiling were beautiful. In the photo below this mural depicts Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, giving the Beatitudes to his followers. I have always loved the message in The Beatitudes.

This statue of St. Theresa located in the back of the church caught my eye.

Below we see a photo of the very beautiful Baptismal Font newly 
installed during the renovation of the church in 2000.

It was very convenient to "hop on and hop off" of the Trolly Tour Bus ....
The next stop we were told not to miss was Forsyth Park.

In the below photo we see Forsyth Fountain located in a 30-acre park at the southern edge of the Historic District in Savannah.  This lovely two-tiered cast-iron fountain was built in 1858 and is located in the middle of this beautiful park.  This park was named in honor of Georgia Governor John Forsyth in 1851.

While visiting this park we were entertained with lovely music. We took a minute and spoke with this gentleman playing the trumpet in the below photo.  He shared with us that he originally came to this country from Puerto Rico. He also shared with us how much he enjoys entertaining the visitors to this picturesque park.


The next stop on our tour was the Andrew Low House.   This home was built in 1849 for Andrew Low who was a Scottish-born wealthy business man and the father-in-law of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America.

Andrew Low was one of the key business men involved in the import/export of cotton in Savannah.  He was so successful he was able to hire a renowned architect to design and build this captivating house.  We were fortunate to be able to tour the inside of this old historical home. However, photos were not allowed inside.

If you would like to see photos of this beautiful old home you can click on the site below:

This beautiful old home seen in the below photo is now the Hamilton-Turner Inn.  

We did not go inside, but I did check out their website to get a glimpse of the inside:  

We next toured the Owens-Thomas House.

This elegant residence was built from 1816-1819 for a cotton merchant and banker in Savannah.  In 1830, planter, congressman, lawyer and mayor of Savannah, George Owens, purchased this home. 

The home remained in the Owens family until 1951 when a granddaughter bequeathed the property to the Telfair Museum of Art.

As we exited this lovely old historical home we see this English-inspired original mid-nineteenth century garden, which provides a glimpse of the genteel life in the early days in Savannah.  This garden is one of the few surviving original gardens created in 19th century Savannah and the only one open to the public.  

We also see an original carriage house beyond the garden, which contains one of the earliest intact slave quarters in the South.  This carriage house was not open to the public on the day we toured.

The next interesting home we spotted as we walked along through this 
beautiful area was Magnolia Hall.

I loved having my camera to try to capture some of the absolute 
beauty of this amazing Southern town. 

The vine covered brick steps leading to the entrance of the home were so pretty.

The architectural styles of the 18th and 19th century Victorian period, 
including this type of ornamental ironwork fencing seen in the below photo was so beautiful to see.

Magnolia Hall in Savannah is a three-story residence built in 1878 for the great grandson of Thomas Hayward Jr., a South Carolinian who signed the Declaration of Independence. 
This to me was one of the most beautiful homes in the city.

We walked along the old historic streets just enjoying the lovely sights along the way.  The streets of Savannah are known for the large old Magnolia trees covered in blossoms and oak trees covered with Spanish moss.

Across the street we see this amazing wisteria vine draped across the front covered
 porch and gazebo on this lovely old home.
Can't you just imagine how beautiful this vine must be in the Springtime!

There is so much history in this old Southern town of Savannah.  We are all familiar with much of the history of the Civil War ...  One of my favorite historical stories during the Civil War happened when Union General William Sherman began his mid-December "March to the Sea" after burning the entire city of Atlanta and everything else in his path.

This is my favorite part:  Upon entering Savannah, Sherman was said to be so impressed by the beauty of the city that he could not bring himself to destroy it.  On December 22, 1864, he sent a famous telegram to President Abraham Lincoln, offering the city as a Christmas present.  

This is a true story because I found a copy of Sherman's original telegram to President Lincoln:

This telegram is a little hard to read.  It goes like this:

SAVANNAH, GA., December 22, 1864(Via Fort Monroe 6.45 p.m. 25th)
His Excellency President LINCOLN:
I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.
W.T. Sherman,
Major General.
We were glad to know that Savannah's Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and remains one of the largest historic landmarks in the country.
Thanks for coming along with us as we toured this lovely old historical city.  Wishing you a good week with many blessings wherever you may be.

No comments:

Post a Comment