Ask almost anyone to give you a fact or “tidbit” about Georgia and the Civil War and a vast majority will mention something about Gen. Sherman’s March to the Sea. Sherman’s march, which is officially known as the Savannah Campaign, began when his troops left Atlanta on November 16, 1864. The march was completed with the capture of Savannah on December 21, 1864. On December 20, he led his men across the Savannah River on a pontoon bridge hastily constructed of rice flats. The next morning, Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold rode out to formally surrender, in exchange for General Geary’s promise to protect the city’s citizens and their property. Sherman’s men, led by Geary’s division of the XX Corps, occupied the city the same day.
Many sites in Savannah associated with Sherman’s march and occupation of the city are open to the public and available for tours, including the Green Meldrim House.
On his 27th to Georgia, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled by train from Washington, D.C. to Savannah to mark the commemoration of Georgia’s bicentennial. He arrived at Savannah’s Union station on the morning of Nov. 18, 1933. Roosevelt left in the train station in a motorcade that drove through downtown Savannah. Riding with FDR in his open-air limo were Savannah mayor Thomas Gamble, Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge, and Roosevelt’s mother, Sara.
Savannah’s Union station was built in 1902 and served the city until 1963 when it was demolished to accommodate the Interstate 16 “fly over” and associated entry and exit ramps for Savannah.
On October 1, 1776, Savannah played host to the State convention to create the Georgia State Constitution. The State Constitution would be ratified unanimously on February 5, 1777.
On September 16, 1769, a group of Georgia merchants, many of whom were from Savannah, met at the home of Alexander Creighton and decided to no longer import British goods rather than pay the duties on British imports.
As Savannah grew south of Forsyth Park, new neighborhoods began to develop. These neighborhoods grew in popularity with the creation of the Savannah Trolley and Streetcar systems. Some of these neighborhoods continue to be classified as “streetcar suburbs” and include: Thomas Square, Gordonston, and Ardsley Park.
With the advent and expanding popularity of automobile transportation, including a public bus system, the Savannah Trolley and Streetcar system was abandoned in August of 1946. The last official run of the streetcars was made on August 21st. Streetcars wouldn’t return to Savannah until 2009 when the City installed an operating streetcar along the rail tracks on River Street. Expansion of the River Street streetcar has been discussed, but would require extensive infrastructure improvements, as many of the tracks have been removed or covered with asphalt.
Did you know that for 3 years Savannah served as the state capital of Georgia?
On July 13, 1782 the Georgia Legislative Assembly met in Savannah following the recapture of the city from British control. No formal building was constructed in Savannah to serve as the official Capitol – as for much of its time as capital, Savannah shared the role with Augusta. The decision to split the legislative meetings between two cities was made in response to the ongoing split between coastal and upland Georgia. On January 4, 1785, the Georgia General Assembly convened in a final session in Savannah. Following this session, the capital was moved to Augusta. The available transportation and shifting population center prompted this decision.
This week, we take another trip outside of Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District to help you escape the summer heat with a visit to Tybee Island.
Tybee Island (pronounced “Tie – Bee”) is the outer most island in the chain of barrier islands between Savannah and the Atlantic Ocean. The island is much less developed than Hilton Head Island – retaining much of it’s 1950’s & 60’s beach community atmosphere.
Tybee offers something for everyone – for beach bums, this is “Savannah’s Beach” (known by locals as “the redneck riviera”). For animal fans, there are a number of dolphin tours that depart from Tybee. For those who want to get up close to nature, kayak rentals are available as well. For those looking for some history, North Beach is home to the Tybee Island Historical Society and lighthouse. Foodies aren’t left out on Tybee – there are a number of great (very casual!) restaurants on the island.
The shops, restaurants, and beaches on Tybee are open year round, but see a peak in activity in the summer months when locals flock to the island to escape the heat. Parking is limited on the island, with nearly every space being a metered space – meters are enforced all day, every day.
**** Note: Tybee Island’s beaches are NOT dog friendly. There are a number of restaurants that will allow your dog to visit. If you want to take your dog to a beach, you’ll have to drive up to Hilton Head Island (45 min -1.5 hours north of Savannah – depending on traffic). ****
Getting to Tybee Island from the Catherine Ward House Inn by car is very easy. From door to door, it takes about 20-40 minutes to drive between the two (travel time really depends on traffic onto the island).