Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Savannah, Georgia

The Greyhound dropped me off in Savannah, Georgia, where I spent two days with a friend from college.

We had not seen each other for five years due to overlapping deployment schedules, but once reunited it felt like we hadn't been apart for more than a day.  That's a testament to true friendship.

A defining feature of Savannah is the plethora of live oaks covered in Spanish moss.

My friend was a History major in college, and she took no time telling me about the Hostess City of the South.  Here's a recap:

General James Oglethorpe and 120 ship passengers landed in Savannah in February 1733.  Georgia was America's 13th and final English colony, and Savannah was it's first city.

Upon arrival, Oglethorpe befriended the local Indian Chief, Tomochici.  Due to their friendship, Savannah did not experience the warfare and hardships that plagued other American colonies.

Oglethorpe laid out the city in a series of grids with wide boulevards and leafy public squares.  Twenty-two of Oglethorpe's original twenty-four squares are still standing.

During the Civil War, the Union Army imposed strict sea blockades that destroyed Savannah's economy.  In December 1862, General Sherman and his soldiers began their "March to the Sea," destroying Atlanta and other cities in Georgia.  Upon arrival in Savannah, General Sherman was so taken by it's beauty, that he could not destroy it.  Instead, Sherman offered Savannah as a Christmas gift to President Abraham Lincoln on December 22nd, 1864.

Church from Forrest Gump.

After the Civil War, Savannah's economy recovered.  The economy was based on cotton, and was bolstered by the arrival of new industries like resin and lumber.  
In the 1950's, a group of women formed the Historic Savannah Foundation.  The Foundation preserved many buildings, helping Savannah to become a tourist hotspot.

Unique architectural details.

Great shopping on River Street...

...and on Commerce Street.

Savannah is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

The Olde Pink House, one of America's most haunted buildings.

Savannah made me excited to live in the South.  The US Census Bureau divides America into four regions:  West, Midwest, Northeast, South.  I've lived for more than six months in the West (Washington), the Midwest (Minnesota, Missouri), and the Northeast (New York).  But this will be my first time living in the South, and I'm looking forward to southern cooking, southern accents, southern hospitality, and being a seven-hour drive from the Hostess City of the South.  

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