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Savannah , the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Europe, sailed from Savannah in May , arriving at Liverpool in twenty-nine days. In the Central of Georgia Railway originally the Central Railroad and Canal Company of Georgia , in which the city of Savannah was the largest stockholder, received its charter from the Georgia legislature. This line, from Savannah to Macon , was completed in , allowing more cotton to be shipped from the interior of the state to the coast. Savannah, like many coastal cities in the nineteenth century, suffered its share of cataclysmic disasters associated with fire, water, and disease.

Savannah Riverfront. The census of certified Savannah as Georgia's largest city a distinction it had held since the birth of the colony , with 14, free inhabitants, including free blacks, in addition to 7, slaves. By the time of the Civil War, Savannah's free black population was among the most entrepreneurial in the South, with established interests in small businesses, agriculture, land ownership and, in some cases, even slave ownership.

By this time Savannah was regarded as one of the most beautiful and tranquil cities in America, particularly after Forsyth Park was laid out in Lee, as a young West Point graduate, oversaw some of the early phases of construction. The brick masonry fortification was considered impregnable until it was forced to surrender in April to Union forces using rifled artillery, a new technology in siege warfare. For the remainder of the war, Savannah was blockaded from its seaward side, and conditions for the city's civilian population became extremely difficult.

Savannah fell to Union general William T. Sherman at the end of his army's march to the sea from Atlanta. On December 22, , Sherman transmitted his famous telegram to U. After being spared destruction from Sherman's forces, Savannah struggled through the chaotic years of Reconstruction. The city's population swelled with the influx of thousands of freed slaves following the Civil War. The majority of Savannah's new black citizens lived in squalid conditions and were subjected to exorbitant rents and prices for goods by resentful whites.

Two separate social cultures evolved for blacks and whites, and distinct racial lines were drawn, particularly in education. Teachers from the North came to Savannah to provide education for blacks , but progress was slow; it was not until that a public school for blacks was established.

In Georgia's first public institution for higher learning for blacks, Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth, was established in the city. Savannah Port. In the s the southern cotton industry was devastated by the boll weevil , and Savannah port activities turned to new industries to fill the void. Savannah Historic District.


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The development of Hunter Army Airfield within the city, along with the sprawling training base at nearby Fort Stewart , enhanced Savannah's growing reputation as a military town. These bases, with the shipping facilities of the port, enabled Savannah to play an important logistical role in the successful projection of U.

In the s and s, Savannah played a central role in the civil rights movement. The Savannah effort developed around a strategy of nonviolent protest implemented by local African American citizens. Gilbert launched a massive voter-registration drive for Savannah's black residents and led the way in for the integration of local law enforcement—the Savannah police department was one of the first in the Deep South to hire African American officers.


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Another important Savannah civil rights leader was W. Shinhoster , Mercedes Arnold, and Carolyn Q. The expansion of streetcar suburbs south of Victory Drive after World War I signaled Savannah's first significant growth outward from the city's historic and Victorian districts. By the early s, the city had attained most of its present area of sixty-five square miles with the development of the suburban midtown and southside commercial and residential sections—areas that remain under development in the twenty-first century.

According to the U. The Gulfstream Factory. Savannah continues to be a national leader in the processing of paper pulp and related products through International Paper Corporation formerly Union Camp and is also the home of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation , one of the world's leading manufacturers of corporate aircraft. Tourism has become the city's leading industry.

Explore Savannah

During the twentieth century, several new colleges opened their doors in Savannah. In the Opportunity School, known Eichberg Hall. Savannah, not surprisingly, is uniquely in touch with its extensive, varied history and has long been a center of historical research and preservation. Toward this end, in December the Georgia legislature chartered the Georgia Historical Society , which was founded earlier that year by three Savannah residents.

The society has been headquartered in Hodgson Hall, located at the northwest corner of Forsyth Park, since Davenport House. During Owens-Thomas House. Present-day visitors enjoy Savannah's elegant architecture and historic ironwork featured in such structures as the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low , founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America; Telfair Museums , one of the South's first public museums; the First African Baptist Church , one of the oldest black Baptist congregations in the United States; Congregation Mickve Israel, the third oldest synagogue in America; and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex, the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America.

Another interesting site for visitors is the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens , which features more than varieties of bamboo. Operated by the University of Georgia 's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the center conducts research, primarily on ornamentals and turf, and provides education for the public. Hide Caption. Savannah River. James Oglethorpe. Silk Filature. Savannah Cotton Exchange.

Gulfstream Factory.


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Eichberg Hall. Owens-Thomas House. Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens. Further Reading. Patrick Allen, ed. Walter J. Fraser Jr. Slavery and Freedom in Savannah , ed. Whittington B. Mills B. Lane, Savannah Revisited: History and Architecture, 5th ed. Savannah, Ga. Alexander A.

A tale of two cities: Savannah and Charleston

Lawrence, A Present for Mr. Beil, Cite This Article. More from the Web City of Savannah. Many visitors have claimed ghost sightings at Colonial Park, and the cemetery is a popular stop on many of the city's ghost tours. Colonial Park is open to the public from 8 a. Recommended for Historic Sites because : Colonial Park Cemetery is the oldest intact cemetery in Savannah and features fascinating 18th- and 19th-century gravesites.

55 Best Things to Do in Savannah (+ Food Tips!) - Our Escape Clause

The cemetery is said to be haunted. Local Expert tip : Ghost hunters: keep your eyes out for the ghost of Rene Asche Rondolier, an orphan accused of murder who was lynched for her crime. Old Fort Jackson, a National Historic Landmark, is the oldest standing brick fortification in Georgia and one of only eight Second System fortifications a series of forts built prior to the War of still standing in the United States. Located on the Savannah River, the historic fort protected the city during the War of and served as the headquarters for the Savannah River defenses during the Civil War.

Today, animated guides dressed in period garb deliver riveting presentations about the life of Confederate soldiers, and cannon demonstrations thrill visitors every weekend. History buff or not, guests of all ages are awed by Fort Jackson. The fort's guides are extremely knowledgeable, and the cannon firings are fascinating to watch.

Things to Do in Savannah, GA - Savannah Attractions

Lauded as one of Savannah's most inspirational sites, this wonderfully preserved church, organized in under the leadership of Reverend George Leile, is one of the first black churches in North America and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. In its later history, First African Baptist Church served as the largest gathering place for blacks and whites to meet during the time of segregation. During a church tour led by knowledgeable and engaging guides, visitors view the church's original pews and pipe organ, fascinating archive room and former hiding place for slaves, marked by ventilation holes and symbols identifying the church as a safe haven.

Recommended for Historic Sites because : First African Baptist Church is one of the nation's first black churches and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Many original features remain intact. Local Expert tip : Be sure to check out the church's museum at the conclusion of your tour. Built in , the English Regency-style townhouse has been elegantly restored and is furnished with many original pieces from the Gordon family.

Whether you're a lifelong Scout or clueless as to the difference between a Daisy and a Brownie, you'll be captivated by the home's lavish antiques, Gordon Low's original artwork and GSUSA memorabilia, such as a Thanks Badge presented to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson in The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace welcomes more than 65, visitors a year, including Girl Scouts from around the country. Recommended for Historic Sites because : The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a must for Girl Scouts past and present but will delight anyone with an appreciation for 19th-century relics.

Wormsloe Plantation, a haven of natural beauty and rich history, was established in by Noble Jones, an Englishman and one of Georgia's earliest settlers. The plantation is known for its striking mile-long entryway, which is lined on both sides by majestic live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Visitors can explore the tabby ruins of Jones' 18th-century estate, along with historic gravesites and a museum housing period artifacts. The historic site, which is maintained by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, also has walking trails that back up to the salt marsh.