Spotlight On: Savannah
Thursday, August 6, 2009
By Mark Caskie
When Savannah, Georgia’s Davenport House—considered one of the best remaining examples of Federal architecture—was threatened with demolition in 1955, a group of local women founded the Historic Savannah Foundation to fight its planned destruction. They were successful, and having saved their first historic structure they went on to save more than a thousand others. Just over a decade later, the 2.5-square-mile area of Savannah built on the city’s original 1733 grid was declared a National Historic Landmark District.
In recent decades, two more events have helped to shape this city. The opening of the Savannah College of Art and Design in the late 1970s brought an artistic energy that has proved a counterpart to the city’s architectural and historical legacy. Today, the college operates as many as 11 galleries around Savannah (and more in its environs), and it has been responsible for the repurposing of many historical structures. The second defining event was the publication in 1994 of John Berendt’s bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The book, which brings some of Savannah’s most colorful characters to life, continues to attract tourists from around the globe.
The best way to appreciate Savannah is by walking—or by taking a carriage—through its historic district and lingering in one of its more than 20 public squares. A great place to start your walk is along Bull Street, the historic district’s commercial center, and then head to President Street for the best of the city’s museums. Along the way, you’ll encounter fine examples of different architectural styles; squares with statues and fountains; and subtropical vegetation, such as wisteria, magnolias, oaks, azaleas, camellias and Spanish moss.
Savannah is, of course, also a port city. You’ll want to visit the Savannah River waterfront to see the buildings that once housed its thriving cotton industry. Today, these buildings are shops, taverns, restaurants and offices. You may be surprised by the size of the ships that pass just a few feet from the river’s bank.
If you’re planning a trip to Savannah, visit our website to browse and select from a few local properties.