Savannah Area Attractions|
Andrew Low House - Built for Andrew Low around 1848, guests have included Gen. Robert E. Lee. It was here in 1912 that Juliette Gordon Low organized America’s first Girl Scout troop. The house stayed in the family until her death in 1927, and was then acquired by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America as a Georgia headquarters.
329 Abercorn Street. (912) 233-6854
Civil Rights Museum - The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum showcases Savannah’s dynamic role in progress. The museum is named after the late Dr. Gilbert, serving for 16 years as pastor of the historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square. He reorganized the Savannah branch of the NAACP and helped make sure some of the first black policemen in the deep South were hired by the Savannah P.D. in 1947.
460 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. (912) 231-8900
Cotton Exchange - When Savannah reigned as the world’s leading cotton port, locals dubbed the Cotton Exchange as “King Cotton’s Palace,” a testament to city wealth reaped from the lucrative white fluff. The red brick Queen Anne-style building, by architect William Gibbons Preston, is notable for stubby pilasters, intricate classical detailing, low relief decorative terra cotta work and steep gables.
100 East Bay Street, on Factors Walk.
Davenport House - Constructed circa 1815-1820 by master builder Isaiah Davenport, the residence has a spiraling, open-well, cantilevered staircase and ranks as one of the great Georgian houses of America. By the 1930s, its interior had been cut up into apartments. Earmarked for demolition in 1955, the house was saved by the Historic Savannah Foundation Inc. and restored to reflect middle-class living of the 1820s. Its garden was created and maintained by the Trustees Garden Club.
324 East State Street.
Factors Walk - Noted for iron bridges, Factors Walk is a historic walk spanning Bay Street to River Street, and many of the 19th century buildings once housed offices where cotton merchants (called factors) transacted business. Streets, now lined with shops, restaurants and night spots, are paved with cobblestones brought as ballast by early sailing ships.
Fort McAllister State Historic Park - On the Great Ogeechee River’s south bank, this park acreage of live oaks and salt marsh is home of the best-preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. The fort’s sand and mud earthworks were attacked seven times by Union ironclads, but held until captured in 1864 during Sherman’s March to the Sea. A Civil War museum has a historical movie and the park provides for picnics, hiking, fishing, and camping.
Nine miles east of Richmond Hill. (912) 727-2339
Fort Pulaski National Monument - General Robert E. Lee was an engineer on construction of this coastal fort. In 1862, defense strategy changed worldwide when Union rifled canon first overcame a masonry fortification. After capturing the fort, Union Maj. Gen. David Hunter ordered release of area slaves. Many were recruited into the Union Army’s First South Carolina Colored Regiment. The park, where moss drapes from trees and vegetation includes cabbage palms and various wetland grasses, has a visitor center, book store, exhibits, programs, picnic area and trails.
Highway 80 East heading for Tybee Island. (912) 786-5787
Green-Meldrim House - Erected in 1850 for prominent lawyer Charles Green, eager to show off his wealth on high-profile Madison Square, the Green-Meldrim House is regarded as a rare example of a Gothic Revival house within urban context. Architectural details include cast iron oriel windows, crenellation of the roofline and stone hooding around windows. Green’s taste for opulence is reflected in a pair of fireplace mantles of Carrara marble with custom-made mirrors from Austria. In 1864, Gen. William “War is Hell” Sherman used the house as his headquarters, and it was from here that he sent Abraham Lincoln the famed telegram announcing Savannah as his Christmas gift to the White House. After being owned by only two families, the Greens and the Meldrims, the house was sold to John’s Episcopal Church in 1943. Open to the public, it also is a parish house.
14 West Macon Street.
Hamilton Turner Museum - Once a magnet on the Savannah social circuit, this residence is referred to as the Odom party house where “Mandy” lives in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Apart from guided tours of the house, walking tours of the downtown historic district start at the house and ghost tours take place from here on Fridays and Saturdays at around 8:30 p.m.
330 Abercorn Street. (912) 233-4800
Historic and Victorian Districts - The Historic District, a feast of Spanish moss-draped trees, cobblestone streets and flower bedecked entranceways, encompasses the original city, now a city within a city about 20 blocks long and a dozen more wide. It is laid out in a grid of separately named squares with 21 of Oglethorpe’s original 24 still going strong. The Victorian District, Savannah’s first suburb, is just south, with wood frame houses dating from the 1870s and 1880s in a mix of Victorian styles and architecture and the Victorian Telfair Hospital on Park Avenue.
Historic District, bounded by Savannah River, East/West Broad and Jones streets. Victorian District, bounded by Gwinnett Street, Anderson Street and lines just beyond Montgomery Street and Price Street.
Historic Railroad Shops - Just off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Visitors Center is a 130-ton diesel locomotive on a turntable with the roundhouse. Savannah’s Historic Railroad Shops – a National Historic Landmark -- are the nation’s oldest, most complete antebellum railroad manufacturing and repair facilities still in existence. Construction by the Central of Georgia Railway started in 1845, and 13 of the structures still stand. The Roundhouse Railroad Museum’s permanent exhibits include steam engines, belt-driven machinery, locomotives and rolling stock.
Hodgson Hall - Headquarters of the Georgia Historical Society, Hodgson Hall was built in 1874-75 as a memorial to scholar William Brown Hodgson. A priceless collection of historical documents within serves as the font for most research on Savannah.
501 Whitaker Street
John P. Rousakis Riverfront Plaza - This multi-million dollar restoration has preserved and stabilized the historic waterfront with atmospheric charm. The nine-block brick concourse is ideal for strolling, picnicking and ship watching. More than 75 boutiques, galleries, artist studios, restaurants and pubs are sheltered in restored, renovated cotton warehouses. First Saturday Festivals are staged each month.
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace - Birthplace of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, known as “Daisy,” this house built in 1821 is in the heart of the Savannah Historic District and has been elegantly restored to reflect the 1880s with many Gordon family pieces, including Juliette’s artwork. Guided tours provide a taste of Victorian family life at the Wayne-Gordon house. The Girls Scouts of the USA bought the house from the Gordon family in 1953, turning it into a museum.
Corner of Bull Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. (912) 233-4501
Mercer House - On Monterey Square, this Italianate mansion is the centerpiece for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, providing the setting for Jim Williams’ Christmas parties. It also was the shooting death scene of his assistant, with Williams tried four times before acquittal. The house already had a violent history, according to Williams. As the story goes, in 1913 a former resident had tripped on the stairs, fracturing a hip and suffering a concussion that proved fatal, while in the 1960s a boy met his demise while chasing pigeons and slipping off the roof.
429 Bull Street.
Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Museum - This 90,000 square foot facility honors the more than one million men and women serving in the 8th Air Force, established in Savannah in 1942. Features include a 100,000 volume capacity library, archives, memorial gardens, an art gallery, meeting and study rooms, a gift shop and snack bar.
Intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 80 (Exit 18).
Mulberry Grove, Home of the Cotton Gin - At Mulberry Grove on a bluff overlooking the river, Mulberry Plantation stood for nearly a century until torched by Union troops. Remaining are big, moss-covered chunks of brick and mortar. The site is not presently open to the public, although that will change if the Mulberry Grove Plantation Foundation, working to resurrect the plantation house, has anything to do with it. Mulberry (Oglethorpe had named this outpost Joseph Town) is where Eli Whitney arrived in 1793 as a plantation tutor, moonlighting on the side to perfect the mechanical gin for taming raw cotton. Seized by Georgia as a Loyalist property, hosting President George Washington during his southern tour, this property has been changing hands over and over since 1733.
Old Fort Jackson - Part of the chain of nine forts built along the Savannah River, Old Fort Jackson was constructed in 1808 and occupied during the War of 1812 and again by the Confederates during the Civil War. It has a maritime museum and often provides “blast sound” demos from a 32-pound cannon, the largest black powder cannon still fired in America.
One Jackson Road. (912) 232-3945
Owens-Thomas House and Museum - Designed by 24-year-old architect William Jay and completed in 1819 for cotton merchant Richard Richardson and his wife Francis Bolton, the Richardsons soon lost the home in the 1820 depression. After a stint as an elegant boarding house – Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette delivered his two Savannah addresses from the home’s south side cast iron balcony -- George Welchman Owens bought the home for $10,000 in 1830. It remained the Owens family until his granddaughter Margaret Thomas bequeathed it to what is now the Telfair Museum of Art, which has a gift shop.
124 Abercorn Street. (912) 233-9743.
Savannah City Market - Restored shops, studio/art galleries, taverns and restaurants -including from the Food Network, Paula Dean's, Lady and Sons, are all on the site of the old City Market that was demolished in the 1950s. Destruction of the Old City market spurred foundation of the Historic Savannah Society.
West St. Julian Street.
Savannah History Museum at the Visitors Center - Situated on the site of a famous Revolutionary War battle, the 1779 Siege of Savannah, this 20,000 sqft museum covers history of Savannah from its founding by James Oglethorpe in 1733.
301 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. (912) 238-1779
Savannah River - Water is an indelible part of Savannah’s history, and assorted riverboats including the Georgia Queen and the River Queen offer afternoon or evening sojourns on the Savannah River past landmarks and other points of intrigue.
River Street Riverboat Company. (800) 786-6404, (912) 232-6404
The Savannah Theatre - Built by eminent architect William Jay, the Savannah Theatre is the nation’s oldest theater in continuing operation. After debuting in 1818 with a comedy production the theater was granted a perpetual charter in 1838. It has burned several times over the years, but has been rebuilt and reopened successfully each time, including a conversion for motion picture presentations, and parts of the rear wall still contain bricks and foundation of the 1818 theatre. A prime example of the 1940s Art Deco movie venues, the 452-seat theatre now operates as The Savannah Theatre Company to match its historic home.
222 Bull Street. (912) 233-7765
Scarbrough House - Designed by William Jay and built for wealthy merchant William Scarbrough in 1819, this house became a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Scarbrough was a principal investor in the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, and he hosted President James Monroe on the occasion of the maiden voyage. Grounds include the largest garden within the historic district. Visitors often arrive by walking along a fig-covered wall to the garden gate. Housed within Scarbrough House is the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, with a large collection of models and maritime artifacts on display.
41 West Broad Street. (912) 232-1511
Telfair Mansion and Museum - Paintings, prints, sculpture and decorative arts are housed in the Telfair Mansion, built in 1818-1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of Georgia Governor Edward Telfair. In 1875, the home and furnishings were bequeathed by Mary Telfair to the Georgia Historical Society for a museum.
121 Barnard Street. (912) 232-1177
Temple Mickve Israel - As the third oldest synagogue in the U.S., it was consecrated in 1878. This temple is the nation’s only purely Gothic Revival synagogue.
On Monterey Square, across from Mercer House.
Tybee Island Lighthouse, Museum and More - The circa 1773 Tybee Lighthouse is the nation’s oldest active lighthouse, and has exhibits, a gift shop and a great view. The museum, in the Battery Garland of Fort Screven, has military and resort history. Tybee is a low-key seaside barrier island resort boasting a wide, 3-mile long beach backed by sea oat-covered sand dunes. The south-end pier and pavilion is prime for strolling above the ocean and listening to live band music. Tybee has its share of colorful local characters along with a range of restaurants and accommodations, from hotels, motels, and luxurious condos to quaint inns and cottages.
U.S. 80, east on Tybee Island. (912) 786-5801
U.S. Customs House - Constructed in 1852 by John Norris, the structure is noted for its Greek Revival style and six monolithic granite columns. Across the street stand cannons presented to Chatham Artillery in 1791 by George Washington.
At Bay and Bull streets.
Vietnam Memorial - Dedicated on June 29, 1991, the City of Savannah and Chatham County Vietnam Veterans Memorial design and layout is in the shape of Vietnam. Names of the 106 who died from Greater Savannah are engraved in marble. At the apex is a salute to fallen comrades with rifle, helmet and combat boots.
Emmet Park on Bay Street
Washington Guns - A pair of bronze cannons, taken at Yorktown, were presented to the Chatham artillery as a “bread and butter” gift by George Washington when he stopped by Savannah in May, 1791.
On Bay Street, between Drayton and Bull streets
Wormsloe Historic Site - Ruins are all that remain of a colonial fortified home built by Noble Jones, an English physician and carpenter. Jones came to Savannah with James Oglethorpe in 1733 and commanded a company of Marines charged with Georgia’s coastal defense. As all colonists, Jones received a town lot in Savannah and land. By 1736 he requested and received the lease of 500 acres on the Isle of Hope. He dug a well and began construction of a fortified house facing the Skidaway Narrows on the land he called "Wormslow." Wormsloe is the only surviving remains in Savannah from the Oglethorpe years. A museum and picnic facilities are near the trail to the ruins.
7601 Skidaway Road. (912) 353-3024