Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hello Savannah

James Oglethorpe came to Georgia in 1732 from England, with 114 people he had arranged freedom for from debtor's prison.  He had lost a dear friend in debtor's prison some years earlier.  He also forbade lawyers in Savannah because a lawyer was responsible , he felt, for sending his friend there to being with.  For Savannah he thought a judge was good enough.  During the first year, one half of these people died. there were outbreaks of yellow fever and malaria.  A cemetery was needed immediately.  That began Savannah's relationship with the dead and buried.

When the city was designed, it had 24 square park areas.   Today there are 22 remaining squares all with names and personalities. like Forsyth Park,(The Victorian area)  Wright Square, and probably the most well known is Chippewa Square.  This is where a certain movie was made showing a young man sitting on a park bench eating a box of chocolates.  Around each square are streets so it's easy to navigate and easy to get great views of all the beauty.  One of those cross streets, however, has been paved over that first cemetery of settlers.  oops....   So too has the old Jewish cemetery been built upon. 

The Kehoe house was built in 1892 for $25,000, by William Kehoe, owner of the iron foundry.  So, what do you do when you want to show off your iron making wealth?  Everything that is painted white is wrought iron. ( And most of Savannah has wrought iron trim.  I thought I had seen a lot in Charleston.  That pales in comparison.  It is gorgeous here.)

More than a century later, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kehoe and their 10 children was sold, in 1980 to Broadway Joe Nameth for $80,000.  He wanted to make a "Gentleman's Club" out of it.  That was not going to happen, so, as the story goes, in 1989, he sold it for  $530,000.  I also heard $250,.000.... so the truth probably lies somewhere between.  He did all right anyway.  After it was sold, the new owner renovated and turned it into a Bed and Breakfast, as it is today.

I had to show you Paula Dean's Lady & Sons Restaurant.

I had heard that it was buffet and part of it is.  You can order off a menu as well.  Go on line to see the menu.  To me the buffet looked average for $15.99.  On the dinner menu is a Chicken Pot Pie for $18.99.  I had no desire to eat there myself.

The Mercer-Williams Home was built by General Hugh Mercer, Great Grandfather to composer Johnny Mercer, in 1860.  The building was interrupted by that war so it wasn't completed until 1968.

In 1969, Jim Williams,an antiques dealer,  (any fans of  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil   remember this?) bought the empty house and took 2 years to restore it.  Then there is that whole other thing that happened there.

                                                              The Forsyth Park Mansion.

It does have 126 guest rooms and suites. The hotel is open for us tourists to go into but we didn't.  Maybe next time because I can not find any history on that house anywhere.  Maybe one of you know something about it.

Broken glass on a wall to keep out spirits.  Slaves from the western coast of Africa and from Haiti brought their spiritual beliefs with them.  One being spirits will not cross water so they mixed lime with natural dies to make paint the color of the Caribbean water.  It was then painted around windows, porch ceilings and door frames.  Sometimes even the underside of floor boards.  The lime deterred termites and mosquitoes, therefore saving many from malaria and yellow fever.  Even today, wasps will not build a nest in a porch ceiling painted blue.  They think it is sky.

  The old Candler Hospital.  Founded in 1808 as a seaman’s hospital and poor house, Candler is the oldest hospital in the state of Georgia. The original structure, which has been empty for nearly three decades, was once used as a Union hospital, as well as a hospital where hundreds of patients died of Yellow Fever. It has also been used as an insane asylum.   There was a tunnel connecting it to Forsyth Park, where they illegally buried many yellow fever victims, so as not to worry the people in the city, about the epidemic. ( I don't know what they told the relatives of those missing family members.??)  In the last few years, the Savannah Power company was burying lines when they found graves of dozens of bodies, also believed to be yellow fever victims.  I did find information that there were or are plans to develop the space for retail and condos.  Seriously?  Who is going to line up for that space? 

Colonial Park Cemetery the oldest ,still in use,  cemetery in Savannah, began in 1750. (after that other one was full)   More than 700 victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic are buried here.  "There are also many victims of Savannah's  dueling era of 1740 and through 1877. Many of the duels left a number of men dead from what one source calls acts of "too much honor." 

There are 2 orbs captured here, in the Colonial Cemetery, from our Ghost Tour.  One is just below the Spanish moss and the other is to the left.

We did the 90minute walk with one other couple about our age and the guide.  She told us to take 3 photos at a time for comparison.  These are my second and third photos, of this shot.  Looking at them while on the camera, the orbs are blue, not white like lights.   Weird, huh?  They have moved.  I took a lot of photos through our walk and didn't get anymore.  The other man with us got more.  I think his camera was better 'cause we were both clicking away. 

To me Savannah is a beautiful mixture of gracious manners, fabulous homes, sweet tea and wrought iron.  It goes hand in hand with an acceptance of spirits, ghosts and superstition.   I did learn that if your grandmother visits you long after she died, you do not call her a ghost.  That's just rude.  You know who she is.  She's your Grandma, not a stranger.  Maybe not your whole grandma,but a shade of Grandma, so you have a Shade in your house, not a ghost.  Now I know.

So on that note, tomorrow we go to Bonaventure Cemetery, just outside the city.  It's a perfect place to visit with Halloween near.  To me, it is hauntingly beautiful.



Sweet Tea said...

I loved seeing Savannah through your photos. I visited there 5 yrs ago and this brought to mind much I saw when I was there. It is beautiful and regal, isn't it?!

What hard times people had with Yellow Fever and other diseases - much grief and heartbreak. So thankful for modern med's.

Far Side of Fifty said...

What no food with butter at Paulas place?
Way cool photos of the orbs on the ghost tour!
Savannah sounds like a wonderful place to visit:)

Chatty Crone said...

Now I have been to Savannah - beautiful city. I didn't know all that history though. I went on the ghost tour too!

I think for me it is a great place to visit, not so good to live unless you live outside in the suburbs.

A lot to see there.

Laura said...

My daughter and I spent a day in Savannah when she lived near Atlanta. We loved it and always wished that we could have gone back while she was still living down that way.
We didn't do the ghost tour. We went on a trolley tour with a guide and toured Juliette Gordon Low's house as my daughter and I were very involved in Girl Scouting. And we walked. A lot.
We ate at Lady and Son's. We had to go there at 9am (I think) and sign up for dinner and then go back at 5 or 6 and you would wait and get called in in groups. We did the buffet. The food was great. We were absolutely stuffed. My daughter is a big Paula fan so it was a must do for us.
Would love to go back to Savannah! Enjoyed your photos and taking the tour with you!

mary said...

This is a wonderful tour. Thanks! And, your pictures are great. I was only in Savannah one day and would love to visit again, especially after seeing your pictures.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Thanks for taking us along on this beautiful tour! Your photos are wonderful, I love seeing the homes there. Oh, if walls could talk, just think of the stories those old homes could tell!
Have fun on your next tour!

Mary said...

I couldn't find anything on the Forsyth place either. Now its just a luxury hotel, that's all I could find anyway. I can't believe how expensive the Lady and Son's are, at least for me it's expensive. Savannah looks like a beautiful place. I don't care if you call them ghosts or shades, I wouldn't want to encounter either one.

Intense Guy said...

Beautiful pictures - the one with the blue orbs is definitely strange.

Yellow fever really shaped this town - as did the Civil War.

I'm not surprised to hear them wanting to "develop" over a cemetery - respect for the dead is trumped by greed - and is shameful.

Your newest banner (of the cemetery) is awesome and eeiry.

Kathy said...

Thanks for the tour of Savannah that I've never taken, even though I was a resident for over 5 years, and only live 55 miles away now.

I have ridden through the downtown squares many times, and visited one or two of them, but never visited any of the homes. The traffic and the people...too much to deal with.

The ghost tour sounds interesting...

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