March 2007 – Savannah had been a quick overnight stop in 2002 on the way from Charleston to Florida. But I was intrigued enough by that glimpse to put it on my list of “come back to’s” when I had more time.
I chose springtime because I wanted to see the city decked out in azaleas, especially the 24 historic squares in the downtown district. Peaceful places in the midst of a modern bustling city remind us of important people and events in Savannah’s history. Former presidents, native Americans, soldiers, a city in Mexico – are remembered and honored here.
I knew that soon after my arrival here I’d have to get back to work. Of course I’d prefer never to have to work at anything except exploring and writing about it, but it actually all turned out pretty good. It was funny, too, because when I was exploring the downtown historic district, and I was walking down this particularly lovely Oglethorpe Avenue loaded with azalea bushes, I thought, “Since I have to work while I’m here, this is where I want it to be.” I wanted to be able to walk around and explore the squares during lunch hour and after work.
I was standing right near the entrance of the old Colonial Park Cemetery at that point being intrigued with some of the stories of the old souls buried there. This was the second cemetery in colonial Savannah and was the burying ground for the city from about 1750 until it was closed against burials in 1853.
Magnolia blossoms and mass graves. These crypts hold dozens of family members and became necessary during the 1820’s yellow fever epidemic. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (Button Gwinnet) rests here, along with some who died defending their honor in the ways of the day by dueling with pistols.
Is there anything spookier than an ancient headstone under a tree oozing with Spanish moss? I’m not particularly scared of ghosts, but this is still no place I’d want to be at night. Apparently General Sherman’s troops had neither fear nor respect because they pushed out remains from some of the crypts in order to have a warm place to sleep and moved the headstones to set up camp in the cemetery during their occupation.
The only thing I was afraid of at this point was not having enough time to properly explore the city again when I went back to work. But I got out the phone book and earmarked attorneys that had websites and email. I decided to tackle the task the easy way this time and send inquiries by email instead of going around and leaving resumes in person. I figured it might take more time to get results, but I decided not to worry about it because I had another two weeks I wanted to use to explore Skidaway Island and Fort McAllister State Park before I absolutely had to jump back into the workday grind.
So I was pretty surprised when I got an almost immediate return email from an attorney to call him. By that time, I had decided to think positive and I told him that in my perfect world I wouldn’t start for another two weeks, then I’d work some weeks part time until mid June when I was leaving Savannah. He agreed to every single term I asked for! And that’s not even the best part – guess where his office is located? Right across the street from the spot I stood on the week before and said “This is where I want to work!” Talk about the power of positive thinking!
Here’s the entrance to the law office of Duffy & Feemster on Oglethorpe Avenue. It’s one of four Greek Revival townhouses that makes up “Mary Marshall Row.” These treasures were almost demolished in 1960 for their valuable Savannah grey bricks and marble steps. Conrad Aiken, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, lived in one of these houses when he was 11 years old. One night he overheard his parents arguing followed by gunshots. The poor kid found the bodies of his parents, his father having committed suicide after killing his mother. He said he felt haunted by his parents ever since then. Since part of my reason for being here was to write an article on “Supernatural Savannah” for MotorHome magazine, this was icing on the cake kinda info. I never saw or felt anything weird during all the time I worked here, though.
Bonaventure Cemetery – After seeing Little Gracie here, the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was put on the must-see list. Neither of us had ever seen the movie, so we rented it the first night in Savannah. But we both got too sleepy before the end, so didn’t finish it until the next morning. Maybe that’s why it ended up making no real sense to us, but it was still cool to be in Savannah after seeing the movie.
Here’s “Supernatural Savannah” – my article published in the October 2007 issue of MotorHome Magazine.
Check out this page I did with pics and info about Spooky Savannah.
Old Town Trolley Tours has a great overview of the historic district. I explored and researched a lot of the area before I took the tour and still learned good stuff from the guides – like an interesting fact about this gorgeous house by Columbia Square.
But my favorite turned out to be Wormsloe Historic Site because of that row of majestic live oak trees.
What a beautiful city! It has so much going for it besides being the largest National Historic Landmark District in the USA. I’d love to hear your favorites about the city in Comments below!
All Malia’s Miles Savannah Pages:
Historic Squares — Bonaventure Cemetery —
Laurel Grove Cemetery — Spooky Savannah —
Wormsloe Historic Site — Skidaway Island State Park —
Fort McAllister State Park — George L. Smith State Park —
Savannah Area RV Parks