Tuesday, April 1, 2014

3/31/14 Savannah Green Spaces

     The founder of Savannah, and ultimately the state of Georgia, was a fellow by the name of James Oglethorpe.  Not enough good can be said about this man - he not only was a visionary but he was a spiritual man in the truest sense of the word.

     He brought 35 families with him to settle the area, all of the families peasants who had no future in England.  After they arrived, he stayed in a tent until everyone else's house was completed.  He started an experimental community garden where the peach trees, the cotton and several other staple crops of the Carolinas and Georgia were to come from.  

     His most lasting legacy today is the layout of the city itself.  Every two blocks there is a community square - 22 of them remain.  These are ample spaces that have benches and fountains, bushes and trees and each have a personality of their own.  And in keeping with his start, as the city expanded community space remained a part of the public planning.  There is ample green space for anyone who wants to stretch their legs, run their dog, play some outdoor games or just sit in public and meet some new folks.

     On top of that, numerous streets have wide and ample medians.  Remember, this was all laid out in the early 1700's, about 200 years before the advent of the automobile.

     It seems everyone is in on the notion of preserving and sharing their heritage.  Even the local police station has a couple of 1950's police cars out front on display.

     But some people have been able to muscle their way in, tear down old structures and erect the modern "box" style of building.  The IRS found a way to stick up a monstrosity of a building in the historic district.  Subsequently, the local college of art added this this sculpture on the sidewalk out front.

     The locals promptly dubbed this sculpture "The Shaft."  As in, "Who wants to go down to the IRS and get the Shaft?"

     McDonalds also managed to stick a franchise in, but this one has a walk-by rather than a drive-thru.

    Of interest is the statuary in one square.  During the revolutionary war, Haiti sent 500 men to assist the colonists in the war against England, many of whom died in Savannah.  This statue commemorates that assistance.

     Also of interest is the old cemetery in town.  It was used from 1750 to 1860, after which no more burials took place there.  But during the civil war, Sherman's men encamped in this area.  It was cold, so they broke into the mausoleums, threw the corpses out on the ground and camped out inside.  

     When it was time to go, the roads were muddy from the spring thaw.  Needing weight for their wagons to be able to get traction on the muddy roads, they took most of the tombstones from the graveyard.  Those they didn't take they defaced or just broke and slung about.  The net result is that although there are about 9,000 folks buried here, but only about 700 tombstones remain.  All along the back wall are hung tombstones that were later found, but no one is sure which graves they belong to.  

     Here is a fellow who had the gated community concept down in the 1830's - long before developers started walling off chunks of nearby Hilton Head Island.

     Here are a couple of photos I am sharing just because I like the shots.

      And another one of the Old Savannah Tours actresses.  This is Jamie Grafton who plays the role of a southern belle.

Jamie Grafton

     And finally, the first electric recharging station I have seen.  Just slide your credit card and you can charge up.  A bit scary to use though, because no rate was quoted for how much a charge-up costs.

All have a great Tuesday !!

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