Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Richmond Hill Ga - Ft. McAllister, Ford Plantation and Drug running

Ogeechee River; Richmond Hill Ga

     Welcome to day 2 in Richmond Hill.  Yesterday we got a bit of a feel for the place, today we will look a bit more at the geography and history.

     There are some accounts of indigo production back in the 1700's, but they seem a bit sketchy.  With the completion of the canal to Savannah in the 1830's, the rice culture took off here.  In many places you can still see the old levees and irrigation channels still being utilized.

     Henry Ford bought many large tracts of land here in the 1930's, and chose to make his home base along the Ogeechee at the site of three old plantations.  This is now a private, gated community called "The Ford Plantation."

     On top of the extensive frontage on the river, the land is graced with many small ponds and lakes.  

     Some of the architecture almost has a Dutch feel to it.

     There is the obligatory golf course and clubhouse - although the fog was heavy during my visit it was clear that a number of the golf holes run along the river.  I am sure it is quite scenic.

     Inside is a dining area for members, and next door in a separate building is the pro-shop.

     On the other end of the property is the old Ford mansion, simply called "The Main House."  

     The restoration has been very well done - I was told a few decades ago when they began this house had bales of hay in it and was primarily used by local youths for partying.

     A large portion of the property is devoted to equestrian, with an ample stables an many acres fenced in for pasture.

     A few miles down the street lies the historic Fort McAllister.

    This fort was built in the 1860's to ward off Union attempts to sneak in the back-door to Savannah.  It withstood 7 Union naval attacks during the war, and only fell when Sherman attacked it from the land.  During Sherman's attack, the only casualty was the fort's mascot - a pet cat.

     The fort is quite picturesque and worth the visit from an educational perspective as well as having a lot of nice trails and walk-ways.  A small museum indoor museum also graces the site.

     This was another of Ford's projects - he put up the funds to refurbish the fort back in the 1930's.  Below is shown a replica of the soldier's barracks.

     Also part of this site is "Savage Island," a very scenic and quiet campgrounds.

     It has a small marina with boat ramp that is ample and easy to access.

     Kayaks and canoes are readily available for camper's use, and the park provides free firewood to campers.  There are areas for motor-homes and primitive camping.

     And if you are more of the luxury type there are ample cabins with all the modern amenities available.

     So, if you watched the photos the last two days you might have noticed I developed a fascination with this shrimp boat that was sitting on the banks of the river in the fog.

     It does make a great photo opportunity.  Here is a shot of it without the fog.

     Well, as with everything, there is a story behind this shrimp boat.  This boat belonged to Barry Spence, a notorious drug runner who operated in this area during the 1980's who died a month ago today. 

     Along the coast, you often hear of shrimpers who made most of their money catching "square grouper" - a tongue in cheek reference to retrieving bales of pot and moving them inland for sale.  Which brings us to our parting shot - an old painting hanging in the local museum that depicts one of the professions that has been around in this country since well before the Revolutionary War - the moonshiner.

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Have a great Wednesday !!

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