How Many of These Savannah Facts Do You Know?
One of my favorite ways to learn about a city besides physically exploring it is to learn some facts! As you can imagine, Savannah, Georgia has quite the history! Below, I will be sharing some interesting Savannah facts you may have not known! Within these Savannah facts, you will be learning about Savannah’s history, fun facts, and quirky tidbits that make Savannah or otherwise known as the Hostess of the South!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How Many of These Savannah Facts Do You Know?
- 1. Savannah is Georgia’s Oldest City
- 2. First Planned City
- 3. Savannah, Georiga is the 13th Colony
- 4. The Land of Savannah Was Inhibited by the Yamacraw
- 5. Lawyers, Drinking, and Slaves were Outlawed
- 6. Savannah is One of the few Places You Can Have Open Containers
- 7. Savannah Had 24 Original Squares
- 8. Savannah is a Top USA Port
- 9. Many of Savannah’s Streets are “exotic”
- 10. You can see Dolphins in the Savannah Riverfront
- 11. The Girl Scouts Were Founded in Savannah
- 12. Savannah is Home to Georgia’s Oldest Plantation
- 13. Savannah has One of the Prettiest Streets in America
- 14. The Spanish Moss is not really Moss
- 15. Indoor Plumbing in the USA
- 16. Savannah was a Christmas Gift to President Lincoln
- 17. Bonaventure Cemetery is Savannah’s Largest Cemetery
- 18. The Oldest Home in Savannah is the Pirates’ House
- 19. Savannah is One of the Most Haunted Cities
- 20. One of the First Museums in the South
- 21. Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah
- 22. First African Baptist Church
- 23. The City has Been in Ruin Multiple Times
- 24. Savannah Has One of The Oldest Operating Theaters
- 25. The Weeping Time
- 26. Savannah Has the Only Prohibition Museum
- 27. The Georgia Historical Society
- 28. Georgia’s First Bank
- 29. The Forsyth Fountain was Ordered from a Catalog
- 30. Savannah Was Georiga’s First Capital
- 31. Savannah has One of the Oldest Jewish Congregations
- Savannah Interesting Facts: Wrap-up
1. Savannah is Georgia’s Oldest City
Founded in 1733, Savannah is in fact Georgia’s oldest city! The city was discovered by General James Edward Oglethorpe and 120 settlers who sailed over on the ship Anne.
2. First Planned City
Savannah is also known as the United States’ first planned city. General James Oglethorpe had big plans for designing the city which was laid on a grid system with wide streets.
3. Savannah, Georiga is the 13th Colony
Another fun fact about Savannah is that it was the 13th and final colony in the USA. General Oglethorpe named the Georgia colony after King George II.
4. The Land of Savannah Was Inhibited by the Yamacraw
When Oglethorpe and his settlers arrived, they learned the lands were inhabited by the Yamacraw Native Americans. In efforts to have a good relationship and trade, Oglethorpe worked with translators to speak with Chief Tomochichi. The two became good friends and Chief Tomochichi even went to England twice.
The Chief also received a military funeral directed by General Oglethorpe at Wright Square where his remains are.
5. Lawyers, Drinking, and Slaves were Outlawed
Originally when Oglethorpe founded Savannah, he outlawed lawyers, alcohol, and slaves. Unfortunately, in 1751 Georgia made slavery legal.
6. Savannah is One of the few Places You Can Have Open Containers
Fast forward, Savannah is one of the few cities in the USA that has open container laws. You are able to walk around the historic district with 16oz to-go cups of your chosen alcoholic beverage. So, don’t be surprised to see people walking down River Street with their boozy cups!
7. Savannah Had 24 Original Squares
Savannah is well known for its beautiful Squares, but did you know there were originally 24 squares? There are now 22 original squares left. The other 2 were destroyed to make garages and parking lots…sigh. Some of my favorite squares to visit are Monterey Square, Columbia Square, and Chippewa Square. Savannah fun fact: The first square laid was Johnson Square and it is also the largest.
8. Savannah is a Top USA Port
Another fun fact you might find interesting about Savannah is that it is the 4th busiest shipping port in the USA. During a trip to the Riverfront, it’s not uncommon to see giant container ships making their way down the Savannah River.
9. Many of Savannah’s Streets are “exotic”
Savannah has a handful of cobblestone and ballast stone streets throughout the city. These stones actually come from all over the world and were used to balance the ships as they sailed to Savannah to pick up cargo. When they unloaded the ships, they decided to use the stones to make roads. You will find the same thing in Charleston too.
Pssst… Planning to visit Charleston too? Here are the Coolest Things to do in Charleston!
10. You can see Dolphins in the Savannah Riverfront
This Savannah fact took me by surprise as we were walking along the Riverfront, and out of nowhere dolphins started popping up. Because the Savannah River is brackish water (a mix between fresh and saltwater), it’s common to see dolphins.
11. The Girl Scouts Were Founded in Savannah
The next time you enjoy your girl scout cookies, you can think of Savannah! The Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1915. Fun Savannah fact: Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace is also the first Registered National Historic Landmark.
12. Savannah is Home to Georgia’s Oldest Plantation
Since Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city, it makes sense the oldest plantation can be found here. Wormsloe Historic Site Plantation is very popular to visit for its towering oak tunnel that stretches 1.5 miles. Wormsloe is also home to the oldest tabby wall structures can be found. Movies such as The Last Song with Miley Cyrus and the Generals Daughter were filmed here. Wormsloe is also considered one of the most Instagrammable places in Savannah!
13. Savannah has One of the Prettiest Streets in America
If you ask a local Savannahian where the prettiest street is, they will tell you Jones Street. Located in the Historic District of Savannah, the street houses 18th-century homes, giant oak trees, and brick streets. Because of its quintessential Southern Charm, Jones Street regularly makes the list of prettiest streets.
14. The Spanish Moss is not really Moss
One of my favorite Savannah facts I learned was that Spanish Moss is not really moss or even Spanish for that matter. Spanish moss is a bromeliad which is a perennial herb in the pineapple family. Furthermore, Spanish Moss is native to North America and can be found growing on Live Oak trees and bald cypress trees.
15. Indoor Plumbing in the USA
In 1819 the Owen-Thomas House was one of the first to have indoor plumbing in the United States. It is known as the first home in the USA to have a water closet on two floors. Even by the 1940s, it was still extremely rare to have indoor plumbing with only 55% of American households having one private bathroom! You can also tour the Owen-Thomas Home & Slave Quarters located in the Savannah Historic District across from Oglethorpe Square.
16. Savannah was a Christmas Gift to President Lincoln
During the Civil War, General Sherman of the Union had destroyed every town they went through. It was said that he believed Savannah was so beautiful, that he didn’t want to pillage the city. After the General’s famous March to the Sea, a telegram was sent to President Lincoln stating, “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton”.
Not only is Bonaventure Cemetery one of the most famous Cemeteries in Savannah, but it is also the largest cemetery in Savannah with 100+ acres. Bonaventure is frequently visited for being haunted, having incredible azalea blooms, seeing famous graves such as Johnny Mercer, and because the Cemetery was featured in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
18. The Oldest Home in Savannah is the Pirates’ House
In 1753, the Pirates’ House originally opened as an Inn, but quickly turned into a place pirates frequented. Fast-forward, this joint is one of the longest-running pirate-themed restaurants and is also known to be one of the most haunted places in Savannah.
19. Savannah is One of the Most Haunted Cities
Savannah is known as a city that has been built over the dead. From mass graves and Native American burial grounds, it’s no wonder the city is so haunted. The city was hit with a huge Yellow fever epidemic and several mass fires.
Some of the most haunted places you can visit include the Colonial Park Cemetery, Moon River Brewing Company, The Marshall House, The Mercer House, and Factors Walk down River Street. If you love exploring haunted places, you should definitely do a Savannah Ghost tour!
20. One of the First Museums in the South
The Telfair Museum was originally built for Alexander Telfair in 1819. Then, in 1875, the Telfair Mansion was passed down to the Georgia Historical Society where they planned to open a museum. What makes this museum one of the more interesting facts in Savannah is that the mansion turned museum was one of the first in the South and the first museum opened by a woman.
21. Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah
One of America’s favorite movies Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah. Most notably, the bench scene where Forrest tells his story at the bus stop. It is also where he says one of his most famous lines, “life is like a box of Chocolates”. The filming location was at Chippewa Square. However, you may be sad to know the bench was just a prop for the movie, so you can’t sit on it.
22. First African Baptist Church
The First African Baptist Church was organized in Savannah during the year of 1773. The Church played an important part in the civil rights movement in Savannah. During a visit, you can tour the church and museum and see memorabilia that dates back to the 18th century.
23. The City has Been in Ruin Multiple Times
From two major fires in 1796 and 1820 to major hurricanes, Savannah has had to pick itself up and rebuild several times to the city tourists flock to.
24. Savannah Has One of The Oldest Operating Theaters
Did you know the Savannah Theater is one of the oldest theaters still operating in the United States? The theater opened its doors in 1818. In 1948 the theater was redesigned to its current look after a fire. You can visit The Savannah Theater in Chippewa Square.
25. The Weeping Time
It is not secret Savannah has a dark history. In March of 1857, Savannah had the largest sale of human beings in the history of the USA. The auction of African Americans lasted 2 days long and took place at a racetrack in Savannah, Georgia. During the 2 days, it was said to be pouring rain the whole time because the heavens were sad, therefore it was named The Weeping Time.
26. Savannah Has the Only Prohibition Museum
Prohibition played a huge part in America’s history and Savannah is home to the one and only museum dedicated to exploring this time period. You can find The American Prohibition Museum in City Market in the Historic Landmark District.
27. The Georgia Historical Society
The Georgia Historical Society, which was founded in 1839 is the oldest continuously operated historical society in the South. Headquartered in Savannah, they teach Georgia’s history.
28. Georgia’s First Bank
The Olde Pink House Mansion is famous for being one of the best restaurants to dine at while in Savannah, but did you know it was also once Georgia’s first bank? In 1812, the mansion became Planters Bank for a short while.
29. The Forsyth Fountain was Ordered from a Catalog
One of my favorite fun facts about Savannah is about the famous Forsyth Fountain. When you see this grand fountain, it might surprise you to find out it was ordered right out of a catalog! The Fountain has graced the park for over 150 years now and similar ones can be found in New York, France, and Peru! Forsyth Park is also one of the most popular spots to take Savannah photos.
30. Savannah Was Georiga’s First Capital
Before Atlanta became the Capitol of Georiga, it was actually Savannah up until 1868. At first, Atlanta was the temporary Capitol and then in 1877, it became official.
31. Savannah has One of the Oldest Jewish Congregations
The Congregation Mickve Israel, founded in 1733, is the third oldest synagogue in the United States. They started construction on The Congregational Mickve Israel Synagogue in 1820 and completed it in 1878. The Synagogue was also the first-ever built in Georgia.
Located in Monterey Square, you can visit their synagogue and museum which has been recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Savannah Interesting Facts: Wrap-up
The covers some of the most interesting Savannah, GA facts! I hope you learned something new, fun, and interesting about Savannah. If you are planning your trip to Savannah, make sure to check out:
Have any questions, or did I miss any other fun Savannah facts? Let me know in the comments below!