31 Interesting Savannah Facts

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 not have 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! 

Chippewa Square walkway in Savannah
Chippewa Square – Fun Savannah Fact – this is where Forrest Gump was Filmed

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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.

Wright Square monument in Savannah
Wright Square

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!

River Street Restaurants in Savannah
River Street

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.

Oglethorpe Square perfect for a day trip to Savannah
Oglethorpe Square

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.

Savannah Sunset on the Riverfront
Savannah Riverfront

9. Many of Savannah’s Streets are “exotic”

Savannah has a handful of cobblestone and ballast stone streets throughout the city. These stones actually came 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!

River Street photos Savannah Georgia
River Street Cobble Stone Roads

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 that can be found. Movies like 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!

Wormsloe is one of the most Instagrammable places in Savannah
Wormsloe Historic Site Plantation

 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.

Jones Street Trees in Savannah
Jones Street Savannah

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.

Savannah Oak Trees in Bonaventure Cemetery
Spanish Moss

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.

Owen-Thomas House in Savannah GA
Owen-Thomas House

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”.

17. Bonaventure Cemetery is Savannah’s Largest Cemetery

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.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah is very photo-worthy
Bonaventure Cemetery

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.

Telfair Academy with a weekend in Savannah
Telfair Academy Museum

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. 

Chippewa Square Savannah facts

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.

Savannah Theater facts
Savannah Theater

25. The Weeping Time

It is not a 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.

The Olde Pink House in Savannah. Woman in blue dress in front of restaurant
The Olde Pink House

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.

Forsyth Park is one of the top Instagrammable places in Savannah. Woman facing fountain

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.

Plan a Weekend in Atlanta here!

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

This 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: Ultimate Weekend in Savannah – 3 Perfect Days | Day Trip to Savannah – 1 Epic Day

Other Travel Guides you might enjoy:

Best Photo Spots in Charleston | Weekend in Charleston Itinerary | NC Fun Facts

Have any questions, or did I miss any other fun Savannah facts? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you enjoy these Savannah Facts? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Interesting Savannah Facts
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good. Learn more here: https://findloveandtravel.com/samantha-oppenheimer/

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