Friday, March 18, 2016

South Carolina, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Charleston and Savannah, Georgia

Monday, February 22nd - Sunday, March 6th

Monday we moved to The Oaks at Point South, South Carolina.  This bottle tree is in front of the 1868 Frampton Hill Plantation home which is now the Low Country Visitor Center.  The South is full of strange superstitions.  The bottle tree has its roots in Africa and is a rare example of cultural transfer and survival.  According to legend evil spirits, haunts, and woolly boogers just cannot resist crawling into the blue bottles.  They have a great deal of curiosity and cannot resist crawling in and they are trapped.  By morning when the sun comes out they are destroyed.  It is said that when the wind blows past the trees, you can hear the moans of the ensnared spirits whistling on the breeze.  The blue bottle tree is one of the oldest traditions, along with painting the front door blue, which also helps to keep the spooks and evil spirits from entering the home.  The origins of the tree go back to the 9th century Congo where hand-blown glass was hung in huts and trees as a talisman.  Some still practice juju or voodoo and make sweet grass baskets similar to those made in Sierra Leon.  The Gullah culture also brought songs and animal fables like Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.  The Frampton line was an earthwork over 100 yards long raised behind the plantation house here by General Lee's troops in 1862 as a fall back position to defend the Charleston to Savannah railroad about one mile to the north.  You can still see the earthwork and General Sherman's troops burned the original house when they came through.

Tuesday we went to Beaufort, South Carolina.  
There are about a dozen of these swings in the park along the boardwalk overlooking the bay and Beaufort River.

View of the marina from the boardwalk.

Cute sign along the boardwalk.

The bust of Robert Smalls by the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort where he is buried.  He was a black American statesman who was born a slave.  He made a daring Civil War escape with his ship mates, commandeering the Confederate gunboat "Planter" on which he was a crewman.  He picked
up his family along the way, pretended to be the captain and waved as he passed the Confederate blockade and turned the ship over to the Union.  He joined their forces and became captain of the Planter.  In 1866 he bought the house where he and his mother had been slaves in Beaufort.  He was a state senator from 1868 to 1870 and was elected to the U.S. Congress for five terms starting in 1875.  He was one of six black members of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1895.

This is the 1820 Thomas Rhett and Caroline Barnwell home where their sons, Robert and Edmund, and their allies held many gatherings to discuss secession before the Civil War.  It was known as Secession House.  Their son, Robert Barnwell Rhett, was a firebrand separatist, also known as the "Father of Secession".  He was one of the 14 signers who created the Republic of South Carolina.  During the Civil War it was a hospital recovery building.  Today it is the beautiful Rhett House Inn.  Barbara Streisand stayed here when she came to check out the town where Pat Conroy, author of Prince of Tides, grew up.  She fell in love with the area and decided to film the movie here, mostly on Fripp Island.

Just a couple old mansions along Bay Street on the waterfront.  Sea Island cotton and rice and slaves made Beaufort one of the wealthiest towns in America.  Large summer villas were built along Bay Street and throughout the town.  President James Monroe visited in 1819 and the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825.  In 1850 the Sea Islands had 1,111 white people and 8,361 slaves occupying 151 plantations.  The planters were the leading defenders of slavery.

The Thomas Fuller House is a tabby built mansion, which was a popular kind of concrete made out of oyster shells, sand and limestone.  He built the house in 1786 for his bride, Elizabeth Middleton.  It was converted to a guest house in the 1870s.  Francis Griswold wrote his Civil War novel, A Sea Island Lady, while staying here.

View from the mansions along Bay Street.

 We stopped in for a tour of St. Helena Church.  During the Revolutionary War the British used the original part of this church to stable their horses.  Thomas Heyward, Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a prominent member of the church.  There have been changes and additions since then that have covered over some of the original graves.  During the Civil War Federal chaplains conducted services here until 1864 when the church was converted to a convalescent hospital for colored troops.  The church currently has over 2,000 members and they celebrated their 300th anniversary in 2012.

Following traditional Christian practice, graves in the Old Churchyard face east, toward the rising sun.  The graves of nearly 100 veterans from every major conflict since 1711 are here, even two British officers from the nearby Battle of Gray's Hill in the Revolutionary War.

The Arsenal was completed in 1798.  The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery were the first occupants.  It is now a Visitor Center and Museum.

We saw a couple of these mermaids around town, so I am assuming they are probably the town's special art theme like we have seen in some other towns.

After our sightseeing drive around St. Helena Island, we stopped to check out Fort Fremont.  We just happened on it by accident.  It was established as part of a $50 million Fortification Act in 1898 for the Spanish American War.  It was named for the famous explorer, Major John C. Fremont.  All that remains is the concrete battery and gun emplacements and a beautiful pristine beach.

It was so cool to climb up on the remains of the fort and discover this beautiful secluded beach.  There was no one anywhere to be seen.  If I had brought a chair, my swimsuit and a book, I would have stayed there all day.

Alas, we had to say goodbye to this perfect spot and find somewhere to eat.  I sure wished I had come more prepared and brought a picnic lunch.  St. Helena was originally St. Elena, named by the Spanish in 1525, who established the first capitol of La Florida here in 1566, moving it to St. Augustine in 1574.  St. Elena was the northern bastion of Spanish Florida until 1587 when it was abandoned.  The French came here in 1562 and named the sound Port Royal, the deepest natural harbor south of New York.  On Parris Island to the south they established the first protestant colony in the new world, Charlesfort, abandoning it in 1563.

We stopped here at the local Gullah Grub Restaurant for some local style food.  Much to our surprise, the only one working was Bill Green, cook, greeter, waiter, dish washer, the whole shebang.  He had videos showing of his cooking style and DVDs for sale.  I asked him if he had his own cooking show and he said no, just stuff on you tube, but he has been featured on the Martha Stewart Show three times and has been on Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations.  We were the only ones there and had a nice visit with him while he cooked us up some yummy food.  I had a delicious fish soup, collard greens, red rice, corn bread and swamp water (ice tea and lemonade).   John had ribs, potato salad and cornbread.  Bill shared with us the virtues of ham hocks, bacon grease and bone marrow and told us about fish chowder, she-crab soup and Frogmore stew, which doesn't actually have frogs in it, but is named for the area it comes from.  His wife sat out on the front porch making sea grass baskets, which are very pretty and a really big part of the Gullah culture in this area.  They have their own sort of language and style of cooking that developed from all of the different African cultures of all the slaves who were brought here combined with the French, native Americans and the white people from different countries.

On our way home we drove a couple miles off the road to see the ruins of Old Sheldon Church where some of the descendants of Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr. are buried.  He and his father are buried on the grounds of their nearby plantation, Whitehall.  He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was wounded in the Revolutionary War and was one of three signers who were kept prisoner on a floating British prison at St. Augustine, Florida.  The church was built in the 1750s and the British troops burned Prince William Parish Church in Sheldon in 1779 and stole all the horses on Port Royal Island.  The interior and roof were rebuilt in 1825 and it was burned again when Sherman and his troops came through near the end of the Civil War.  Heyward wrote a parody of God Save the Queen called God Save the Thirteen States.  One of his descendants, Dobose Heyward, wrote the novel Porgy in 1925, which his wife Dorothy adapted into a hugely successful Broadway play in 1927.  In 1935 it was adapted to the opera Porgy and Bess with music by George Gershwin and made into a movie in 1959.  Stephen Sondheim said, "He has gone largely unrecognized as the author of the finest set of lyrics in the history of the American musical theater, those of Porgy and Bess."  

Wednesday we took a much needed day off and stayed home to do laundry and relax.

Thursday we headed to Columbia to see the Capitol.  This is a statue of Wade Hampton III surrounded by plaques of all the battles he fought in during the Civil War.  He was governor and a U.S. senator after the war.  He was a member of the infamous Red Shirts who waged a campaign of terror killing some 150 black citizens and suppressing them from voting in order to take back control of politics in the state.  There are multiple memorials to him, including one at the U.S. capitol.  Some find them much more offensive than the flying of the Confederate flag.  His grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and his father was an aide to General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.  They were wealthy planters with slaves and their mansion in Columbia, their mountain retreat, and the ruins of their plantation are all on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

The entire first floor of the Capitol looks like a medieval castle.

The main floor where you enter from the main stairs outside is quite beautiful and colorful.

You can't really see it, but there is a statue of John C. Calhoun in the center of the main floor.  He was a vice president under two presidents, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.  He was the first vice president ever to resign, due to political differences with Jackson over state nullifcation acts passed by South Carolina on federal tariff acts.  He was also Secretary of State, Secretary of War and a U.S. representative and senator.

The African American History Monument, the first of its kind in 2001, tells the story on 12 panels of their triumph over adversity from their arrival here to the 21st century.  When Sherman and his 65,000 troops came through in February of 1865, they burned the old State House and shelled the unfinished Capitol.  There are five or six bronze stars on the outside of the building marking the scars that are still there.

This palm tree statue honors the men of the Palmetto Regiment (named after the state tree) who died in the war with Mexico in 1847.  There is also a statue of Strom Thurmond on the grounds.  He gave nearly a century of service to the palmetto state and to the nation.  Born in 1902, he participated in the D-Day invasion, had five battle stars and 18 military awards and decorations.  Until just recently he was the only person in American history to be elected to the U.S. Senate by a write-in vote in 1954.  He is the longest serving member and oldest person ever to serve in the U.S. Senate.  He was awarded the Presidential Citizen's Medal by President Reagan and the Medal of Freedom by the first President Bush.

World War Memorial on the campus of the University of South Carolina.  We walked around campus a bit before heading to another museum.  There was a soldier's hospital here at the university during the Civil War.  The entire class of 1861 enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The State History Museum used to be an old textile mill call the "Duck Mill " by the locals.

This vase was given by the Ladies of South Carolina to Andrew Jackson for his victory over the British at New Orleans in the War of 1812.  Old Hickory was a native of South Carolina and rode his military reputation to the White House.  He prized this vase and prominently displayed it at The Hermitage, his plantation near Nashville.  He willed it to the South Carolinian soldier who was most heroic in the next war.  It was returned to the state of South Carolina to be held for the last survivor of the Mexican War.  However, the state kept it and in 1985 gave it to the museum.  Just goes to show that if you want to make sure your wishes are followed, you better do the giving yourself before you die.

Sir Isaac Newton 2014 by Molly B. Right.  It is a mosaic made out of flattened bottle caps.

1935 Wurlitzer Jukebox.

1922 Anderson Touring Car.

1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile was the first low-cost, mass-produced automobile in America.  5,000 were sold from 1901 to 1906 for $650 each.  It was so popular it became the first car immortalized in a song.  "Come away with me Lucille in my merry Oldsmobile..."  We stopped at Little Pig BBQ Buffet for supper on our way home.  It was jam packed with people and totally yummy.

Friday we drove over to the little town of Port Royal and walked the boardwalk and climbed the observation tower.  The view is looking over toward Parris Island on our right and straight down the boardwalk across the river to Fort Fremont beach.  Then we drove over to Lady Island and Dataw Island and stopped at the Foolish Frog for shrimp baskets.  I hardly ever shop, cook or wash dishes anymore.  I'm really loving this lifestyle more and more every day.  But I think I might have to buy some new pants for my expanding waistline.

Sunday we took our bikes over to Hilton Head and rode 20 miles or so exploring the island.  Hilton Head was named for English Captain William Hilton who arrived here from Barbados in 1663.  This is Zion Chapel of Ease Cemetery along the bike trail.  The first formal church on the island was here and was the center of island activities.  The island was made up of descendants of freed slaves with little means of transport off the island.  A chapel of ease was provided for the ease and comfort of parishioners who lived some distance from the main parish.  The cemetery has graves and memorials of four Revolutionary patriots and the mausoleum is the oldest standing structure on the island.  The oldest grave I saw was 1796, but there was one recent one from 1991, a descendant of some of the original patriots.

This statue along the bike path is based on a photo of Charles E. Frazer that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1962 about "people on the way up".  It caused a media sensation for the Sea Pines Resort here.  He was a real estate developer whose vision transformed the sparsely populated sea island of Hilton Head into a world class resort.

No that is not a harmless log floating there.  Heads up Mr. Heron and you cute little turtles.

We stopped at one of the public beaches where you could ride your bikes on the hard packed sand.

Huffing and puffing up a high bridge over the Whale Branch River.  I had a few seconds to snap a picture before John caught up with me.  He says he likes to stop and smell the roses.  I didn't see any roses, but I'm sure there must have been some.  We had a late lunch at Five Guys and headed back to camp.

Monday, Leap Year Day, we headed over to Charleston.  This is one of those big ships where they load and unload cars.  There were acres and acres of cars.

We took a cruise out to Fort Sumter.  It was built on a man-made island and doesn't look very big compared to some of today's ships.  It was begun in 1829 and 90% complete by 1860.  It was a five-sided, three-tiered structure that towered 50' above the low water level, built for 135 guns and 650 men.  The outer walls were 5' thick made of 7 million bricks, a virtual Gibraltar.  When the Civil War broke out it only had 60 cannon and 85 men on hand to defend it.  The war pretty much destroyed it.  Today the walls range from 9' to 25' tall.  The fort was named for one of the great generals of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Sumter, known as the fighting gamecock, still the mascot name for SCU.  After Charleston fell he rallied up the country against the British with several major victories.

Our boat, Spirit of the Low Country, moored at the pier while we explored the fort.  The Civil War began in Charleston Harbor in April of 1861.  Seven months later a huge Union fleet steamed into Port Royal Sound and subdued the Confederate forts on Hilton Head and Bay Point.  They occupied Beaufort and the Sea Islands for the entire war.  Wealthy planter families evacuated, leaving behind nearly 10,000 slaves.  Beaufort became the headquarters and a hospital community for the U.S. Army.  Harriet Tubman, known as Moses by her people for leading many of them to freedom via the underground railway, also worked here for the Union as a nurse and a spy.  She worked for Colonel James Montgomery and accompanied him as a scout.  The Port Royal Experiment brought numerous religious and charitable groups from the north to educate former slaves and prepare them for Emancipation.  Thousands were recruited into the army to fight for their own freedom.  They were allowed to run the abandoned plantations and schools and teachers were provided across the South for 150,000 African Americans all supported by voluntary contributions.  The Penn Center School on St. Helena is now a museum and was used by MLK as a retreat where he wrote many of his speeches and sermons.  It is also used as a site for Peace Corps training, especially for those going to Africa.  By the time General Sherman arrived in January of 1865, Beaufort and the Sea Islands had become a colony of African American freedmen and northern merchants.  In 1893 nearly 2,000 people drowned in one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.  White political dominance took over again after Jim Crow laws were passed and the population declined by 38% from 1890 to 1940 with over half of the African Americans moving away.  By 1930 Beaufort County was one of the poorest places in America.  The U.S. Marine Corps commissioned the Parris Island Recruit Depot in 1915.  70% of the marines that served in France trained here.  In 1938 the U.S. military build-up for WWII began with large construction contracts.  The Marine Corps training doubled in 1941 and after Pearl Harbor it was the largest population center in the county.  During WWII 241,000 marines completed boot camp here, ten times the total population of the county.  Auto travel promoted highway construction and bridges were built across the Whale Branch and Beaufort Rivers to the mainland.  During the war it was a boom town and the real estate boom started in the late 1950s and continued for over 50 years.  By 1960 there was a white majority for the first time in history.

Heading back to port we see the Charleston skyline, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River and a few boats and ships.

Ravenel Bridge, Marina and USS Yorktown Maritime Museum in Mt. Pleasant.  They have a nice little museum here at Liberty Square where you catch the boat tour out to the fort.  The fountain in the square is named for Septima Poinsette Clark born in 1898.  Her father was born a slave.  She was a teacher involved in the Civil Rights movement and MLK called her the "Mother of the Movement".  Gadsden's Wharf was the primary wharf for slave ships in Charleston for 25 years until the banning of slave imports in 1807.  South Carolina received more slaves than any other colony from 1670 to 1808 (260,000), 40% of the 645,000 brought to the U.S. through the legal slave trade.  In the last two years of the legal slave trade, ships in Charleston did more business than every port in the world except Liverpool, England.  Nearly all of them unloaded here at Liberty Square, just part of the everyday bustling commercial activity.

A very large, coiled, sea grass basket in the Fort Sumter Museum.  It's about 20 inches tall and judging from the few I have looked at, I would guess it would cost over $500.  They are made from sabal palmetto leaf cord and sea grass.  Along Hwy. 17 heading north there were dozens of little stands on both sides selling these baskets.  In the Raising Cane's where we stopped for lunch there was a picture of the first lady who set up one of these stands back in 1935.

United States Customs House.

Tuesday we were back in Charleston where I toured the Magnolia Plantation Home and Gardens.  John opted to sit in the car and listen to all his favorite programs.  He's just not into houses and gardens like I am.  The original plantation manor was 13,000 sq.ft. and was the oldest in the Carolina Colony which stretched from Virginia to Florida to the Pacific Ocean.  When it burned down in 1800 they downsized and built an 11,000 sq.ft. home.  Most of these people owned several plantations with overseers and town homes in Charleston for the social season and mountain retreats to get away from the heat and mosquitoes in the summer.  When Sherman's troops came through and burned his second home, the Drayton family was in better shape than most southern plantation owners.  He was originally from the north and had not donated all of his wealth to support the southern cause as most others had.  He still had to sell of a lot of his other properties and lease most of this plantation to a mining company to keep going.  He started this home by moving his hunting cottage onto the old foundation and later adding on to it.  It is not so large and elaborate as the first homes, but it was all he could afford.  He eventually opened the gardens to the public at the suggestion of a friend to help with finances.  Guests kept peering in the windows, so they finally built themselves a smaller private home and opened this one for tours.

This is how huge the 2nd floor veranda was all the way around the house.  No pictures allowed inside the house.  The ground floor is just a maze of small rooms where the kitchens and pantries and such were and is all jam-packed gift shop now.  There is also a small history museum down there about the house and the family.  It is $47.00 if you want to do everything here.  They have a nature trolley, a boat ride down the Ashley River and a boardwalk out over the marshes.  I just did the house and gardens which was $23.00.

Walking away from the house down to the river.  This would have been the main entrance before there were any decent roads.

This is a replica of the Miss Julianna, a plantation flat used to carry produce down to Charleston about ten miles.   It rode the tides that averaged 2 mph, so it took them most of the 6 hours on the outgoing tide.  When they were ready to come back, they had to catch the incoming tide.  South Carolina was the richest state in America in the 1850s.  The Charleston area in 1737 had 20 black people for every white person.  Paddle wheel steamers made daily runs from Charleston in the spring.  It was here that General Cornwallis and his British troops crossed the Ashley River by night in April of 1779 to besiege from the north and capture the peninsular city of Charleston.

There were not a lot of flowers blooming yet, but it was still really pretty with the quiet trails and quaint little bridges.

This is a tulip magnolia.  They claim to be America's oldest garden (the last intact, large-scale, romantic style garden) and the oldest man-made attraction in continuous operation.

This is the resting place of almost all of the plantation owners and family members over three centuries.  Thomas, the first American member of the Drayton family, arrived from Barbados in the 1670s and was interred in a welded lead coffin in 1715.   The vault sits on a bluff overlooking the Ashley River and was made of imported English brick prior to 1700.  It is 12' x 10' x 6' high beneath an elaborate brick and marble surface designed to be entered by an underground door on the side.  When it was opened in 1916 to bury another family member, they discovered that the 1886 earthquake had caused the ceiling to collapse destroying every coffin, except the original lead one.  The ceiling was hastily repaired and the door was sealed over with a flagstone slab.  In 1977 it was opened again to be restored for future family use.  The original lead coffin was still in excellent condition, but the 1916 coffin (mahogany lined with copper, glass covered) was already in the final stages of deterioration.  South Carolina Governor John Drayton died in 1779 while serving in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and was buried there.  200 years later the members of the historic Christ Church returned the dust from his grave site to be re-interred here.  I'm sure he is resting more peacefully now.

While I was in their little history museum I saw a picture of the original Drayton ancestral home in Northamptonshire, England built in 1328.   It is a huge fortress of a castle, still owned by two families who trace their ancestry back to the Drayton family and it is now open to the public for tours.

They have two of the largest camellia plants in the country, over 300 years old.  The gardens cover 30 acres today.



Bald Cypress Trees

In the late 1800s it was considered one of the top three tourist destinations in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.  It was originally called Magnolia on the Ashley, but all the magnolia trees were destroyed in a hurricane.  For $1.50 you could ride the ferry from downtown Charleston and spend the day at the Plantation Gardens.

Notice somebody stuck a board between these trees when they were younger and it grew a bench right into the trees.

One family member opted not to be interred in the family vault.  His cremains are in a little black box in a hole in his favorite live oak tree.

This painting of Grace Moore, the opera singer and actress known as the "Tennessee Nightingale" was done here at Magnolia Gardens.  Lots of famous people came here by boat for elaborate parties.  This picture of her was used for a Chesterfield cigarette ad in Look Magazine, Good Housekeeping and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  There was also a large stuffed penguin here that passed away in the Washington, D.C. Zoo in 1951.  It had been donated to the zoo by Admiral Richard Byrd and may have been used as a model for Kool cigarette ads.

Bible themed garden with plants mentioned in the bible.

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is the remnants of one of the plantations owned by one of the principle authors and signers of the U.S. Constitution.  There are 28 acres left here in Mt. Pleasant across the river from Charleston, that were part of the coastal plantation called Snee Farm where President Washington once visited for breakfast.  He entertained Washington three more times at his town home in Charleston at a private dinner, a large dinner and a formal ball.  They have a little museum in the house here and a nature walk and it's free.  His father, Colonel Pinchney, was a wealthy lawyer and planter and owned seven plantations and 289 slaves, more than anyone else at the time.  Charles Pinckney was a state representative, fought in the revolutionary war, was taken prisoner by the British in 1780, served in the Continental Congress and at the Constitutional Convention, was Governor four times, U.S. Senator and Minister to Spain.  He was once a candidate for vice-president and twice a nominee for president.  He was one of the country's Founding Fathers and through 42 years of public service he neglected his personal affairs and lost his fortune, including Snee Farm.  His father-in-law was captured at sea and imprisoned in the Tower of London and later traded for General Cornwallis.  His son, Henry, owned a newspaper that urged the dissolution of the Union he helped to forge. 

Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island directly across from Fort Sumter is named for William Moultrie who oversaw the construction as colonel of the South Carolina militia in 1776.  It has seen lots of history from the first decisive victory for the American colonies in the Revolutionary War through WWII.  Moultrie was promoted to General after that first victory and the fort name was changed from Fort Sullivan to Fort Moultrie.  The original fort was made of palmetto logs, which is where the state got its nickname.  Osceola is buried just in front of the entrance.  He was a prisoner here when he died.

  This is where Captain Anderson was originally stationed, but knew he wouldn't be able to defend it, so he and his men crossed the river at night and took over the almost completed Fort Sumter.  Of course, he eventually had to surrender Fort Sumter, but at the end of the war he returned to again raise the American flag that he had lowered and taken home with him.

This is the Battery Park area in Charleston along White Point in the bay where all the wealthy planters had their town homes.

This is White Point Gardens and Park across the street from the beautiful mansions next to the water.

As usual, lots of war relics, monuments and memorials.  During the Civil War this area became a fortification for the city.

May all the patriotic heroes rest in peace and not be forgotten!  You never see any mention of Abraham Lincoln in the South.  Understandably, he's not very popular down here.  When we were on the trolley tour going down Lincoln Street, our tour guide asked us who we thought the street was named for.  No, not the president, but Colonel Benjamin Lincoln from the Revolutionary War.  He told us the only thing honoring President Lincoln was a little pub on the corner named Abe's on Lincoln with a picture of Abe's face wearing his top hat on the sign out front.

Brick paved side streets.

I think this one was Mrs. Drayton's home when she moved to town from Magnolia Plantation.  One of her sons shot himself in a hunting accident at the plantation and made it back to the front steps where he died.  She moved to Charleston and never went back.

In the 1770s nine out of ten of the richest men in the American colonies lived in South Carolina.  Many were planters with several plantations.  Charleston was the 4th largest city in America in 1790 and fell to 22nd by 1860.

The James C. Calhoun Mansion is said to be one of the best in town to tour, but we didn't get it done.

Like me, she was also taking pictures of all the fabulous homes.

Heyward-Washington House built in 1772 was the Thomas Heyward, Jr. town home and temporary residence of President Washington during his Southern Tour of 1791.  Dubose Heyward used this neighborhood as a setting for his novel Porgy.

Just walking down a brick-paved sidewalk.  Entrance to someone's back yard.

They really don't have much for yards, but what they do have is really lovely and well cared for.

Someone's gate and driveway around to the back of their mansion.  So many of the streets and sidewalks are paved with brick, but down on the riverfront, the streets are cobblestone made from ship ballast stones left behind by the ships when they had a full load of cotton and other goods.

The greenery grows on the front face of the steps just as if it knows where it is allowed to grow and where it is not, very well-behaved and graciously southern.

These carriages are just everywhere in all the southern cities.  I wonder if they stop to clean up after themselves.  Wednesday we were in Savannah and did a historic city trolley tour.  We walked along the river a bit and ate at Tubby's, that's our new nickname for each other.  I had shrimp and baked potato and John had a shrimp po' boy and fries.

Thursday we came back to Savannah and walked all over where the trolley had taken us.  There are 23 squares with two blocks between each in all directions plus a huge park and a cemetery.  So it was a long day.  That's just in the old historic part of town.  There are many more squares throughout the town as the same pattern was followed as the town grew.  This is the house where Jim Williams lived, from the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  He was tried for the murder four times and finally acquitted.

This Confederate Monument in Forsythe Park was erected in 1874.  It was made in Canada and transported to Savannah by ship, so that it would never touch "Yankee" soil.  A portion of Fort Sumter's Confederate flag lies in the cornerstone.  The soldier on top faces toward his enemy in the North.

This is what you need, Hilary!

1858 Fountain in Forsythe Park.

Notice all the stairs to the town homes behind the square.

Pulaski Monument erected 1852 for Casimir Pulaski known as the Father of the American cavalry.  He was a skilled Polish soldier who Benjamin Franklin recommended to George Washington.  He convinced Washington and Congress of the importance of a well-trained cavalry.  His cavalry charge at the Battle of Brandywine is credited for saving Washington's life.  He died from a wound suffered during the Siege of Savannah during an assault by the French and American forces on the British lines a half mile north of this spot.  He was buried beneath this Italian marble monument topped by a statue of liberty, because it was his love of liberty that brought him here from Poland to help our country fight for its liberty.

About 5 months after Oglethorpe's original landing, a group of 42 Jews from London arrived here and formed a congregation considered to be the third oldest Jewish congregation in America.  This is the only Gothic style synagogue in America.  Congregation Mickre Israel founded 1733 on Calhoun Square.  Present church 1878.

Burt Reynolds donated this gazebo for the square after he filmed the movie Gator here in the 1970s.

James L. Pierpont came to Savannah in 1853 to serve as music director of the Unitarian Church on Oglethorpe Square.  His song One Horse Open Sleigh, later re-titled Jingles Bells was published in 1857.  It was never intended to be a Christmas song.  He was the uncle of financier J. P. Morgan.

Hamilton-Turner House (1873) now a fine inn, it was built for a former Mayor and successful jeweler  It was the first home in Savannah to feature electric lights.  It was the party hot spot known as Mandy's Place in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Sergeant Jasper Monument (1888) for the Revolutionary hero who re-raised the American battle flag that had been shot down at the Battle of Sullivan's Island rallying the Americans to defeat the British.  During the Siege of Savannah in 1779 he tried again to rally the troops by raising the flag under heavy fire, but he was shot and killed.

St. John's Church (1853) known for its beautiful sounding bell chimes.

The Owens-Thomas House (1819) where the Marquis de Lafayette stayed and gave a speech from the balcony when he visited in 1825 to dedicate and lay the cornerstone for the Nathanael Greene Monument.  Greene was a personal friend of George Washington and the leader of the American forces in the South during the Revolutionary War.  He was given nearby Mulberry Grove Plantation as a reward for his services to the country.  He died about a year later.  His widow hired a teacher for the children named Eli Whitney and he invented his version of the cotton gin there on the plantation. 

 Green and his son are buried here in Johnson Square beneath a 50' marble monument that looks like a Roman sword.

Who remembers Charlie the Tuna?  Sorry, Charlie.  This was on our way down the block to find Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons, where we had a yummy southern style buffet.  It is in a big old three story building with a full buffet on each floor.

Savannah native Johnny Mercer (Johnny Herndon) was a lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, businessman, philanthropist and mentor.  He penned nearly 1,400 songs, the most famous was Moon River.  He was the co-founder of Capitol Records and the 4th president of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.  He was nominated for 18 Academy Awards for Best Song and won four Oscars.

Haitian Monument just erected in 2007 to honor a group of 700 free men of color from the Island of Haiti who fought beside the Americans and French in the Siege of Savannah in 1779.  This was the largest unit of men of African American descent to fight in the American Revolution.

Christ Church built 1838 on the site designated by Oglethorpe as the site of the colony's house of worship.  Founded in 1733, it is considered to be the Mother Church of Georgia.  John Wesley preached at the first church on this site and started the first Sunday School in America.

These cannons known as George and Martha were captured from the British at the Battle of Yorktown.  They were a gift to Savannah from President Washington on his visit during his Southern Tour in 1791.

The 1887 Savannah Cotton Exchange Building when Savannah ranked first as a cotton seaport on the Atlantic and second in the world.  Over 2 million bales a year were shipped from here in its heyday.  It is one of the few structures in the world erected over an existing street.  It is now the Chamber of Commerce.  The buildings on this street were the Wall Street of Savannah when cotton was king.  They appear to be 2 to 3 stories high from this side on Bay Street, but when you get down to River Street you can see that they are actually 5 to 6 stories high.

The Old City Exchange Bell is the oldest in Georgia, imported from Amsterdam in 1802.  It hung in the cupola of the city exchange building and signaled closing time for shops.  It was rung by the night watchman when fire broke out and was heard in celebration of American victories in the War of 1812.  It pealed a welcome to distinguished visitors such as Monroe, LaFayette, Polk, Filmore, Clay and Webster.

Old Harbor Light erected by the federal government in 1858 as an aid to navigation on the Savannah River.  It stood 77 feet above river level to guide vessels passing over hulls of ships the British had scuttled in 1779 to close the harbor to French naval forces.

The small house in the center is the oldest surviving home in Georgia (1734).  It was later expanded into the Seaman's Tavern which later became The Pirate's House, now a favorite restaurant.  It is rumored that an underground tunnel connected the rum cellar to the river where drunken men were placed aboard ships to later awake at sea as unwitting crew members.  Stevenson's Treasure Island was said to be inspired by events that occurred here.  Captain Flint from the book supposedly died here in an upstairs room and haunts the place on moonless nights.

Colonial Park Cemetery.  We saw a young couple here relaxing on a blanket in the grass and a young Mother with a small child and a dog enjoying a picnic.

There are nearly 700 buried here from the yellow fever epidemic of 1820.  This is the second cemetery in Savannah from 1750 to 1853 when it was closed to burials.  Archibald Bulloch, first president and commander-in-chief of Georgia in 1776, is buried here.  He was praised by John Adams for his ability and fortitude and was the great-great-grandfather of Teddy Roosevelt.  There are lots and lots of famous people buried here with signs all over telling their stories and history.  There are even plaques telling about a couple duels next to the graves of the unfortunate losers of the duels.

Lots of the stones have broken and fallen over, so they have just been attached to the wall surrounding the cemetery.

Forrest Gump sat on a bench right here on Chippewa Square when the feather came floating down to him from the top of this church steeple.

Statue of founder James Oglethorpe on Chippewa Square.  He is facing south to keep a watchful eye on the Spanish in Florida.

William Washington Gordon home, first president of the Central and Georgia Railroad, on Wright Square.  President Taft was a guest here in 1909.  Gordon's granddaughter, Juliette, was born here in 1860.  She was married in the home in 1886 to William Low, a friend to Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts movement in England.  She started the Girl Scouts in America in 1912.  Juliette's nickname as a girl was Daisy and her niece, Daisy Gordon, was the first member of the Girl Scouts.  The home where their first meeting was held is nearby and the carriage house that was used as their headquarters.  This home was eventually willed to the scouts and restored by them and is now a memorial to Juliette and the center for scout activities.  You can buy Girl Scout cookies year round on a nearby street corner.  Juliette's grandmother was a writer and described the frontier recorded escapades of her mother, Eleanor Lytle, who was held captive four years by the Seneca Tribe.

Gordon Monument erected in Wright Square in 1883 for William Washington Gordon, mayor and founder of Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia.  This monument took the place of the burial mound of Yamacraw Indian Chief Tomochichi whose grave is still underneath it

This stone was placed nearby in Wright Square in 1899 to honor Chief Tomochichi.  His tribe occupied the bluff where Oglethorpe and the colonists landed, but agreed to relocate further upriver.  He was a friend to Oglethorpe and the colonists and had requested to be buried among his English friends.  He was given a state funeral and Oglethorpe was a pallbearer.  When his grave was covered with the monument, Gordon'e daughter-in-law (Juliette's mother) headed a group that brought the stone here to remember Tomochichi.  In 1734 at the age of 84 Tomochichi and his wife visited the English Court as guests of Oglethorpe and were received by the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  How strange that must have seemed to them!

Kehoe House built by William Kehoe in 1892 for his wife and ten children.  He was a poor Irish immigrant who worked his way up from apprentice to owning the Kehoe Iron Works Foundry.  He built the house of iron.  It is now a fine inn.

Davenport House Museum (1820)

John Wesley Monument.  He and his brother Charles came to Savannah in 1736 after Oglethorpe requested he serve as the minister of Christ Church.

The New Eugene Talmadge Bridge

Waiting for the trolley after a long day of hiking around all the squares.

The Waving Girl statue for Florence Martus who it is said never missed waving at a single ship between 1887 and 1931 from her home on Elba Island.

A couple of our neighbors in the campground.  It's not unusual to see people flying what they consider to be both of the American flags down here.

This McDonald's had a walk-up window, I guess because it's so much more convenient than walking in the front door.  They were not allowed to put in a drive-thru because it's a busy downtown street, so they put in the walk-up window and there isn't even any parking allowed on the street.

I did a little tour of St. James Cathedral while John went to pick up our computer from the fix-it shop.

The tour guide book said this is a must see and it really is magnificent.

The wood carved stations of the cross along the side wall and the beautiful stained glass windows.

Just a tiny little side chapel.

Another little side chapel next to the main altar area.  Notice all the beautiful mural paintings up around the ceiling.

Hair wreath.  Hair jewelry was a love token to commemorate an event, worn for mourning or simply a decorative craft.  Ladies used hair collections or a lock of hair from a loved one as a momento.  The Civil War popularized wearing hair jewelry for mourning or as a connection to a loved one far away.  Magazines published pattern instructions.

We left for Myrtle Beach on Monday, March 7th and have been here two weeks now.  We will be leaving here Monday for Cape Hatteras.

Happy Spring!
See you'all soon,

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