SAVANNAH DOWNTOWN.doc by wangnuanzg


									          Savannah’s Visual Archaeology Tour
        The Visual Archaeology Tour takes into account civilian and military aspects of
the northeastern section of Savannah’s Historic District. It contains some of the oldest
homes in the the city as well as a visual record of how several of the structures and streets
were built. You will see how civilian and military overlap in the records and
archaeological features that are here to read. We’ll teach you how to read those features
so that when you return home you can pick out the hidden archaeological treasures
around your own city or neighborhood. It's not a "talkie" GPS tour, so you'll have to use
your own Magellen or Garmin to get around. It's a bit like Geocache without the cache.
It you decide not to use the GPS you can simply follow the directions. Walk carefully
and be careful of traffic. After all it's Savannah and pedestians are in season. Whatever
you do, don't jay-walk. It's a $200 fine.

Start Walking
          The tour starts in Reynolds Square, number 15 on the tour route map. If you are
in to Geocache styled touring, we have included the decimal coordinates for you to
follow. Walk west from the square along the left (south) side of St. Julian Street to

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Publishing/James Byous/
Site A (32.079478° -81.090333°). This is located in the parking area behind the Oliver
Sturgis house built in 1813. As you look south you will see the northern brick wall of the
Planter’s Inn Hotel. Here are several archaeological features known as “ghosts”. Nearer
the house, to the left, in the brickwork you can see that the original garden wall is still
visible. Some time after the building of the wall, another building was built using the
garden wall as part of its foundation. This building, about seven stories tall was later
built upon a one storey building. The entire structure at this point, rests on the original,
1813 garden wall.
          To the right of the garden wall is several door openings are visible, one actually
cutting through the wall, then later bricked closed. Farther down the wall you can see a
wider, warehouse-type door that seems to have been closed up at the same time since the
bricks are of the same style.
          At the back of the lot next to Drayton Street the gable outline of the carriage
house can be seen. Here, if one looks closely, you can see that a smaller carriage house --
about one story – had served the owner for a time. Later, as can be seen in differing
styled bricks, the carriage house was extended to add more room in the loft. Later still,
the second building and then the hotel were extended upward to the present height.
          Go to back (east) toward Reynolds Square to the front of The Olde Pink House,
Site B (32.079530° -81.089853°) on your map. On the north corner of the sidewalk (St.
Julian and Bull) where you just walked you will see two storm drains. One is inset in the
sidewalk and bears the date 1872. The other drain was added, probably prior to the
1940s, when the sidewalk area was widened. Running both directions, west and also
north, the edge of the old sidewalk can be seen in the “seam” between the two sections.
These features can be seen all around the Historic District and served to narrow the
streets just at a time when auto would start needing more room.
          Walk north and then turn left (west) at the corner of the Pink House on Bryan
Street. Go one block and turn right (north) and walk one block, across Bay Street along
the “Strand” and turn right along the sidewalk on Bay Street. Proceed past the Abercorn
Ramp to Site C (32.080457° -81.089118°), the old cannon on the concrete pillar.

Copyright AATR Publishing 2009, All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without express written permission from AATR
Publishing/James Byous/
Copyright AATR Publishing 2009, All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without express written permission from AATR
Publishing/James Byous/
          In the 1960s teenager and Savannah resident James Beckworth used to meet his
friends at the CVS drug store on Wright Square. At this writing (2009) it still is the CVS
Pharmacy on the northwest corner of Bull and State Streets. He would stand in the lane

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Publishing/James Byous/
entrance (alley to those not from Savannah) and prop his foot on an iron cylinder that was
used to keep vehicles from hitting the building.
          Several years later he found that the iron cylinder was removed. The cylinder
turned out to be this cannon. The barrel is pitted from years in the soil and weather, the
portion that was under the ground more pitted and decayed than the above ground
section. The knob on its breech and the trunnions, the iron knobs on which the barrel
swiveled to elevate and lower the canon’s muzzle, have been broken off. The cannon has
also been “spiked”. Look closely and you will see that the hole for the fuse used to ignite
the powder has a metal spike driven to prevent its use.
          This type of disabling of a cannon was done to prevent an enemy’s use of the
weapon when the defending army was forced to make a hasty retreat. American troops
were over-run by British forces in December, 1778 during the American Revolution and
could have disabled the cannon at that time. British soldiers could also have disabled the
cannon in July, 1782 at the end of the war when the Brits evacuated Savannah. What
actually happened is unknown. We can only speculate since no known record of the
cannon exists.
          The approximate age of the cannon can be estimated from the location of the
trunnion scars. According to some resources, trunnions on these types of cannon were
implemented in 1705 to aid in preventing cannons from shifting from side to side while
firing. These resources state that before 1725 trunnions were low on the barrel of the
cannon. After that date they were located at the same level as the chamber – in the center
of the barrel top to bottom. Therefore the trunnion scars on this cannon dates it possibly
between 1705 and 1725. Cannons were used for years; older cannons were common
among new armaments. In many cases a ship’s cannon could outlast the life of the ship
and transferred to another vessel.
          Speculatively, this piece could have been here when Oglethorpe founded the
colony or on the bastioned walls of Savannah in 1757. However, it could also have, as
was common in the era, simply come here as ballast in a ship. Whichever way it came
here, it was made several years before Georgia became a colony.
          Walk east down Bay Street past the Lincoln Street Ramp to Site D (32.080247° -
81.087687°). In the park on the far (east) side of the ramp was once located the northeast

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end of the fortress wall that surrounded Savannah in 1757. Here the wall terminated with
“small wooden citadels, each with their own bastions.” The main wall was made of soil,
much of which would have been taken from a dry moat on the outside, and reinforced
with sapling poles to hold the sand. “Tours Bastionees” as are illustrated on map were
small towers that gave the advantage of elevation to the defenders. When the wall was
razed the pile of soil was leveled as well as period technology could.
          If you notice, the elevation of the soil at this point in the park is slightly higher
than that at the other end. This slight mound is probably the ghost of the wall. In
following the outline of the old wall you can see a slight elevation in the earth along the
route, south, to Oglethorpe Street and the Colonial Park Cemetery. In the cemetery, just
inside the Lincoln Street entrance, you can see the remnant mound from another wall
built in 1782. The high ground is circular turning through the cemetery and going
westward – but then, that’s another tour.
          Proceed to the Celtic cross in the center of Emmet Park.
          Emmet Park
          Irish Monument now stands in one possible location of an ancient Indian
Mound. Indian Mound on old map, Site E (32.080086° -81.087073°)
          Sir Walter Raleigh is said, according to Oglethorpe’s accounting Raleigh’s
journal, to have come ashore at this location. In an 1867 biography of Oglethorpe a
referenced book states that Tomochichi told of an ancestor having met a man with a red
beard who anchored a large vessel in the bay. The ancestral mico referred to the meeting
with the “great” man asking to be buried on the spot where they met. Oglethorpe, in
referring to Raleigh’s log, wrote the Trustees saying this was the coordinates of a landfall
by Raleigh in 1585. A map from 1757 put the long gone Indian mound somewhere along
what is now known as Emmet Park
          So, the account falls to speculation and legend.
          Emmet Park is named in honor of Irish patriot Robert Emmet who died at the age
of 25 fighting for Irish independence. While leading a 1798 uprising on Dublin Castle,
the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Kilwarden was killed.
          When Emmet attempted to contact his love interest, Sara Curran, the authorities
captured him. According to records in the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco, “On

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September 19th 1803 a jury, at the Sessions House Dublin, tried Emmet for high treason.
That evening the verdict was returned. Emmet was found guilty and sentenced to death
by execution. Upon being asked by the clerk of the Court what he had to say, Emmet
gave a spontaneous speech which is universally regarded as one the greatest patriotic
speeches. It is truly remarkable stuff from a man who has just been sentenced to his
death. The following day Emmet was publicly beheaded on Thomas Street in Dublin.”
          One of the first known arrivals of a person of Irish descent was James Oglethorpe.
His father was English. However, he married Eleanor, daughter of Richard Wall, Esq., of
the county Tipperary, and Katherine de la Roche, of the Lord Roche's family in Ireland,
which was connected by intermarriage with the Scottish house of Argyle”. James
Oglethorpe had close ties to Ireland throughout his life. La Roche avenue in Savannah is
believed to be named after a family member who was a trustee of the colony.
          Other Irish came to the new colony early on. In December, 1733, a boat of Irish
indentured servants shipwrecked near Savannah. Oglethorpe bought their contracts and
assigned the forty survivors to various tasks around the city. These servants were, to
quote Oglethorpe, “given” to the widows of the city to help work their land and make
ends meet.
          The Scots, too, have been in Savannah since the beginning. James Oglethorpe
planned the village of Joseph’s Town, located a few miles upriver from Savannah, in
1733 as a defensive position. By 1735 the Scots were active in civic life when the
“Scotch Club” celebrated St. Andrew’s Day. In 1736 three Scottish Highlander officers,
John Cuthbert, Patrick MacKay and George Dunbar made their homes there. Later
Joseph’s Town became Mulberry Grove Plantation where Eli Whitney invented the
Cotton Gin. .
          In the same year other Scottish Highlanders came to Georgia to protect the
southern coastline. Scots, whose descendents still live in the area, settled New Inverness,
now called Darien.
          By 1782 more than half of the legislators in the State of Georgia were from
Scotland or of Scottish descent. Ironically in that year they voted to prohibit all Scottish
immigrants from settling in the new state. At that time the Highland Clearances, with
repercussions much like the Irish potato famine, were beginning in Scotland. Poor Scots

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were landing in the new United States and bringing their apparent “ticked off” attitude
with them. The Scots, like their cousins the Irish, have been known throughout history as
people who were adept at and willing to fight. Their tenacity helped drive the Spanish
out of Georgia and were instrumental in winning the American Revolution.
          German emigrants, Salzburgers, arrived in Georgia in 1734 not long after the
original colonists and are now recognized by a stone marker near here in Salzburger Park.
The Salzburgers settled at Ebenezer upriver from Savannah. Their contributions are
many including establishing the first Sunday school and orphanage in the state.
Saltzburger, John Truman was elected the first Governor of Georgia.
          Near Ebenezer, across the river in South Carolina was the Swiss settlement of
Purrysburg. Swiss to were among early residents of Savannah. The original supervisor
of the Filature House erected for the processing of silk was Italian Paul Amatis. Within
ten years of the establishment of the Colony of Georgia approximately 45 percent of the
population was non-British. Today Savannah’s population is quite diverse including
people from most cultures around the world.
          The Old Harbor Light, Savannah’s unofficial US Government monument to
bureaucracy, Site F (32.079532° -81.084716°), was erected in 1858 to mark hulks
scuttled by the British in 1779. The French war ship Truite, unable to sail closer to the
city during the Siege of Savannah because of the obstructions in the river, shelled the city
from the opposite side of Hutchinson Island. The blocked section of the harbor became
known as the Wrecks Bank.
          In 1852 the mayor of Savannah and the city council petitioned the United States
government to allot funds for the removal of the hulks. It was estimated that the entire
job cost would be in excess of $201,000 By an act of congress $40,000 was allocated
“for the removal of obstructions in the Savannah River placed there for during the
Revolutionary War for the common defense.” The money was quickly used in
preliminary work on the shipping channel next to and directly across the river for
shoring. In all over 102,000 cubic yard of earth was removed, and the Wrecks were still
          Again congress was petitioned for help to finish the job of removing the wrecks.
In March of 1854 congress again allocated funds, $161,000, “for the removal of

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obstructions in the Savannah River.” As the government can do better than any
organization, a flurry of red tape began. The allocated money was provided by Congress,
but with the stipulation that the money could only be used for “removal” of the hulks and
not for dredging the silt and sand around them. It amounted to heart surgery where the
doctor couldn’t cut the patient. The federal government’s response to the “Catch 22”
situation was to install the Harbor Light to warn ships of the obstruction.
          According to Judy Wood, an archaeologist for the United States Army Corps of
Engineers, by the 1880s and 1890s the Wrecks “had almost shut down the port”. The
Corps of Engineers finally removed them around that time with a high financial cost
connected with the project
          The View of cobblestones from the east Emmet Park wall, Site G (32.079350°N -
81.084165°W), is a view of one of the last “original” cobblestone streets. Early ramps
came directly down the bluff at a steep angle, ending at a small set of steps between
wharves. In the mid-nineteenth century the current configuration of “L” shaped ramps
were implemented to reduce the angle of the roadbed and problems with rain washing the
sand into warehouses and the river.
          When the first street was paved is debatable. However, in 1815 a Mr. John
Bolton “suggested the slope down to the river on Whitaker Street be paved from the level
of the town down to the dock….” He was given permission by the City Council to do the
paving. If he actually implemented the project is unclear.
          Here, on East Broad Street Ramp, is illustrated the difference between an
archaeological feature and an artifact. Features are something you can see but can’t be
held. They are visual – you can’t pick it up and feel it. Artifacts are things you can
actually pick up and handle. In the pattern of the cobblestones faint swirls of laid rock
can be detected. These are the archaeological features. The stones themselves with
various bits of glass, iron or other objects that lie between the stones are examples of
artifacts. Take the artifacts out -- the cobblestones, bits of material, etc. -- and the
features they make are destroyed.
          Straight lines of stones, perhaps used for dividing work sections, can be seen in
the patterning of the street. The rock swirls were possibly created when paving crews,
most likely slaves or Irish workers, laid the stones around the year 1858. The workers

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would be assigned a section of the street, crawled slowly backward up the incline filling
the area with cobbles as the inched along.
          The swing of their arms reach would create a slight swirling effect. Over time the
stone tend to migrate due to traffic vibration, gravity, weather and automobile tires
applying forces on them. The swirl patterns have been either amplified or erased. Near
the steps on the far side (east) on the roadbed, you can see cobblestones that have had
little traffic. Here their near-straight patterned lines are still intact.
          Go down the steps on the side of the park by the river toward, Site K. We will
pass by and come back later. As you descend watch for graffiti along the rock face. The
writing is shallow, hard to find and likely spans several years due to the varying “font”
styles. Also look closely at the stones. Traces of white paint can be faintly seen in the
recesses. Photos made prior to 1891 by photographer William E. Wilson show that the
walls were painted white shortly after their construction.. Another photo from the
archives of the Library of Congress shows the Gas Works Wall around the corner had
faded considerably by the 1920s.
          Walk east along River Street in back of the orange brick building to Site H
(32.079491° -81.083536°). At the time of the America Revolution a dock was located
here just below the old fort. Its location would be below your feet behind the Savannah
Electric Company building. At that time the river course was much closer to the bluff, but
over the years the bank was filled with dirt to enlarge the useful land area. You are
standing over the old wharf site.
          Docked at this wharf in 1765 was the British vessel “Speedwell” carrying paper
stamps as required by the Stamp Act. The act, enacted by the British Parliament,
instituted a tax was on molasses, sugar, textiles, dye, coffee and wines. The stamps were
to be stored on the bluff above the wharf at Fort Halifax (later called Fort Wayne).
Protest against the stamps and the tax they represented was heated. Americans who were
British citizens had no vote in Parliament. From this gave rise to the slogan “no taxation
without representation.”
          A few months before the ship’s arrival members of the Sons of Liberty paraded
around town protesting the tax by carrying effigies of “obnoxious persons.” The effigies
were burned in Johnson Square. It was well know that the Liberty Boys were planning to

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storm the fort and destroy the stamps. Governor James Wright had the hated cache
spirited back aboard the Speedwell and taken to Cockspur Island at the mouth of the
Savannah River for safekeeping. Later, after the protests of an uncooperative public in
all of the colonies, the act was repealed.
          It is also at this wharf that the story of the Savannah Sugar Party is said to have
taken place. Local legend claims that in around 1775 Liberty Boys boarded a vessel here,
overpowered two British soldiers and dumped a cargo of sugar and or molasses into the
river. If the story is true the event took place in 1775, two years after the famous Boston
Tea Party.
          Walk along River Street to view Site I (32.079208° -81.082869°). Between this
location below the bluff and the current hotel is the site of Willink’s Wharf and Shipyard
where the ironclad CSS Georgia was built. Also back filled over the years, it now serves
as a parking lot for the Savannah Electric workers. In 1862 the Ladies Gunboat
Association raised $115,000 to build the 500 ton, 250 foot long boat that was covered
with four inches of armor plating.
          When the Georgia was launched into the river, a log lodged between the propeller
shaft and the keel of the vessel and could not be removed. Subsequently the boat’s speed
was so slow it could not overcome the tide. The Georgia was moored in the river off of
Fort Jackson a short distance down river from the wharf and used as a floating battery.
When Union General William T. Sherman’s army captured the city in December 1864
the boat’s crew scuttled the vessel. Today the Georgia lies precariously on the edge of
the shipping channel awaiting funds to raise and restore it.
          Planking from Willink’s wharf was excavated during the archaeological dig in
2001. Recent additional studies indicate that much of the wharf is still intact under the
          Fortification site. The Savannah Electric front entrance is the site of the original
bluff edge, Site J (32.078879° -81.083167°) . Along the street and in the parking lot are
scars of the archaeological studies made in October of 2001. Below the upper patch of
asphalt, about 5 feet down, is evidence of the natural edge of the bluff. Early
fortifications in this location came to the bluff’s edge near this spot.

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          Shortly after the settlement of Savannah a battery of cannon were located here.
Later Fort Halifax, named for the godfather of Governor Henry Ellis was built. After
being rebuilt in varying shapes it eventually became the earthen, star-shaped Fort Prevost
named after the commander of British forces in Savannah during the Revolution.
          After hostilities ended the fort was renamed Fort Wayne in honor of the general of
Continental troops “Mad” Anthony Wayne. Some time around 1800 the fort was rebuilt
into an earthen crescent following the edge of the bluff. The fort bastion ran from
beyond the 1850’s brick wall of the Gas Works seen to the southeast, to a spot near the
front door of the Savannah Electric building. Some fill was used in making the new fort.
Historian Thomas Gamble wrote in the 1920’s that obsolete cannons, used as fill for the
wall, were found during excavations for construction of the current gas works brick wall.
For years the cannons were displayed on the wall making many people believe this was
actually the old fort.
          The Gas Works, or as some call it, the Manufactured Gas Plant, was built in the
mid 1800s. Originally the brick wall had no buttresses along the outside. All original
reinforcing buttresses were buried inside the wall. As time passed the pressure on the
wall caused cracking. To shore up the structure one small buttress, about three feet by
three feet average, was built in the center of the rounded corner. Later, other pressure
cracks must have become visible and another buttress was built around the first exterior
buttress. Others, possibly at later dates were added until many buttresses held the wall
like giant fingers. Sometime later, before the 1920’s, on the far side of the wall (visible
in photo #xxx) two sections gained wide flat concrete buttresses. From the beginning,
nature was trying to bring down the wall. Finally, while cleaning up hazardous coal tar
waste from the old facility, workers illegally tore down the central section. Historic
interest in town stopped the razing in its current configuration.
          At about that time of the brick wall construction a roadbed was cut through the
bluff and paved with planking. It ran at a slightly steeper angle than the current slope of
General MacIntosh Boulevard. During the 2001 excavation wooden poles were found
near the bottom of the slope about five feet below the surface of the current road. It,
however, cannot conclusively be said to be part of the plank road.

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          Walk west and back down the steps to East Broad Street Ramp. Note the
indentations in the steps from years of wear. When you reach bottom look for, but don’t
touch, artifacts between the cobblestones as you pass. In the roadbed between the cobble
stones lies a time capsule of minutia and discards from generations past; iron fragments
dropped from wagons going to and from the Rourke Iron Foundry, glass and ceramics
from years of accidents and discards from pedestrians, wagons and automobiles.
          The wall just descended was built in 1857 according to the plaque located on the
south wall that reads, “E C Anderson, Mayor, M. Cash, Builder.” Edward Clifford
Anderson was mayor just before and just after the Civil War. During the war he was
commander of the defensive fortifications from Savannah to Brunswick. He succeeded
his uncle in the job, General Hugh Mercer, great-grandfather of songwriter Johnny
Mercer. Other members of his family were General Robert Houston Anderson of
Wheeler’s Calvary, Major George Wayne Anderson, the commander of Fort McAllister,
and many more in the chain of command for the defenses of Savannah. M. (Michael)
Cash lived just a stones throw past Bay Street to the south.
          West wall and stonework, Site K (32.079361° -81.084091°). Local geologists
claim the wall is a geologic record. If one knows the geology of Europe, locations of
points of departure can be seen in the stonework. The marble plaque near the top
indicates that the buttress was “completed in 1858”. Built with softer limestone at the
bottom and harder granite at the top, it is probable that builders used ballast stone as it
arrived in port. Most historic homes in Savannah that have brick foundations have
stronger stones or bricks for their base and softer, usually Savannah Grey’s, for the upper
portion of the structure.
          Supplies of ship’s ballast were constantly coming in that were low in cost and
only required a fee for their storage on the wharf. In 1854 over $1,700 was paid for
1,808 tons of ballast off loaded from 18 ships. Also, note the four “gun port” openings
near the top of the structure. Some think that the builder expected that the wall could be
used for defense of the city. However, due to the thickness of the wall, it would have
deemed the fortification obsolete due to the firepower of ships of the time. The gun port
section was a feature call a “folly,” similar to the faux castles designed merely as
decoration typical of the Victorian Era.

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          Along this buttress small ports are visible along the top third of the buttress. They
resemble loop holes used for firing rifles as are common in many fortifications of the
time including forts Pulaski and Jackson nearby. These are called putlogs. They were
holes made during construction to facilitate the cross beams of scaffolding.
          They were for building the wall and for wall maintenance, in that a plank could be
inserted vertically to support scaffolding. Such openings are seen on some brick
buildings including the main house at Thomas Jefferson’s summer home, Poplar Forest in
central Virginia.
          The structure of the wall is the same style as was used in Scotland and Ireland to
build castles. The outer walls were built and filled with rubble and mortar. In one of the
“ports” above you can see the rubble core of the structure.
          As you continue just past the steps to Emmett Park notice Eyed spikes below the
stairs at Site L (32.079574° -81.084273°). These spikes could have been used for many
things, but were probably used a horse tether. The spike driven into the mortar would
allow tying the reigns to hold animals and teams.
          Follow the buttress wall to Site M (32.079817° -81.084905°) where you will
notice a difference in the masonry style and rock below and near the overhanging limbs
of the large oak. This shows that the walls were build in sections at different times. The
styles of the masons are evident as you compare the rock, mortar and crafting along the
lower levels of Factor’s walk. Michael Cash’s upper, newer section is more defined with
tighter joints and squared stones. The lower section has rounder stones, more mortar and
distinct courses separated by courses of small flat stones. This indicates differing masons
or a time span between techniques and styles of workmanship.
          To the left of the joint you can see a small wall about two feet high in places that
preceded Cash’s 1858 wall. It now serves as the latter wall’s base. To the right of the
Site M joint you can see that a wall of about seven feet in height was also used as a base
for the newer wall. As you walk along Factor’s Walk notice that several differing
mason’s styles can be seen. Each warehouse owner built the section of the wall behind
his business at differing times. It is likely the masons were from different crews and even
from different generations since the time spanned between sections was over forty years
in some instances. If you look on the other side of the street you will notice that most of

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the buildings along Factor’s Walk stand two stories above the street. Theses are actually
the second and third stories of the buildings which were generally added at a later date.
A letter from Jenkins Jones, written in 1809, describes the building for insurance
purposes, “…all the wharf are under the Bluff. – The Bluff is a steep Sand Hill on the
superficies of which the body of the Town is built. – And the roofs of the Buildings under
the Bluffs are just about equal to its perpendicular height….”
          By 1820 what is now known as Factor’s Walk and its walls was taking shape.
Merchant William Taylor asked the City Council to divide the expenses to be “incurred
by him and the erection of a stone wall leading from the row of trees on the Bay along the
west of Banard street down to the brick stores owned by him.” Two years later the city
kicked in $400 for their half of the project. Taylor was required to supply all materials.
          In one section of Factor’s Walk where it intersects with Abercorn Street Ramp,
The back windows and doors off a building were bricked up and soil filled in behind to
make the upper street level. The building, behind what is now the Cotton Exchange
Restaurant (32.080757° -81.088791°), was either destroyed or divided off of the main
building. The Doors are now visible opposite the back door of the restaurant, under the
main roadway of Factor’s Walk.
          Factor’s Walk continued to expand. R&J Bolton asked for permission from the
City Council in 1822 to “to excavate a street 36 feet wide on the south side of Commerce
row.” Permission was granted. Factor’s Walk was growing in sections. Four years later
public safety became an issue and the City Council ordered that railings be “installed for
the safety of the public” at the owner’s expense.
          By 1843 the need for access east of the city was obvious and “River Street” below
Factor’s Walk was ordered extended eastward around the corner to connect with Bay at
the base of the bluff. River Street as noted above in quotes is done so because until that
time what is now known as “Factor’s Walk” was named “River Street”. On the water
side of the warehouses was simply a disjointed route of accesses for each warehouse
          At the extension of the “new” River Street, in proper capitalistic style, Captain
Willink, the owner of the warf, demanded $5,000 for the small triangle of land that road

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would take form his property. It is not reported if he received what would have been a
considerable price at that time.
          At Site N (32.080255° -81.086332°) note the cables and clips on the wall. These
are the remains of tarp coverings that were once numerous around Savannah’s commerce
district. Tarps were hung horizontally between the building and these cables to provide
shade in the summertime. Photos of Factor’s Walk show the awnings erected to avoid
Savannah’s boiling-hot summer weather.
          Along the section of wall labeled Site O (32.080459° -81.087362°)you can see
the bricked-up ghost of doorways. They were once extremely important locations in the
warehouse district – they were privies. Many can be found along Factor’s Walk.
          Near here, at the start of the long stretch of brick wall, you can find the ghost of a
stairway that has been bricked up. Iron stairs have replaced the older steep-stepped
access. Under the iron stairs the bottom two steps of the stone stairway are still visible.
          Cross Lincoln Street, Site P, (32.080522° -81.087897°) to the back of the
stairway on the west side of the ramp. On the backside of the stairs you can see that they
were built at a later date than the wall. The “cold” joint between the two sections of
stone are not intertwined showing they were built at different times. Near the base of the
stairs a green rock can be seen. It is probably copper ore that was to be loaded into the
hold of a ship around the mid 1850s. Over the years as water dripped over the ore,
copper molecules coated the stone below adding the bright green veneer to it. Mentioned
as a major growing export in the 1855 Mayor’s Report, copper dwindled as an exportable
product. Twenty years later only three hogsheads were shipped from the port of
          Back across the ramp, Site P-1 you can also see evidence of two building times
on this wall. Low to the road is an older retaining wall that stands between one-and-one-
half and three feet high. The mason’s style on the lower is more jumbled with less
obvious courses than the newer courses of rock above. The upper area, finished in 1855
and also built by Michael Cash, is more refined with distinct courses in the rock work.
Masonry styles in savannah from the late 1700s tend to have the more primitive style of
the lower section. This factor could indicate that the lower wall is from that era.

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Publishing/James Byous/
          Follow the route to Site Q (32.079196° -81.086295°). Along this route are some
of the oldest homes in Savannah referred to as the “Old Fort District” by the locals.
Many are from the late 1700s and early 1800s. The house at the northwest corner of
Bryan and Price Streets has an exterior stucco resembling tabby. Tabby is a primitive
concrete made of oyster shells, lime, sand and water. Several older homes in the area
were made from the mixture including the Owens-Thomas House (32.077362° -
81.089383°) and Wormsloe Plantation (31.959611° -81.069696°). The style was revived
in the mid to late Twentieth Century and used to emulate old architectural styles. As you
continue along the “tabby” sidewalk toward Site R, you will pass a row of town homes
that have been dubbed “Savannah’s Rainbow Row”. The structure is built in the
Italianate style and dates fro the late 1800s.
          At Site R (32.078664° -81.085238°) is the building that now houses the Mulberry
Inn Hotel. The building, originally built in several sections,, served as a livery and later
as a cotton warehouse. At the far southwest corner of the lot was the residence of
Michael Cash, the stone mason. The various sections of the current building were
remodeled and connected to crate today’s structure. In the early 1900s it was
transformed into the location of the first franchise for the Atlanta based Coca Cola
Company. It was here that Savannah Resident William Harley loaded his mule drawn
wagon and made deliveries around the city. During Coca Cola’s seventy-fifth
anniversary celebration a photograph of Harley and his wagon adorned everything from
billboards to belt buckles. Born in 1865, a few days after President Abraham Lincoln
was assassinated, he lived most of his life in Savannah. At one time Harley operated a
grocery store in the building that now houses the world famous Clary’s Restaurant
(32.071678° -81.092230°).
          At Site S (32.078432° -81.085108°) star shaped medallions called earthquake and
hurricane braces can be the side of the building. In 1886 a major earthquake struck
Charleston, South Carolina destroying much of the town. Savannah suffered heavy
damage as well. The braces are attached to an iron rod that runs the length of the
structure to reduce damage in the event of a quake. For earthquakes or hurricanes, the
devices were implemented as insurance for either catastrophic event.

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Publishing/James Byous/
          Enter Washington Square, Site T (32.078225° -81.085512°) and walk to the south
side of the main lawn. Insurance inspector J.J. Broomfield wrote in 1846 that, “In every
Square there is a public well, and Pump for the Supply of the neighborhood, and the
wastewater rund (sic) into an underground Tank, so that in case of fire there is always a
supply [of water] on hand without exhausting the Well….” You are standing over one of
the tanks mentioned in the letter.
          On the south side of the south sidewalk is a manhole cover with the inscription
“City of Savannah 1870”. This is the entrance to the cistern below. Here the cistern’s
presence is obvious by the raised lawn in the square. The top of the tank is about two feet
under the sod. Most other squares have cisterns, but many of their entrances are covered
by soil or hidden in the landscaping and shrubbery.
          This eastern section of Savannah, as noted, is often still called the Fort District
because of its proximity to Fort Wayne. Another name often used is “Foley’s Alley”
referring to the Irish inhabitants who were, and some still are, living here since the mid-
          Savannah’s historic downtown area was designed for the practicality of the times.
Upper class citizens generally lived in the center of the city along Bull and Abercorn
Streets. The middle class were on the sides, east and west, along parallel streets and the
“work” classes lived along the outer edges including East Broad Street and West Broad
Street. West Broad Street is not MLK Jr. Boulevard. Without efficient public
transportation domestic workers could walk into the center of town and their jobs as
“domestics” in the homes of the upper and middle classes.
          Site U (32.078350° -81.086074°) takes in several houses along this block of East
St. Julian Street. The first building on the east end of the section is the International
Seamen’s House, an organization started by the Savannah Port Society. Still aiding
sailors in their legal, recreational and religious needs, the Society was organized in 1843.
          Next door to the Seamen’s House is the Hampton Lillibridge house. In 1963 Jim
Williams, who was made famous in the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and
Evil”, had the house moved here from 310 East Bryan Street. Lillibridge was a Planter
who was originally fro Rhode Island. He built the house around 1797. Shortly after the

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Publishing/James Byous/
building was moved, an exorcism was performed by an Episcopalian bishop at Williams
request to rid the house of strange noises and happenings.
          The third house on the block, the small cottage, can be traced back to about 1800.
Records have yet to be found to determine its true building date. However, some of the
deeds on record are the original hand written copies from just after that era.
          Along the next block, Site V (32.078612° -81.087105°), note the siding on the old
homes. The second building, a Georgian style house at 419, shows “tacked” siding
where nail heads are incorporated onto the construction and design. The two houses
facing the square have beaded siding. The bead and groove were typical in the late 1700s
and were designed to force water away from the house. The siding is also sometimes
called “drip siding” and is now rarely used due to milling cost involved.
          Warren Square is a good example of how the squares used to look. Most squares,
other than those along Bull Street, did not have monuments and were designed to allow
traffic to travel through their centers. Here in Warren Square you can see the road area
between the sidewalks. This allowed traffic to travel north and south through the square.
          Trolley lines ran through most of Savannah’s Squares. Here a line ran east and
west along St. Julian Street as seen at Site W (32.078727° -81.087201°). Granite curbing
is missing at this section where the trolley entered and exited the square through the
space just wide enough to accommodate the vehicle.
          In the late 1940s trolleys were replaced by a bus system. The trolley tracks were
taken up and traffic was prohibited from driving through the center of the squares.
However, a lane for fire trucks remained through the center of the squares.
          On the north and south sides of the square, Site X (32.078984° -81.087275°), you
can still see how the granite curbing drops down so emergency vehicles could drive
through without a large bump.
          Legend says that the Warren Square area is where early Colonial executions took
place. It the legend is true, in 1734 three Irish indentured servants were hanged here,
Richard White, Alice Riley and William Shannon. Later the execution area was moved
to the jail located at what is now Lafayette Square. In fact, the Jail stood on the same
spot as the Andrew Low House where Julliette Gordon Low established the headquarters
for the Girl Scouts of America. Walk to the lane intersection of Lincoln Street between

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Publishing/James Byous/
Bay and Bryan Streets, Site Y (32.079315° -81.088102°). At this spot in 1757 was the
city gate for access to the Trustee’s Garden area.
          Proceed to Site Z (32.079344° -81.089386°). In 1791 President George
Washington visited Savannah. At that time the Filature House on the corner of Abercorn
and Bryan Streets. A ball was given in honor of Washington at this location.
          In the center of the square is a statue of John Wesley who was an Anglican
minister at Christ Church in 1736. Around the statue you can see where the streets
crossed in the square before the traffic was prohibited. Brick pavers now cover the entire
intersection. Here in Reynolds Square are several features that you may not have noticed.
Sections of sidewalk laid before the closing are scored into three foot by four foot
sections. Newer sections, covering the former road section, are one single pour about
thirty feet long by six feet wide.
          Differences in the paving of the current streets show patching over routes of the
trollies as they ran along St. Julian Street, east and west. At the corners of the square are
concrete patches that were filled to accommodate automobiles. Cars and busses need a
wider turning area, so the curbs were moved on the four corners and concrete filled the
triangular section of roadway.
          Now you are back where you started. As you visit other areas of the Historic
District try to find “visual” archaeology. Later, you’ll find that you have an increased
awareness of the things around that you don’t normally see. Your own city, home and
neighborhood will begin telling their forgotten stories.

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