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Chatham County, Georgia

Chatham County is Georgia’s fifth-largest County. It is home to eight municipalities, which include Savannah, Pooler, and Garden City, Bloomingdale. Tybee Island, Vernonburg. Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt, and Port Wentworth are the remaining non-incorporated areas. Chatham County is home to just over 300,000 inhabitants. It is spread over 632 miles and is home to various large employers in manufacturing and paper-related products. Chatham County also houses the Georgia Ports Authority, among the three most important ports in the United States.

Tourism is an expanding and active part of the economy. The County and its eight municipalities are popular destinations for visitors. The County was home to more than 14 million people in 2017 due to its charm and historic districts, accommodations and water access, beaches, and access.

Chatham County also has several major educational institutions, such as Savannah Technical College and Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University and South University, and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Historical Facts About Chatham County

The Atlantic Ocean’s Chatham County in Georgia is the state’s most northern coastal County. The Savannah River borders it in the northeast, while the Ogeechee River borders it in the southwest. Here are some historical facts about Chatham County

River Street

There are various options to delve further into history while on River Street. First, visit one of the many memorials on River Street, such as the World War II Monument or the African-American Monument. On the east end, you’ll see the Waving Girl Statue and the Olympic Cauldron, two other historical landmarks. The cobblestones that makeup River Street are imported from different countries.

The intricately paved cobblestones that make up Savannah’s famous River Street came from a great distance away. The numerous ships into Savannah’s harbor initially utilized the stones as ballast. Chert, quartz, granite, basalt, and other rocks were collected by the vessels from their original sites, and they dumped the materials in Savannah after unloading. These exotic locations include Madeira Island, Spain, Canada, France, and the British Isles, where the stones originated. The rocks were employed extensively throughout the Historic District by the early immigrants of Savannah since they were a cheap and plentiful building material.

In Savannah, River Street is among the eeriest streets. You might have intuitively known this because Savannah is renowned as America’s Paranormal Paradise. But the reason probably doesn’t interest you all that much. For starters, the area’s Native American tribes used General James Oglethorpe’s parcel of land to build Savannah as a burial site. River Street served as the focal point of toilsome and frequently dangerous work. Enslaved people from Africa and indentured European workers were made to load and unload heavy cargo from docking ships. Many of them were so overburdened with labor that they were crushed. Many people who left because of River Street’s drudgery are claimed to still frequent the famed street nowadays. Some of the structures on River Street served as holding facilities for enslaved people. It’s no secret that Savannah has a troubled past, and River Street is still home to artifacts from this troubling era. 

After making it across the Middle Passage, numerous enslaved people arrived in Savannah and were housed in the warehouses that lined River Street. Many Savannah tours take visitors through these outdated detention facilities. Unfortunately, some still retain obvious holes where enslaved people were shackled to the walls.

Centennial Olympic Games Host

It’s a little-known fact that Savannah hosted Olympic sailing competitions in 1996. The landlocked city picked Savannah because Atlanta had been chosen to host the Centennial Olympic Games. The actual Olympic flame from Olympia, Greece, was used to ignite the Olympic Yachting Cauldron. Today, River Street honors the renowned cauldron that was lighted at the Savannah Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Likewise, the flame that blazed in Greece’s Olympia illuminated the stunning bronze edifice. Maintaining love over such vast spans of land and water must have required enormous effort.

Museum of the Tybee Island Lighthouse

Over 270 years have passed since the Tybee Island Light Station first helped sailors navigate safely into the Savannah River. This entire Lighthouse was constructed in 1736. Three Light Keeper’s Cottages are located close to the tower with a height of 145 feet tall. Archaeological discoveries are kept in a tiny 1812 summer kitchen. A military battery built in 1899 houses the Tybee Island Museum across the street. The Euchee Tribe’s history, Fort Screven’s past, Tybee’s Golden Age, and other topics are covered in the exhibits. A neighboring yellow elevated cottage features Tybee-style construction from the early 1900s. In addition, there are small, private excursions where you can watch the sunset. It is a unique way to view the Lighthouse after hours. About 90 minutes into the tour, participants climb to the top of the Lighthouse to take in the breathtaking Tybee Island sunset. Observe sunsets from the top of the Lighthouse as it descends below the horizon, then cross the catwalk to the opposite side to see the full moon rise majestically over the Atlantic Ocean. This once-in-a-lifetime experience lasts around 90 minutes and includes access to the complete site the following day, a tour of the head keeper’s home, and a climb to the top of the Lighthouse.

Telfair Museums

Within walking distance of one another, the Telfair Museums complex consists of three distinctive locations in Savannah’s Historic District. The first is Telfair Academy, a two-story estate that served as Alexander Telfair’s home for most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Telfair’s family was among the most influential in Georgia at the time. The Neoclassical Regency-style palace was built in 1819 near the intersection of Barnard and West State Streets and was designed by abolitionist William Jay. In 1875, the house was left to the Georgia Historical Society as a museum. Visit the museum to take a self-guided tour of the elegant chambers from the nineteenth century and the sculptures, paintings, works on paper, and decorative arts in the permanent collection. 

The Jepson Center for the Arts

The Jepson Center for the Arts is a sizable, cutting-edge structure constructed by famous architect Moshe Safdie that is situated next to Telfair Academy and across the square. It provides educational opportunities, touring exhibitions, and a growing modern and contemporary art collection. In addition, its TechSpace has age-appropriate interactive technology-based exhibits and games, and the ArtZeum is a family-friendly gallery created for fun, active learning. 

The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters

The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, a 19th-century mansion designed in the Regency style by Jay and situated seven minutes’ walk from the Jepson and Telfair sites, comes in third. When Margaret Gray Thomas, the granddaughter of former Savannah Mayor George Welshman Owens, passed away, she left the house for the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. The house opened its doors to the public in 1954. The experiences of enslaved men, women, and children who worked in the home during any given period between 1819 and the conclusion of the Civil War are highlighted by interpreters more than the history of the Owens-Thomas family, their history, and their decorative arts. While the Jepson evokes amazement, curiosity, and play, the Telfair Academy is a severe museum focused on historical architecture and expansive collections of classical art. Visitors to the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters will discover a solemn but attractive tour that emphasizes the connections of the people who lived and were enslaved in the house than its design. Although docents and historians are dispersed throughout Telfair Academy and Jepson to address queries, both are designed to be toured individually. Historic docents of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters lead groups of up to five people through the house, its surrounding gardens, carriage house, and slave quarters. An audio tour that has already been recorded is also an option. Even though the Jepson Center for the Arts consistently draws a younger demographic, all three destinations attract trolleys of tourists interested in art, history, and architecture. Since trolley trips have a defined timetable and numerous stops, most visitors pass through. 

Towns In Chatham County You Should Visit

Savannah

The first planned city in America was Savannah. Oglethorpe’s grid-like city planning made possible wide-open avenues, shady public squares, and parks that functioned as town gathering spots and commercial hubs. Twenty-two of the original 24 yards in Savannah still stands today. Savannah’s beautiful architecture and rich history make it the ideal destination. It can be used as a base camp for exploring the wilder side of this Georgia jewel. Savannah is dripping with Spanish moss and Southern charm. The renowned Historic District in Savannah should be one of your first attractions. Stunning antebellum houses, ancient churches, well-kept gardens, and parks shaded by soaring live oaks may be found on over 20 cobblestoned streets. In addition, there are 22 old squares, each with a distinct character. In the movie Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks’s character awaited the bus in Chippewa Square. Get a sense of James Oglethorpe’s innovative town plan by going on a guided walking tour or riding in a horse-drawn carriage for a different viewpoint.

Forsyth Park, the largest park in the historic area, features 30 acres of shaded pathways and open fields. It is constantly bustling with families, joggers, and people throwing a ball around. The Forsyth Park Fountain, constructed in 1858, is the main draw and one of Savannah’s locations that gets the most Instagram likes. The ideal place to drink coffee and indulge in some people-watching is on one of the nearby benches. The park also features a unique walled Fragrant Garden with braille markers and plantings meant to be felt, initially created so that the blind may enjoy it. Visit the Forsyth Farmers Market on Saturdays along the park’s southern edge.

Bonaventure Cemetery, located about three miles east of the city center, is one of Savannah’s most recognizable sites. If it appears familiar, you have a good eye. Bonaventure was used as a setting for a section of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil movie, which was based on the best-selling book by John Berendt. The cemetery, founded in 1846, spans over 100 acres along the lovely Wilmington River. The Victorian architecture of Bonaventure’s historic district features winding walkways that pass elaborate marble carvings and somber statues of loved ones who have passed away.

Take a bike or a trek along the McQueen’s Island Trail to go outside and discover the area’s more natural side. Located about 10 miles east of Savannah, the six-mile trail is a section of the Savannah & Atlantic Railroad. This excursion railway ran between Savannah and Tybee Island before it was abandoned in 1933. The trail meanders over cordgrass and white sands, occasionally dodging the Savannah River’s south channel. Rent a bike from Tim’s Beach Gear (north end location) and take your time pedaling back into the city if you begin the trail at its easternmost point on Tybee Island.

Pooler

West of Savannah lies a lovely town called Pooler. You can find the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum and Tom Triplett Community Park in Pooler, which provides outdoor activities. It is the location of Lock #3 in the pre-Civil War Savannah/Ogeechee Canal System. The gatekeeper’s home’s ruins and 142 Sherman’s Army tent mounds from the Civil War are still discernible today. The park is the ideal location to take in nature. On a paved and lit trail, you may take a stroll, jog, or bike ride around the enormous lake. Take a tranquil kayak ride down the park’s pristine, long, deep, and winding lake, or test your abilities on one of the most extensive disc golf courses in the area. This park remains a Pooler favorite all year, thanks to many festivals and neighborhood events. The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, keeps the tales of bravery, character, and patriotism that the men and women of the Eighth Air Force demonstrated from World War II to the present for the benefit of all Americans.

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is a significant protected area for the region’s plants and wildlife, with an annual budget that exceeds $3 million. It spans approximately 30 acres and extends into Jasper County in South Carolina. It serves as a haven for a wide variety of waterbirds and is an ideal spot for those looking to discover the wilder attractions in the area. A network of wetlands studded with hardwood woodland is formed by more than 24 miles of rivers and other waterways. It takes less than an hour to get from Pooler to Cockspur Island, where Fort Pulaski is situated. Due to its significance as a site during the American Civil War, it has a national monument designation. Following its capture, the area was used as a prisoner of war camp and a testing ground for a new, more potent type of gun that helped the Union win the war.

On the other hand, the red brick courtyards of the fort were initially built as a component of the fledgling country’s coastal defenses following the War of 1812 against Great Britain. The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum are also in the heart of Savannah. It was established in 1966 and houses many artifacts connected to the trade and sailings between Great Britain and the United States in the 1700s and 1800s. A sizable fleet of sailing ships connected the two countries and the west coast of Africa, from whence many of Georgia’s African-Americans, descended, long before aircraft were even considered a mode of travel. Artifacts include paintings, ship models, and sea objects that highlight how hazardous such journeys remained while surrounded by lovely gardens.

This site, also known as Wormsloe Plantation, is located about 30 minutes south of Pooler. It is made up of a small portion of the plantation that previously belonged to Noble Jones, one of the men who helped found Georgia in the early eighteenth century. The ruins of Jones’ fortified mansion, built out of tabby, an early form of concrete made from oyster shells, are accessible along a lovely 2.5-kilometer avenue bordered by oak trees. A museum aids in revealing the history of the place. In addition, a reproduction wattle and daub hut is located in a separate exhibition area to demonstrate the hard lives that the early European settlers were forced to suffer.

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