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Savannah travel guide — Savannah tourism and travel information

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about Savannah

Savannah is a city located in Chatham County, Georgia. The population was 131,510 for the city (and 257,889 for the metropolitan area) in the 2000 census. It is located at latitude 32°5'0" North, longitude 81°6'0" West. The city is the county seat of Chatham County . Savannah was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. It is also the primary port on the Savannah River and is located along the US Intracoastal Waterway.

Savannah is often pictured as the epitome of Southern charm and hospitality. The city's architecture and history lend themselves to this reputation. It is noted for its St. Patrick's Day celebration, the second largest in the United States, behind Boston. Savannah's downtown area is the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States.

Savannah is served by Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, as is Hilton Head.

The Zip Codes for Savannah begin with the digits 314.

As of 2004, the Mayor of Savannah is Otis Johnson.

Savannah geography

Savannah is located at 32°3'3" North, 81°6'14" West (32.050706, -81.103762).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 202.3 km² (78.1 mi²). 193.6 km² (74.7 mi²) of it is land and 8.7 km² (3.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.31% water.

Savannah history

Around 3500 BC, the Biblo inhabited the area now known as Savannah. Later, the Yamacraws settled here under their leader Tomochici. In November of 1732, the ship Anne sailed from Britain carrying 114 colonists, including General James Oglethorpe. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and, in an example of some of the earliest "southern hospitality," were greeted by Tomochici, the Yamacraws, and John and Mary Musgrove, Indian traders. The city was founded on that date, along with the state of Georgia. Because of the friendship formed between Oglethorpe and Tomochici, the city was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare which marked the beginnings of many early American colonies.

Savannah was the first colony in Georgia, and the region's mild climate offered perfect conditions for growing cotton and peach trees. The number of peach trees led to the state's nickname; today Georgia is called "the Peach State".

The production of cotton helped the city to achieve wealth and prosperity. The port of Savannah was one of the most frequented in the United States and Savannah's inhabitants had the opportunity to consume the world's finest goods, imported by foreign merchants. Savannah grew to be one of the richest cities in the United States. Cotton was exported to places all over the world. Wonderful mansions were built in the downtown area and British botanists were invited to refine the city's unique look with grapes for wine and mulberry trees for silk, from the old continent. The Georgia climate made it impossible for these plants to grow.

The city holds the distinction of being the first planned city in America. Oglethorpe's now-famous Savannah Plan, which he designed earlier in England, consists of a series of wards built around central squares, trust lots on the east and west sides of the squares for public buildings and churches, and tithing lots for the colonists' private homes on the north and south sites of the squares. The squares vary in size and personality, from the formal fountain and monuments of the largest, Johnson Square, to the playgrounds of the smallest, Crawford Square. Elbert, Ellis, and Liberty Squares are classified as the "lost squares," destroyed due to development in the 1950's. Elbert and Liberty Squares were paved over to make way for an extension of I-16, while Ellis Square was demolished to build the City Market parking garage. Separate efforts are underway to revive each of the three lost squares.

In 1740 George Whitefield founded the Bethesda orphanage, which is now the oldest extant orphanage in the U.S.A.

In 1818 shipping and business stopped when the city fell under quarantine due to a yellow fever epidemic. Many ships never came back to Savannah, dealing a harsh blow to the local cotton industry.

Savannah's port has always been a mainstay of the city's economy. Most goods that were produced in the New World had to pass the city's port before they could be shipped to England.

In 1864, the city was captured by Northern troops and Savannah ran the risk of being burned down by the northerners like so many southern cities before but General Sherman thought that the city was too beautiful and so he gave it to Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift.

In the 1930's and 40's many of the distinguished buildings in the historic district were demolished to create parking lots. Squares had been bisected by streets and fire lanes to speed traffic flow. The demolition of the 1870 City Market on Ellis Square and the attempted demolition of the 1821 Davenport House prompted seven Georgia women to create the Historic Savannah Foundation, which was able to preserve the city from destruction. In 1979, the Savannah College of Art and Design was founded, and began a process of renovation and adaptive reuse of many notable downtown buildings, rather than building a centralized campus. This effort, along with the work of the Historic Savannah Foundation and other preservation groups, has contributed greatly to Savannah's now-famous rebirth.

The city's popularity as a tourist destination was solidified by the best-selling novel and subsequent movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which were set in Savannah.

Prominent local restaurants offering typical Southern cuisine in the Savannah style include Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room and The Lady and Sons.

The city's location offers visitors access to the coastal islands and Savannah River front, both popular tourist destinations. Tybee Island, formerly known as "Savannah Beach" is the site of the Tybee Island Light Station, the first lighthouse on the southern Atlantic coast.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Savannah, Georgia".

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