Savannah is a long-established city known across the country for its stunning coastline views, well-preserved architecture, and rich, active history. While some aspects of Savannah’s past are well-known, such as Juliette Gordon Low’s life and the famous Forrest Gump scene, others are less well-known. Here are some fun Savannah facts that you probably didn’t know about.
1. You may take your cocktails to-go in Savannah. That’s correct, you don’t have to finish your drink at the bar in Savannah. Within the bounds of the historic area, Savannah’s ordinance enables you to take a to-go cup (West Boundary Street to East Broad Street and to Jones Street). Make a request for a to-go cup and take it with you!
2. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln received Savannah as a Christmas present. During the Civil War, Union General Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground during his epic southward march. The beauty of Savannah encouraged him to spare it when he came. Instead of burning Savannah like he did Atlanta, Sherman sent President Lincoln a telegraph of Savannah, with its tidy squares and lush greenery, as a Christmas present. And Savannah is still a gift!
3. The Spanish moss in Savannah isn’t a moss at all. When you think of Savannah’s oaks, you can’t imagine them without our idyllic Spanish moss-draped over them. And, in case you didn’t know, Spanish moss is a complete misnomer; it’s not a moss at all. It’s also possible that you’ve heard that it’s a parasitic plant that kills trees, which is wrong. You might be shocked to learn that Spanish moss has a pineapple as a close relative! Both plants are epiphytes, meaning they take water and nutrients from the air. Who’d have guessed?!
4. Savannah, Georgia The first emancipation proclamation was issued by General David Hunter. During the Civil War, David Hunter served as a Union General. At Fort Pulaski and other troops in Florida and South Carolina, he dealt closely with escaped slaves. General Hunter was a big fan of ex-slaves, therefore he issued an emancipation proclamation for all slaves in those states on May 9, 1862.
President Lincoln promptly rescinded Hunter’s proclamation after learning about it. Hunter’s actions, historians believe, forced Lincoln’s hand, resulting in the Presidential Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued later in 1863.
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5. Savannah’s First African Baptist Church was the country’s first black congregation. This historic site is well-known for serving as a safe haven for slaves and African Americans throughout history. The holes in the floorboards that were used to ventilate the hidden spaces through which slaves traveled can still be seen. First African Baptist Church served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and you can still see the holes in the floorboards that were used to ventilate the hidden spaces through which slaves traveled.
This church also played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that First African Baptist Church is the oldest black church in North America is a little-known fact. The church is now located on Montgomery Street in Savannah’s downtown area. As a tribute to the contributions of the black population to Savannah and America, this church has been holding services in the city since 1777.
6. In Savannah, Flannery O’Connor taught chickens to walk backward. Flannery O’Connor, the world-renowned American novelist, was up in Savannah, and her childhood home at 207 East Charlton Street is still standing today. O’Connor helped her family raise chickens as a child, and she even taught one of them how to walk backward!
7. Many consider Moon River Brewing Company to be Savannah’s most haunted location. Savannah is America’s most haunted city, but you’d never realize that one of the city’s best beer hangouts is also the city’s most haunted location. Moon River Brewing Company was once the City Hotel, which was built on Bay Street in 1821 and is now a thriving brewery.
The Examiner rated Moon River the #1 Top Haunted Spot in Savannah in 2014. For years, ghost tour operators, Moon River personnel, and tourists have reported seeing apparitions. However, don’t let this deter you from paying us a visit; your liquid bravery will come in handy!
8. Rooftop Bar Electric Moon. The smokestacks in Riverside District were previously part of the city’s most important power station. The original 1912 power plant stood on the site of the historic River Street, which was humbly linked to Savannah with the development of the city’s entertainment hub, Plant Riverside District. The electric power plant was essential to the city’s rapid expansion. For nearly 90 years, George Baldwin and Stone & Webster engineers spearheaded the charge to power Savannah. The plant’s smokestack, lighted in neon lights as a unique centerpiece for the district’s Electric Moon Skytop Lounge, can be seen across the city skyline today.
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9. Near downtown Savannah, one of the largest historic slave sales took place. The “Weeping Time” slave auction resulted in the enslavement of 436 men, women, and children. During two horrible days of relentless torrential rain, it robbed people of their freedom and tore families apart. This historic event, which is now a park landmark, drew the attention of northern media and showed the rifts between the North and the South before the Civil War began.
10. The historic Kennedy Pharmacy, which was the location of an archaeological dig, will assist tell the narrative of the enslaved. The Historic Savannah Foundation is restoring the Kennedy Pharmacy, an antique business building on Broughton Street’s iconic Broughton Street. The restoration is part of an exhibit at the Davenport House Museum that tells the narrative of the enslaved people who worked and lived there. The museum’s new gift shop, ticketing area, staff offices, and restrooms will all be housed in the pharmacy.
A week-long archaeological investigation was conducted behind the Kennedy Pharmacy in 2020. The Lamar Institute was given permission by the Historic Savannah Foundation to conduct two principal excavations. The crew discovered relics dating from the 1700s to the twentieth century, including animal bones, an anti-migraine bottle, and a British musket bullet. The musket ball is thought to have been used in the failed Siege of Savannah effort in 1779.