Savannah, Georgia

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Savannah, Georgia
City of Savannah
Downtown Savannah, GA, houses IMG 4731.JPG
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Savannah GA USA Congregation Mickve Israel side.JPG
River St in Savannah, Georgia.JPG
Savannah river cargo ship.jpg
2008.06.02.184103 Student Center Savannah GA USA.jpg
Gingerbread House in Savannah.jpg
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Savannah official seal.png
"The Hostess City of the South"
Chatham County Georgia Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Savannah Highlighted.svg
Location within Chatham County
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Location within Georgia
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Location within the United States
Coordinates: 32°1′N81°7′W / 32.017°N 81.117°W / 32.017; -81.117 Coordinates: 32°1′N81°7′W / 32.017°N 81.117°W / 32.017; -81.117
CountryUnited States
State Georgia
County Chatham
   Mayor Eddie DeLoach (R)
  City ManagerRob Hernandez
   City 108.7 sq mi (281.5 km2)
  Land103.1 sq mi (267.1 km2)
  Water5.6 sq mi (14.4 km2)
49 ft (15 m)
   City 136,286
(2017) [1]
  Density1,321/sq mi (510.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 912
FIPS code 13-69000 [2]
GNIS feature ID0322590 [3]
With its distinctive dome in tissue-paper-thin, 23-karat gold leaf, Savannah's City Hall (1906) is the first building constructed for exclusive use by the municipal government. Savannah, GA City Hall IMG 4659.JPG
With its distinctive dome in tissue-paper-thin, 23-karat gold leaf, Savannah's City Hall (1906) is the first building constructed for exclusive use by the municipal government.
Statue of James Oglethorpe in Chippewa Square, completed in 1910 by Daniel Chester French Oglethorpe statue in Savannah, GA IMG 4716.JPG
Statue of James Oglethorpe in Chippewa Square, completed in 1910 by Daniel Chester French

Savannah ( /səˈvænə/ ) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. [4] A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, [5] Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2017 estimated population of 146,444. [1] The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third-largest, had an estimated population of 387,543 in 2017. [6]

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

Chatham County, Georgia County in the United States

Chatham County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia, and is located on the state's Atlantic coast. The county seat and largest city is Savannah. One of the original counties of Georgia, Chatham County was created February 5, 1777, and is named after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham.


Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings: the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA), the Georgia Historical Society (the oldest continually operating historical society in the South), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African-American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third-oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America). [4] [7]

Juliette Gordon Low Founder of the Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. Inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, Juliette Low joined the Girl Guide movement in England, forming a group of Girl Guides in Great Britain in 1911.

Girl Scouts of the USA non-profit organisation in the USA

Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA), commonly referred to as simply Girl Scouts in the US, is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. Founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, it was organized after Low met Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, in 1911. Upon returning to Savannah, Georgia, she telephoned a distant cousin, saying, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"

Georgia Historical Society organization

The Georgia Historical Society (GHS), headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, is the oldest cultural institution in the state and one of the oldest historical organizations in the United States. It is the only statewide historical society in Georgia. Since 1839, the society has collected, examined, and taught Georgia history through a variety of educational outreach programs, publications, and research services.

Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966). [4] [lower-alpha 1] Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan). Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.

Savannah Historic District (Savannah, Georgia) Historic district in Savannah, Georgia

The Savannah Historic District is a large urban U.S. historic district that roughly corresponds to the city limits of Savannah, Georgia prior to the American Civil War. The area was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1966, and is one of the largest districts of its kind in the United States. The district was made in recognition of the unique layout of the city, begun by James Oglethorpe at the city's founding and propagated for over a century of its growth.

Savannah Victorian Historic District

The Savannah Victorian Historic District is a historic district in Savannah, Georgia. It is mostly residential in character and features Late Victorian, Queen Anne, and other architectural styles.

Squares of Savannah, Georgia human settlement in Georgia, United States of America

The U.S. city of Savannah, Georgia was laid out in 1733 around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential ("tything") blocks and four civic ("trust") blocks. Once the four wards were developed in the mid-1730s, two additional wards were laid out. The layout of a square and eight surrounding blocks was known as a "ward." The original plan was part of a larger regional plan that included gardens, farms, and "out-lying villages." While some authorities believe that the original plan allowed for growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid, the regional plan suggests otherwise: the ratio of town lots to country lots was in balance and growth of the urban grid would have destroyed that balance.


General James Edward Oglethorpe, a philanthropist and a representative of King George II to the American colonies, was sent to create a buffer south of the Savannah River to protect the Carolinas from Spanish Florida and French Louisiana. JamesOlethrope.jpg
General James Edward Oglethorpe, a philanthropist and a representative of King George II to the American colonies, was sent to create a buffer south of the Savannah River to protect the Carolinas from Spanish Florida and French Louisiana.

On February 12, 1733, [8] General James Oglethorpe and settlers from the ship Anne landed at Yamacraw Bluff and were greeted by Tomochichi, the Yamacraws, and Indian traders John and Mary Musgrove. Mary Musgrove often served as an interpreter. The city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the colony of Georgia. In 1751, Savannah and the rest of Georgia became a Royal Colony and Savannah was made the colonial capital of Georgia. [9]

James Oglethorpe British Army general, founder of the Georgia colony

James Edward Oglethorpe was a British soldier, Member of Parliament, and philanthropist, as well as the founder of the colony of Georgia. As a social reformer, he hoped to resettle Britain's worthy poor in the New World, initially focusing on those in debtors' prisons.

Yamacraw Bluff is a bluff situated on the bank of the Savannah River. Now completely enclosed within downtown Savannah, Georgia, the bluff is most notable for being the spot upon which General James Edward Oglethorpe arrived to settle the British colony of Georgia. The area was originally inhabited by the Yamacraw Indians. A stone marker and statue now adorn the bluff in honor of its historic significance.

Mary Musgrove was of mixed Yamacraw and English ancestry. She facilitated in the development of Colonial Georgia and became an important intermediary between Muscogee Creek natives and the English colonists. She attempted to carve out a life that merged both cultures and fought for her own rights in both worlds.

By the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, Savannah had become the southernmost commercial port in the Thirteen Colonies. British troops took the city in 1778, and the following year a combined force of American and French soldiers, including Haitians, failed to rout the British at the Siege of Savannah. The British did not leave the city until July 1782. [10] In December 1804 the state legislature declared Milledgeville the new capital of Georgia.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Thirteen Colonies British American colonies which became the United States

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.

Siege of Savannah Siege during the American Revolutionary War

The Siege of Savannah or the Second Battle of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia, had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah, from September 16 to October 18, 1779. On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish nobleman Count Casimir Pulaski, leading the combined cavalry forces on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint attack, the siege was abandoned, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, near the end of the war.

Savannah, a prosperous seaport throughout the nineteenth century, was the Confederacy's sixth most populous city and the prime objective of General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea. Early on December 21, 1864, local authorities negotiated a peaceful surrender to save Savannah from destruction, and Union troops marched into the city at dawn. [11]

Shermans March to the Sea Military campaign during the American Civil War

Sherman's March to the Sea was a military campaign of the American Civil War conducted through Georgia from November 15 until December 21, 1864, by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta on November 15 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21. His forces followed a "scorched earth" policy, destroying military targets as well as industry, infrastructure, and civilian property and disrupting the Confederacy's economy and transportation networks. The operation broke the back of the Confederacy and helped lead to its eventual surrender. Sherman's bold move of operating deep within enemy territory and without supply lines is considered to be one of the major achievements of the war and is also considered to be the early example of modern total war.

Savannah was named for the Savannah River, which probably derives from variant names for the Shawnee, a Native American people who migrated to the river in the 1680s. The Shawnee destroyed another Native people, the Westo, and occupied their lands at the head of the Savannah River's navigation on the fall line, near present-day Augusta. [12] These Shawnee, whose Native name was Ša·wano·ki (literally, "southerners"), [13] were known by several local variants, including Shawano, Savano, Savana and Savannah. [14] Another theory is that the name Savannah refers to the extensive marshlands surrounding the river for miles inland, and is derived from the English term "savanna", a kind of tropical grassland, which was borrowed by the English from Spanish sabana and used in the Southern Colonies. (The Spanish word comes from the Taino word zabana.) [15] Still other theories suggest that the name Savannah originates from Algonquian terms meaning not only "southerners" but perhaps "salt". [16] [17]


Savannah lies on the Savannah River, approximately 20 mi (32 km) upriver from the Atlantic Ocean. [18] According to the United States Census Bureau (2011), the city has a total area of 108.7 square miles (281.5 km2), of which 103.1 square miles (267.0 km2) is land and 5.6 square miles (15 km2) is water (5.15%). Savannah is the primary port on the Savannah River and the largest port in the state of Georgia. It is also located near the U.S. Intracoastal Waterway. Georgia's Ogeechee River flows toward the Atlantic Ocean some 16 miles (26 km) south of downtown Savannah, and forms the southern city limit.

Savannah is prone to flooding, due to abundant rainfall, an elevation at just above sea level, and the shape of the coastline, which poses a greater surge risk during hurricanes. The city currently uses five canals. In addition, several pumping stations have been built to help reduce the effects of flash flooding. [19]


Savannah's climate is classified as humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa). In the Deep South, this is characterized by long and almost tropical summers and short, mild winters. Savannah records few days of freezing temperatures each year (and has rare snowfall). Due to its proximity to the Atlantic coast, Savannah rarely experiences temperatures as extreme as those in Georgia's interior. Nevertheless, the extreme temperatures have officially ranged from 105 °F (41 °C), on July 20, 1986, down to 3 °F (−16 °C) during the January 1985 Arctic outbreak. [20]

Seasonally, Savannah tends to have hot and humid summers with frequent (but brief) thunderstorms that develop in the warm and tropical air masses, which are common. Although summers in Savannah are frequently sunny, half of Savannah's annual precipitation falls during the months of June through September. Average dewpoints in summer range from 67.8 to 71.6 °F (20 to 22 °C). Winters in Savannah are mild and sunny with average daily high temperatures close to 60 °F (16 °C). November and December are the driest months recorded at Savannah–Hilton Head International Airport. Each year, Savannah reports 24 days on average with low temperatures below freezing, though in some years fewer than 10 nights will fall below freezing. Although decades might pass between snowfall events, Savannah has experienced snow on rare occasions, most notably in December 1989, when up to 3.9 inches were recorded in one day in parts of the city. [21] [22]

Savannah is at risk for hurricanes, particularly of the Cape Verde type of storms that take place during the peak of the season. Because of its location in the Georgia Bight (the arc of the Atlantic coastline in Georgia and northern Florida) as well as the tendency for hurricanes to re-curve up the coast, Savannah has a lower risk of hurricanes than some other coastal cities such as Charleston, South Carolina. Savannah was seldom affected by hurricanes during the 20th century, with one exception of being hit by Hurricane David in 1979. [23] However, the historical record shows that the city was frequently affected during the second half of the 19th century. The most prominent of these storms was the 1893 Sea Islands hurricane, which killed at least 2,000 people. (This estimate may be low, as deaths among the many impoverished rural African-Americans living on Georgia's barrier islands may not have been reported.)

Savannah was most recently affected by an active 2016 hurricane season, including Hurricane Matthew (which made a partial eyewall landfall), [24] and was brushed by Hurricane Irma in 2017. [25] [26] [27]

Climate data for Savannah, Georgia (Savannah/Hilton Head Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, [lower-alpha 2] extremes 1871–present [lower-alpha 3]
Record high °F (°C)84
Mean maximum °F (°C)76.3
Average high °F (°C)60.4
Average low °F (°C)38.6
Mean minimum °F (°C)21.7
Record low °F (°C)3
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.69
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average relative humidity (%)69.667.066.865.470.173.676.078.677.772.972.370.871.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 175.5181.0232.0275.6288.9276.0271.3245.8214.3228.6193.5174.22,756.7
Percent possible sunshine 55596271676562605865615662
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990) [28] [29] [30]

The first meteorological observations in Savannah probably occurred at Oglethorpe Barracks circa 1827, continuing intermittently until 1850 and resuming in 1866. The Signal Service began observations in 1874, and the National Weather Service has kept records of most data continually since then; since 1948, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport has served as Savannah's official meteorological station. Annual records (dating back to 1950) from the airport's weather station are available on the web. [31]


Wideshot of River St in Savannah, Georgia.JPG


Map of Savannah neighborhoods Savannah Neighborhoods.jpg
Map of Savannah neighborhoods

Savannah is a city of diverse neighborhoods. More than 100 distinct neighborhoods can be identified in six principal areas of the city: Downtown (Landmark Historic District and Victorian District), Midtown, Southside, Eastside, Westside, and Southwest/West Chatham (recently annexed suburban neighborhoods).

Historic districts

Besides the Savannah Historic District, one of the nation's largest, four other historic districts have been formally demarcated: [32]

  • Victorian District
  • Cuyler-Brownsville District
  • Thomas Square Historic District
  • Pin Point Historic District


Historical population
1800 5,146
1810 5,2151.3%
1820 7,52344.3%
1830 7,303−2.9%
1840 11,21453.6%
1850 15,31236.5%
1860 22,29245.6%
1870 28,23526.7%
1880 30,7098.8%
1890 43,18940.6%
1900 54,24425.6%
1910 65,06419.9%
1920 83,25228.0%
1930 85,0242.1%
1940 95,99612.9%
1950 119,63824.6%
1960 149,24524.7%
1970 118,349−20.7%
1980 141,65419.7%
1990 137,560−2.9%
2000 131,510−4.4%
2010 136,2863.6%
Est. 2017146,444 [1] 7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [33]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Savannah's 2017 estimated population was 146,444, up from the official 2010 count of 136,286 residents. [1] The Census Bureau's 2017 estimated population of the Savannah metropolitan area, defined by the Census Bureau as Bryan, Chatham, and Effingham counties, was 387,543. [6] Between 2000 and 2010, Savannah's metro area had grown from 293,000 to 347,611, an increase of 18.6 percent. [34] Savannah is also the largest principal city of the Savannah-Hinesville-Statesboro Combined Statistical Area, a larger trading area that includes the Savannah and Hinesville-Fort Stewart metropolitan areas and (since 2012) the Statesboro Micropolitan Statistical Area. The 2017 estimated population of this area was 544,092, up from 495,745 at the 2010 Census. [35]

Racial distribution map of Savannah and Chatham County (source: 2010 U.S. Census). Each dot represents 25 residents: white, black, Asian, Hispanic or other (yellow). Race and ethnicity 2010- Savannah (5559843151).png
Racial distribution map of Savannah and Chatham County (source: 2010 U.S. Census). Each dot represents 25 residents: white, black, Asian, Hispanic or other (yellow).

In the official 2010 census of Savannah, there were 136,286 people, 52,615 households, and 31,390 families residing in the city. [36] The population density was 1,759.5 people per square mile (679.4/km²). There were 57,437 housing units at an average density of 768.5 per square mile (296.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.04% Black, 38.03% White, 2.00% Asian, 0.03% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 2.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.07% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 32.6% of the population in 2010, [36] compared to 46.2% in 1990. [37]

There were 51,375 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 21.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the age distribution was as follows: 25.6% were under the age of 18, 13.2% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,038, and the median income for a family was $36,410. Males had a median income of $28,545 versus $22,309 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,921. About 17.7% of families and 21.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.


A different view of City Hall Savannah, Georgia, US City Hall.JPG
A different view of City Hall
Map of official Savannah Aldermanic Districts Savannah Aldermanic Districts.jpg
Map of official Savannah Aldermanic Districts

Savannah adopted a council-manager form of government in 1954. The city council consists of the mayor and eight aldermen, six of whom are elected from one of six aldermanic districts, with each district electing one member. The other two members and the mayor are elected at-large.

Results of most recent Savannah mayoral election runoff (2015) by city precinct Savannah Mayoral Race 2015.png
Results of most recent Savannah mayoral election runoff (2015) by city precinct

The council levies taxes, enacts ordinances, adopts the annual budget, and appoints the City Manager. [38] The City Manager enacts the policies and programs established by council, recommends an annual budget and work programs, appoints bureau and department heads, and exercises general supervision and control over all employees of the city. [38]

Police, fire department, and Savannah-Chatham consolidation

In 2003 Savannah and Chatham County voted to merge their city and county police departments. The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department was established on January 1, 2005, after the Savannah Police Department and Chatham County Police Department merged. The department has a number of specialty units, including: K-9, SWAT, Bomb Squad, Marine Patrol, Dive, Air Support and Mounted Patrol. The 9-1-1 Communications Dispatch Center handles all 9-1-1 calls for service within the county and city, including fire and EMS. The Savannah Fire Department only serves the City of Savannah and remains separate from the other municipal firefighting organizations in Chatham County.

While some[ who? ] see the police merger as a step toward city-county consolidation, Savannah is actually one of eight incorporated cities or towns in Chatham County. (The others are Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt, Tybee Island and Vernonburg). Although these seven smaller localities would remain independent from a consolidated government, they have long opposed any efforts to adopt a city-county merger. One fear is that consolidation would reduce county funding to areas outside of Savannah.[ citation needed ]

In February 2018, the city and county governments ended the police department merger. This reestablished both the Savannah Police Department and the Chatham County Police Department, which operate as two separate agencies. [39]

State representation

The Georgia Department of Corrections operates the Coastal State Prison in Savannah. [40] [41]


A container ship leaves the Port of Savannah after passing under the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and proceeding down the Savannah River past the Savannah Historic District. Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge.jpg
A container ship leaves the Port of Savannah after passing under the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and proceeding down the Savannah River past the Savannah Historic District.

Agriculture was essential to Savannah's economy during its first two centuries. Silk and indigo production, both in demand in England, were early export commodities. By 1767, almost a ton of silk per year was exported to England. [42]

Georgia's mild climate offered perfect conditions for growing cotton, which became the dominant commodity after the American Revolution. Its production under the plantation system and shipment through the Port of Savannah helped the city's European immigrants to achieve wealth and prosperity.

In the nineteenth century, the Port of Savannah became one of the most active in the United States, and Savannahians had the opportunity to consume some of the world's finest goods, imported by foreign merchants. Savannah's port has always been a mainstay of the city's economy. In the early years of the United States, goods produced in the New World had to pass through Atlantic ports such as Savannah's before they could be shipped to England.

Between 1912 and 1968, the Savannah Machine & Foundry Company was a shipbuilder in Savannah. [43]

The Port of Savannah, manufacturing, the military, and tourism have become Savannah's four major economic drivers in the twenty-first century. In 2006, the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau reported over 6.85 million visitors to the city during the year. By 2011, the Bureau reported that the number of visitors the city attracted increased to 12.1 million. Lodging, dining, entertainment, and visitor-related transportation account for over $2 billion in visitors' spending per year and employ over 17,000.

For years, Savannah was the home of Union Camp, which housed the world's largest paper mill. The plant is now owned by International Paper, and it remains one of Savannah's largest employers. Savannah is also home to the Gulfstream Aerospace company, maker of private jets, as well as various other large industrial interests. TitleMax is headquartered in Savannah. Morris Multimedia, a newspaper and television company, is also based in Savannah.

In 2000, JCB, the third largest producer of construction equipment in the world and the leading manufacturer of backhoes and telescopic handlers, built its North American headquarters in Chatham County near Savannah in Pooler on I-95 near Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

In 2009-2017, Savannah was North America's fourth largest port for shipping container traffic. [44] [45]

Arts and culture

Beyond its architectural significance as being the nation's largest, historically restored urban area, the city of Savannah has a rich and growing performing arts scene, offering cultural events throughout the year.

Books and literature


Savannah Ballet Theatre – established in 1998 as a nonprofit organization, it has grown to become the city's largest dance company. [49]


Lucas Theatre for the Arts Savannah GA USA Lucas Theater.JPG
Lucas Theatre for the Arts

Theater and performance

Visual and community arts

Points of interest

Confederate Memorial in Forsyth Park Confederate Memorial; Savannah, Georgia.jpg
Confederate Memorial in Forsyth Park
The German Memorial Fountain was erected in 1989 to honor the accomplishments of German-Americans in Savannah. German Memorial Fountain in Savannah, Georgia IMG 4714.JPG
The German Memorial Fountain was erected in 1989 to honor the accomplishments of German-Americans in Savannah.
A carriage from Historic Carriage Tours of Savannah pauses at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Historic carriage tour, Savannah, GA IMG 4726.JPG
A carriage from Historic Carriage Tours of Savannah pauses at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Typical houses in the Savannah Historic District; these are located near the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Downtown Savannah, GA, houses IMG 4731.JPG
Typical houses in the Savannah Historic District; these are located near the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Savannah's architecture, history, and reputation for Southern charm and hospitality are internationally known. The city's former promotional name was "Hostess City of the South," a phrase still used by the city government. [65] [66] An earlier nickname was "the Forest City", in reference to the large population and species of oak trees that flourish in the Savannah area. These trees were especially valuable in shipbuilding during the 19th century. [67] In 2014, Savannah attracted 13.5 million visitors from across the country and around the world. [68] Savannah's downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. [9]

The city's location offers visitors access to the coastal islands and the Savannah Riverfront, 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. Other picturesque towns adjacent to Savannah include the shrimping village of Thunderbolt and three residential areas that began as summer resort communities for Savannahians: Beaulieu, Vernonburg, and the Isle of Hope.

The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is located on Hutchinson Island, across from downtown Savannah and surrounded by the Savannah River. The Belles Ferry connects the island with the mainland, as does the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

The Georgia Historical Society, an independent educational and research institution, has a research center in Savannah. The research center's library and archives hold the oldest collection of materials related to Georgia history.

The Savannah Civic Center on Montgomery Street is host to more than nine hundred events each year.

Savannah has consistently been named one of "America's Favorite Cities" by Travel + Leisure. In 2012, the magazine rated Savannah highest in "Quality of Life and Visitor Experience." [69] Savannah was also ranked first for "Public Parks and Outdoor Access," visiting in the Fall, and as a romantic escape. [70] Savannah was also named as America's second-best city for "Cool Buildings and Architecture," behind only Chicago. [71]


Savannah's historic district has 22 squares (Ellis Square, demolished in 1954, was fully restored in early 2010). [72] [73] The squares vary in size and character, from the formal fountain and monuments of the largest, Johnson, to the playgrounds of the smallest, Crawford. Elbert, Ellis, and Liberty Squares are classified as the three "lost squares," destroyed in the course of urban development during the 1950s. Elbert and Liberty Squares were paved over to make way for a realignment of U.S. highway 17, while Ellis Square was demolished to build the City Market parking garage. The city restored Ellis Square after razing the City Market parking garage. The garage has been rebuilt as an underground facility, the Whitaker Street Parking Garage, and it opened in January 2009. The newly restored Ellis Square opened in March 2010. [74] Separate efforts are now under way to revive Elbert and Liberty Squares. Franklin Square is the site of Savannah's Haitian Monument, which commemorates the heroic efforts of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue in the 1779 Siege of Savannah and for an independent America. One of the few black regiments to fight for the American side in the Revolutionary War, the soldiers were recruited from present-day Haiti, until 1804 the French colony of Saint-Domingue.

Historic churches and synagogues

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Xvisionxstjohncathedralsavannah.jpg
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Savannah has numerous historic houses of worship.

Founded in 1733, with the establishment of the Georgia colony, Christ Church (Episcopal) is the longest continuous Christian congregation in Georgia.[ citation needed ] Early rectors include the Methodist evangelists John Wesley and George Whitefield. Located on the original site on Johnson Square, Christ Church continues as an active congregation.

The Independent Presbyterian Church (Savannah, Georgia), which was founded in 1755, is located near Chippewa Square. The church's current sanctuary (its third) dates from the early 1890s.

The First Bryan Baptist Church is an African-American church that was organized by Andrew Bryan in 1788. The site was purchased in 1793 by Bryan, a former slave who had also purchased his freedom. The first structure was erected there in 1794. By 1800, the congregation was large enough to split: those at Bryan Street took the name of First African Baptist Church, and Second and Third African Baptist churches were also established. [75] The current sanctuary of First Bryan Baptist Church was constructed in 1873.

In 1832, a controversy over doctrine caused the First African Baptist congregation at Bryan Street to split. Some members left, taking with them the name of First African Baptist Church. In 1859, the members of this new congregation (most of whom were slaves) built their current church building on Franklin Square. [75]

In 1874, the St. Benedict the Moor Church was founded in Savannah, the first African-American Catholic church in Georgia, and one of the oldest in the Southeast. [76]

The oldest standing house of worship is First Baptist Church, Savannah (1833), located on Chippewa Square. Other historic houses of worship in Savannah include: Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Roman Catholic), Temple Mickve Israel (the third oldest synagogue in the U.S.), [4] and St. John's Church (Episcopal).

Historic homes

Sorrel-Weed House SavannahGA SorrelWeed.jpg
Sorrel-Weed House
Green-Meldrim House Green meldrim house.jpg
Green-Meldrim House

Among the historic homes that have been preserved are: the Olde Pink House, the Sorrel-Weed House, Juliette Gordon Low's birthplace, the Davenport House Museum, the Green-Meldrim House, the Owens-Thomas House, the William Scarbrough House, and the Wormsloe plantation of Noble Jones. The Mercer-Williams House, the former home of Jim Williams, is the main location of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil .

Historic cemeteries

Colonial Park Cemetery (an early graveyard dating back to the English colony of Georgia), Laurel Grove Cemetery (with the graves of many Confederate soldiers and African American slaves) and Bonaventure Cemetery (a former plantation and the final resting place for some illustrious Savannahians).

Historic forts

Fort Jackson, not associated with Andrew Jackson, one mile east of Savannah's Historic District, was originally built between 1808 and 1812 to protect the city from attack by sea. During the Civil War, it became one of three Confederate forts defending Savannah from Union forces. Fort Pulaski National Monument, located 17 miles (27 km) east of Savannah, preserves the largest fort protecting Savannah during the Civil War. The Union Army attacked Fort Pulaski in 1862, with the aid of a new rifled cannon that effectively rendered brick fortifications obsolete.

Other registered historic sites

Forsyth Park SavannahGeorgiaForsythParkWalkwayAndFountain 2006.jpg
Forsyth Park
River Street River St in Savannah, Georgia.JPG
River Street
The African-American Families Monument, Savannah Riverfront African-American Monument, Savannah, GA, US.jpg
The African-American Families Monument, Savannah Riverfront


Various centers for shopping exist about the city including Abercorn Common, Savannah Historic District, Oglethorpe Mall, Savannah Mall and Abercorn Walk.

Other attractions

Sports and recreation

Portions of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile-long system of trails from Maine to Florida, run through Savannah.

Professional sport teams

Savannah Braves Baseball Southern League Grayson Stadium 01971–1983
Savannah Cardinals Baseball South Atlantic League Grayson Stadium 2 (1993, 1994)1984–1995
Savannah Sand Gnats Baseball South Atlantic League Grayson Stadium 2 (1996, 2013)1996–2016
Savannah Bananas Baseball Coastal Plain League Grayson Stadium 1 (2016)2016–present
Savannah Spirits Basketball Continental Basketball Association Savannah Civic Center 01986–1988
Savannah Wildcats Basketball Continental Basketball League Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus 1 (2010)2010–present
Savannah Storm BasketballEast Coast Basketball League Savannah High School 2014–present
Savannah Steam American football American Indoor Football Tiger Arena 2015–present

College teams

Armstrong State Pirates (Armstrong's athletic program was discontinued after the 2016–17 season during the university's consolidation with Georgia Southern University) NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference Alumni Arena
Savannah College of Art and Design Bees NAIA Florida Sun Conference SCAD Athletic Complex, Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center
Savannah State Tigers NCAA Division I (FCS) MEAC Tiger Arena, Ted Wright Stadium


Student center of SCAD, Savannah campus (the building was formerly a synagogue) 2008.06.02.184103 Student Center Savannah GA USA.jpg
Student center of SCAD, Savannah campus (the building was formerly a synagogue)
Savannah Law School (the building once housed the original Candler Hospital) Savannah Law School Front.jpg
Savannah Law School (the building once housed the original Candler Hospital)
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools headquarters Savannah-Chatham County Public School System building.jpg
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools headquarters

Savannah hosts four colleges and universities offering bachelor's, master's, and professional or doctoral degree programs: Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah State University, and South University. In addition, Georgia Tech Savannah offers certificate programs, and Georgia Southern University has a satellite campus in the downtown area. Savannah Technical College, a two-year technical institution and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, a marine science research institute of the University of Georgia located on the northern end of Skidaway Island, offer educational programs as well. Savannah is also the location of Ralston College, a liberal arts college founded in 2010. [83]

Mercer University began a four-year doctor of medicine program in August 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. Mercer, with its main campus in Macon, received additional state funding in 2007 to expand its existing partnership with Memorial by establishing a four-year medical school in Savannah (the first in southern Georgia). Third- and fourth-year Mercer students have completed two-year clinical rotations at Memorial since 1996; approximately 100 residents are trained each year in a number of specialities. The expanded program opened in August 2008 with 30 first-year students.

In 2012, Savannah Law School opened in the historic Candler building on Forsyth Park. The school is fully ABA-accredited and offers full-time as well as part-time programs leading to the juris doctor degree. [84] In early 2018, however, the administration announced that the school would close at the end of the spring semester. [85]

Savannah is also home to most of the schools in the Chatham County school district, the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools.

Notable secondary schools in Savannah-Chatham County include the following. (Public schools are indicated with an asterisk.)

Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah [lower-alpha 4] is also a part of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. An environmental education center, it serves thousands of students from schools throughout the Southeastern United States. Located east of Savannah on a marsh island, it features a 2-mile (3.2 km) Native Animal Nature Trail that winds through maritime forest, salt marsh, and freshwater wetlands. Along the trail, visitors can observe native animals, such as Florida panthers, Eastern timber wolves, and alligators in their natural habitat.


Savannah's major television stations are WSAV-TV, channel 3 (NBC); WTOC-TV, channel 11 (CBS); WJCL, channel 22 (ABC); and WTGS, channel 28 (Fox). Two PBS member stations serve the city: WVAN (channel 9), part of Georgia Public Broadcasting; and WJWJ-TV (channel 16), part of SCETV.

Other stations include channel 3.2 (The CW); and WXSX-CA, channel 46 (MTV2).

The Savannah Morning News is Savannah's only daily newspaper. The Savannah Tribune and the Savannah Herald are weekly newspapers with a focus on Savannah's African American community. Connect Savannah is an alternative free weekly newspaper focused on local news, culture and music. [86] [87] The Coastal Buzz is the metro area's only media company dedicated to "positive news." It is owned by Positive Life Media.



Old Savannah cobblestone, Historic District Cobblestone street in Savannah, GA, US.jpg
Old Savannah cobblestone, Historic District

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is located off Interstate 95 west of Savannah. Airlines serving this airport include Air Canada Express, Delta, Delta Connection, JetBlue, United Express, Vision Airlines and American Eagle. Until September 2008, DayJet provided on-demand air transportation service between Savannah and cities throughout the Southeast.

Amtrak operates a passenger terminal at Savannah for its Palmetto and Silver Service trains, which run between New York City and Miami. (Three southbound and three northbound trains make daily stops at the Savannah terminal).

Public transit throughout the region is provided by Chatham Area Transit.

The DOT (Downtown Transportation) system provides fare free transportation in the Historic District. [88] Services include express shuttle buses, the River Street Streetcar, and a ferry to Hutchinson Island and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. [88]

Interstates and major highways

  • I-95.svg Interstate 95 — Runs north–south just west of the city; provides access to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and intersects with Interstate 16, which leads into the city's center.
  • I-16.svg Interstate 16 — Terminates in downtown Savannah at Liberty and Montgomery streets, and intersects with Interstate 95 and Interstate 516.
  • I-516.svg Interstate 516 — An urban perimeter highway connecting southside Savannah, at DeRenne Avenue, with the industrialized port area of the city to the north; intersects with the Veterans Parkway and Interstate 16 as well. Also known as Lynes Parkway.
  • US 80.svg U.S. Route 80 (Victory Drive) — Runs east–west through midtown Savannah and connects the city with the town of Thunderbolt and the islands of Whitemarsh, Talahi, Wilmington and Tybee. Merges with the Islands Expressway and serves as the only means of reaching the Atlantic Ocean by automobile.
  • US 17.svg U.S. Route 17 (Ocean Highway) — Runs north–south from Richmond Hill, through southside Savannah, into Garden City, back into west Savannah with a spur onto I-516, then I-16, and finally continuing over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge into South Carolina.
  • Georgia 204.svg State Route 204 (Abercorn Expressway) — An extension of Abercorn Street that begins at 37th Street in midtown (which is its northern point) and terminates at Rio Road and the Forest River at its southern point, and serves as the primary traffic and commercial artery linking downtown, midtown and southside sections of the city.
  • Harry S. Truman Parkway — Runs through eastside Savannah, connecting the east end of downtown with southside neighborhoods. Construction began in 1990 and opened in phases (the last phase, connecting with Abercorn Street, was completed in 2014).
  • Veterans Parkway — Links Interstate 516 and southside/midtown Savannah with southside Savannah, and is intended to move traffic quicker from north–south by avoiding high-volume Abercorn Street. Also known as the Southwest Bypass.
  • Islands Expressway — An extension of President Street to facilitate traffic moving between downtown Savannah, the barrier islands and the beaches of Tybee Island.


Map showing precincts of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. SCMPD Precincts.jpg
Map showing precincts of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

The total number of violent crimes in the Savannah-Chatham County reporting area ran just above 1,000 per year from 2003 through 2006. In 2007, however, the total number of violent crimes jumped to 1,163. Savannah-Chatham has recorded between 20 and 25 homicides each year since 2005.

In 2007, Savannah-Chatham recorded a sharp increase in home burglaries but a sharp decrease in larcenies from parked automobiles. During the same year, statistics show a 29 percent increase in arrests for Part 1 crimes. [89]

An additional increase in burglaries occurred in 2008 with 2,429 residential burglaries reported to Savannah-Chatham police that year. That reflects an increase of 668 incidents from 2007. In 2007, there were 1,761 burglaries, according to metro police data. [90]

Savannah-Chatham police report that crimes reported in 2009 came in down 6 percent from 2008.

In 2009, 11,782 crimes were reported to metro police — 753 fewer than in 2008. Within that 2009 number is a 12.2 percent decrease in violent crimes when compared with 2008. Property crimes saw a 5.3 percent decline, which included a 5.2 percent reduction in residential burglary. In 2008, residential burglary was up by almost 40 percent. While some violent crimes increased in 2009, crimes like street robbery went down significantly. In 2009, 30 homicides were reported, four more than the year before. Also, 46 rapes were reported, nine more than the year before. In the meantime, street robbery decreased by 23 percent. In 2008, metro police achieved a 90 percent clearance rate for homicide cases, which was described as exceptional by violent crimes unit supervisors. In 2009, the department had a clearance rate of 53 percent, which police attributed to outstanding warrants and grand jury presentations. [91]

The SCMPD provide the public with up to date crime report information through an online mapping service. This information can be found here. [92]

2015 saw a dramatic increase in the number of violent crimes, including at least 54 deaths due to gun violence, a number not seen since the early 1990s. [93]

First quarter of 2018 saw crime trending downward, compared to 2017. [94]

Sister cities

Savannah has six sister cities , as designated by Sister Cities International : [95]

Unincorporated suburbs of Savannah

Savannah's unincorporated suburbs within Chatham County include several located on urbanized barrier islands east of the city.

See also


  1. Savannah had 24 original squares. Today, 22 are still in existence. See Squares of Savannah, Georgia for additional information.
  2. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  3. Official records for Savannah were kept at downtown from January 1871 to April 1945, Hunter Field from May 1945 to September 1950, and at Savannah/Hilton Head Int'l since October 1950. For more information, see ThreadEx.
  4. Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah was named the Oatland Island Education Center until a name change in 2007.

Related Research Articles

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Skidaway Island, Georgia CDP in Georgia, United States

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Julius Curtis Lewis Jr. American businessman, philanthropist and Chairman of J.C. Lewis Enterprises, Lewis Broadcasting Corporation, J.C. Lewis Investment Company, and Island Investments

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The city of Savannah, Georgia, the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, Georgia, was established in 1733 and was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. It is known as Georgia's first planned city and attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy the city's architecture and historic structures such as the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, the First African Baptist Church, Congregation Mickve Israel, and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex. Today, Savannah's downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States.

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The Wormsloe Historic Site, informally known as Wormsloe Plantation, is a state historic site near Savannah, Georgia, in the southeastern United States. The site consists of 822 acres (3.33 km2) protecting part of what was once the Wormsloe Plantation, a large estate established by one of Georgia's colonial founders, Noble Jones. The site includes a picturesque 1.5 miles (2.4 km) oak avenue, the ruins of Jones' fortified house built of tabby, a museum, and a demonstration area interpreting colonial daily life.

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Islands High School is a public high school located on Whitemarsh Island in unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia, United States, east of Savannah. The school is part of the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, and its basic attendance zone covers the urbanized Georgia barrier islands of Whitemarsh, Wilmington, Talahi, and Tybee. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Accrediting Commission. It is also home to the Savannah-Chatham school district's Scientific Research and Veterinary Science Specialty programs.


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Further reading