Very few places evoke the kind of wonderment you’ll find touring Savannah’s Historic District. Stroll down any of its moss-draped Spanish cobblestone streets on city blocks with buildings dating back to the Civil War, and it’s easy to see why—the preservation of the past creates a certain magic in the air here.
With 18th-century homes, museums reflecting on the Confederacy, and prominent landmarks, the Savannah Historic District is a vibrant cultural destination steeped in rich history, and you’ll find it on display at every corner as you explore the antebellum roots of this eclectic southern city.
Get ready for a fun history lesson when you visit these top attractions in the Savannah Historic District.
The Owens-Thomas House
A regal estate on the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square, the Owens-Thomas House was built in 1816 and stands as a monument to 19th-century wealth from cotton production. However, that wealth did not last, as its original owner, banker and cotton merchant Richard Richardson, suffered financial losses and had to put the house up for sale a few years after its completion.
Years later, the home was bought by then-mayor of Savannah, George Welshman Owens, and remained in his family until his granddaughter bequeathed it to the Telfair Museum of Art.
Walk through the cavernous rooms on a tour of this home and you’ll view Owens family furnishings and heirlooms from the 18th and 19th centuries. Head out back to meander through the home’s courtyard and manicured parterre gardens.
No trip to the Savannah Historic District is complete without a stroll through famous Forsyth Park. Spanning several city blocks and encompassing 30 acres, this verdant park is a must-see for its gothic water fountains and gargantuan 100-year-old live oak trees with long, winding branches draped in silvery Spanish moss.
Walk underneath tree limbs extending from each side of the pathway, creating a tunnel-like appearance, to find the Confederate Memorial Statue in the middle of the park. Pause for a photo op with this towering monument commemorating the fallen soldiers of the Confederate army. Continue on, past ornate fountains with trumpeting cherubs, swans, and sea creatures spouting water. Take a break to sit on a park bench, perhaps even the one that Tom Hanks’ character sat on while telling his story in Forrest Gump.
On Saturdays, there’s even a farmer’s market in Forsyth Park where you can pick up local peaches, baked goods, and crafts for a true Savannah experience.
The Historic Savannah Theater
Built in 1818 and one of the nation’s longest running performing arts theaters, the Historic Savannah Theater has had everything from Vaudeville productions to theatrical comedies and live music concerts performed under its roof. Remodeled with art deco design elements after a 1948 fire ravaged the interior, the theater has maintained much of its original character with regular performances throughout the year.
Come for a rockin’ good time watching local acting troupes in musical performances like Savannah Live! and Rewind. In between belly laughs, close your eyes and try to picture watching a theater production in your seat 200 years ago. Now, that’s some real history!
No matter where you roam in the Savannah Historic District, you’ll find plenty of fascinating history to keep you entertained. Visit this captivating area in this truly unique city, and gain a deeper understanding of the history of the South!
Featured image courtesy of JR P
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