Historic Sites of Savannah Georgia

Savannah, Georgia is a city that celebrates its diversity. With beauty and Southern charm at its core, Savannah embraces the contribution of the many immigrants that helped to shape it into the city it is today, a modern city with a colorful past. Founded in 1733, it was the first planned city of the British colonies. Sectioned into many “squares”, where people could conduct business and gather for celebrations, the city’s economy thrived. Many of these squares now house a central historical marker to commemorate the efforts of a person, or group of people, whose involvement in the development of the city was significant. Savannah’s history is as diverse as the people who helped to create it.

Tomochichi Monument

Charged with settling the area now known as Georgia, General James Oglethorpe made efforts to befriend the natives of the area. Tomochichi, chief of a small tribe of Creek and Yamacraw Indians, became fast friends with General Oglethorpe during the settling of Savannah. Tomochichi was open to trade negotiations with the white settlers, and Oglethorpe was eager to have peaceful relations with the natives. It is believed that without the help of Tomochichi, Savannah’s beginnings would have certainly contained much more violence and bloodshed. Tomochichi died in 1739. Most historians agree he was in his late nineties at the time of his death. A monument was erected in his honor in what is now Wright Square.

Moravian Marker

The Moravian movement brought the evangelical  revival from Europe to the colony of Georgia in 1735. These religious leaders set out on a mission to convert Native Americans to Christianity. This movement became known as the Great Awakening throughout the Protestant religion. Their influence was felt up until the beginning of the war with Spain around 1740. Many members fled north to settle in Pennsylvania, while others returned to Europe. A marker to signify their contribution to the settlement of Savannah is located in Oglethorpe Square.

Salzburger Monument

The Salzburgers were exiles from Austria and Germany. At the invitation of General Oglethorpe they came to Savannah to help farm the land and contribute to the economy of the city. After a shaky start, the Salzburg settled in New Ebenezer, located at the mouth of Ebenezer Creek, where it flows into the Savannah River. These early settlers began many firsts of the area: the first saw mill, the first orphanage, the first rice and grist mills, the first Sunday School, and they produced the first governor of Georgia after earning its independence from Britain, Governor John Adam Treutlen. The Salzburger Monument is located in Salzburger Park on Bay Street, between Lincoln and Abercorn Streets.

African American Monument

General Oglethorpe disagreed with the practice of slavery and it was banned in Georgia until 1750.  At that time, the laws changed and slavery began Georgia. Africans were stolen from their tribes, and they were chained and housed in filthy, animal-like conditions as they made their way to the colonies. Some died  in transport, yet others survived. They grew stronger physically and spiritually. They were determined to regain their freedom. The inscription, by Maya Angelou, on the African American Monument, located behind the Hyatt Hotel on the river walk, explains the hardships of slavery, and the incredible tenacity of those who endured it. 

Irish Monument

Robert Emmet Park was named for the Irish patriot that once led an uprising in Dublin, Ireland for the Irish Independence. He was later executed for treason. In the mid 1830s, a mass of Irish immigrants flooded Savannah in response to work opportunities of farming and helping to build the Central of Georgia railroad. Their contributions helped expand the regional economy over the next 15 years leading up to the Civil War. Today, Savannah hosts one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

Savannah is a Southern belle of a city. Its quiet beginnings hide the vibrant and colorful diversity of its people. The strength of Savannah lies in her ability to bring together the different cultures of her origins, and to influence the future because of her past. The monuments and markers presented here are just a small part of the influence immigrants had on the city. Travelers will be swathed in history as they amble along the city squares looking for insights into the past.