Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Savannah

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SAVANNAH, a city of the United States, the capital of Chatham county, Georgia, and the largest city in the State, is situated on the right or southern bank of the Savannah river, 12 miles in a straight line and 18 miles by water from the ocean. By rail it is 104 miles south-west of Charleston, S.C. Stretching about three miles along the river, opposite Hutchinson's Island, and extending inland 1½ miles, Savannah has an area of 3⅓ square miles. The site is partly formed by a bold bluff of sand about a mile long, which lies 40 feet above low-water mark, ending abruptly at either extremity, but “slopes inland for several miles with a very gentle and regular declivity.” Though laid out in parallelograms, Savannah has less than usual of the monotony of system, no fewer than twenty-four small public parks or gardens being distributed throughout the city, and most of its streets being well shaded with trees. In the south is Forsyth Park (30 acres), with a fountain after the model of that in the Place de la Concorde, Paris, and a monument to the memory of the Confederate slain. Johnson Square contains a Doric obelisk, in memory of General Nathaniel Greene and Count Pulaski, the corner stone of which was laid by Lafayette in 1825; and in Monterey Square, on the spot where Pulaski fell in 1779, rises a more elaborate monument—a statue of Liberty displaying the national banner, on the top of a marble shaft 55 feet high. The focus of commercial life in Savannah is the so-called Bay, a narrow street built at the foot of the river bluff, with its top stories opening on the higher level behind. Among the more conspicuous buildings are the custom-house and post office, the city exchange, the court-house, Oglethorpe United States barracks, Chatham academy, St Andrew's hall, the library hall of the Georgia Historical Society, the Savannah medical college, the Roman Catholic cathedral, and St John's Episcopal church. Besides being the second cotton port in the States, Savannah has a large trade in rice, timber, resin, and turpentine, the value of its exports being $29,850,275 in 1873, and $21,527,235 in 1880. Planing mills, foundries, and flour-mills are the chief industrial establishments. The harbour has in Tybee Roads a depth of 31 feet and 38 feet at mean low and high water, and the bar 19 and 26 feet. The population, 5195 in 1810, was 15,312 in 1850, 28,235 in 1870, and 30,709 (15,654 coloured) in 1880.

Savannah was settled in February 1733 under General Oglethorpe. A British attack in 1776 was repulsed; but it was captured in 1778, and though the French and American forces made an attempt to recover it in 1779 it was held by the British till July 1783. The first session of the legislature of the State was held in Savannah in January 1784. A city charter was granted in 1789. A great fire in 1796 and another in 1820 did damage to the amount of $1,000,000 and $4,000,000 respectively. During the Civil War Savannah was held by the Confederates; but it was ultimately captured by General Sherman on 21st December 1864.