Category Archives: -CHATHAM COUNTY

Savannah Powder Magazine, 1898

Designed at the behest of Mayor P. W. Meldrim by Eichberg & Witcover, the architects also responsible for Savannah City Hall, the municipal powder magazine was built by John R. Eason. On average, it provided safe storage for 96,000 pounds of black powder and 8,500 pounds of dynamite. The 15-acre property originally contained a keeper’s cottage, as well.

Abandoned since 1963, it’s the last surviving municipal powder magazine in Georgia. Because of its fortress-like construction, including 3-foot-thick walls, it’s considered the sturdiest structure in Chatham County. This has insured its survival over the years, but today its future is uncertain.

Though concealed in overgrown woods, it is located in a busy and rapidly growing area of the city.

Homeless people have been known to use the facility for shelter and there always seems to be some amount of debris inside.

A Powder Magazine Park Commission was created by Tommy Holland to explore viable alternatives for the preservation of the property, and after years of neglect, it appears serious work is being done to move forward. Mr. Holland notes that the Savannah Powder Magazine Facebook page is the best source for updates on the project.

 

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 1896, Burroughs

Established in 1832, St. Bartholomew’s is the oldest active African-American Episcopal congregation in Georgia. The Episcopal church was actively pursuing the evangelization of slaves by the early 1830s. In 1832, a white family in the area initiated religious education for its slaves and by 1845, the bishop appointed the Reverend William G. Williams as the area’s first official pastor. He established a church and school on the three plantations he served and was so successful that by 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, his congregation was the largest, black or white, in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

A gift of $400 from St. Barholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City to the Ogeechee Mission Congregation in 1881 helped stimulate interest in the construction of a permanent home. The present structure was consecrated in 1896 and named in honor of its first major patrons. The St. Barholomew’s Day School was constructed in 1897. It was operated by the church until 1916 at which time Chatham County rented the building and took over its operation. It was closed as a school in 1951 and has since served as the parish hall.

Known officially today as St. Bartholomew’s Chapel, the church which was once so integral to the life of the Burroughs community still meets on a limited schedule.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Burroughs GA

New Ogeechee Missionary Baptist Church, 1893, Burroughs

Organized in 1891 when members split from nearby First Bethel Baptist Church over their choice of Reverend Burke as pastor, New Ogeechee Missionary Baptist Church was built two years later on land donated by member J. D. Campbell. F. E. Washington was the first pastor to serve the congregation.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this area was predominately populated by slaves. In the 1870s and 1880s, freedmen bought land on which they had worked prior to Emancipation. Burroughs was established on the lands of Wild Heron Plantation, at its peak encompassing over fifty dwellings, a school and a store, as well as three churches. It was incorporated in 1898.

National Register of Historic Places

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Hunting Cabin, Pooler

Someone contacted me regarding this structure, which was recently exposed after the clear-cutting of a property for a planned housing development. Housing development is booming in the area, rendering remaining rural tracts highly endangered. Pooler’s rapid growth in recent years has insured that the area looks much more like a modern suburb than a historic community. Pooler was the last whistle-stop on the Central of Georgia Railway before Savannah and was first known as Pooler’s Station. Sherman’s forces, en route to capture Savannah for the Union in December 1864, paused in the area to consider a location for the city’s surrender.

At first glance, the structure appears to be an historic dwelling but on closer inspection, it appears to be an old hunting cabin.

The positioning and style of the windows are certainly not normal and the exterior planks are very mismatched.

The chimney is also modern .

It’s possible that it was made using components of an older rescued structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Pooler GA

Giant Cow Mailbox, Pooler

If you’ve ever traveled to Savannah on Interstate 95, you’ve likely seen the big cow, Kelly, at Keller’s Flea Market when you turn onto Abercorn Street (Georgia 204). This giant mailbox, which is visible from I-95, was created by Charles Keller. The 16-foot traffic-stopper sits on a pole 30 feet above the ground, on Quacco Road.

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Pooler GA

Single-Pen House, Chatham County

This is on a large parcel of land that is presently for sale. I don’t know the history of the structure, but it will likely be removed or razed.

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY

Savannah-Ogeechee Canal, 1830

The sign pictured above, in the parking area, illustrates the method of towing a barge in the canal.

The Savannah-Ogeechee Canal is a national landmark of early engineering located on the edge of Savannah. The 16.5-mile canal, conceived by turnpike owner Ebenezer Jenckes, was constructed by slave laborers and Irish immigrants between 1826-1830 to expedite transportation of cotton, lumber, and other valuable market products from the Ogeechee River to port at Savannah. It also served as a means of moving consumer items from Savannah to the state’s interior. DeWitt Clinton, Jr., son of the New York governor associated with the Erie Canal, was the first chief engineer. In 1827, he abruptly left the project, likely due to investors’ refusal to incorporate a feeder canal. His assistant, Edward Hall Gill, briefly assumed engineering duties, but was replaced in 1828 by Loring Olmstead Reynolds.

The Savannah-Ogeechee Canal (originally known as the Savannah-Ogeechee-Altamaha Canal) was the first and most ambitious of three built in Georgia during the Canal Era and is the only one retaining significant structural components today. Plans to connect it to the Altamaha and eventually the Flint and Chattahoochee were never realized.It was beset with problems from the beginning and at least three local newspapers dubbed it “the Folly”. In 1826, Peter McIntyre, a local subcontractor, paid the passage for one hundred Irish laborers to work on the project. They worked for about a month but by December began to riot. McIntyre and another subcontractor, Eze Baldwin, absconded with their payroll, leaving the workers “in deep distress” and a “state approaching starvation.” They were aided by members of the local Hibernian Society before returning to Ireland or dispersing elsewhere. Such unexpected labor disputes lead to cost overruns and heavy debt. Nonetheles, work on the canal was completed by December 1830.

By 1836, the canal was bankrupt, and sold at a sherrif’s sale. Investor iterest in canals had been replaced by the promise of railroads. The new owners set out to improve it, replacing wooden locks with more substantial brick locks, and the canal began to turn a profit, albeit not the margin expected. Portions of all the locks survive, some nearly in their entirety. Five of the locks also featured a keeper’s house.

In the days leading up to the capture of Savannah in 1864, Union and Confederate troops were encamped near the canal and were involved in several skirmishes. Damage was done to the canal but by 1866, it was operational once again. In 1876, Captain Charles Sheftall lead weekly excursions along the canal that included music, dancing, dining, and other reccreational activities. Heavy rains in June 1876 did serious damage to the canal. A yellow fever epidemic that followed claimed over a thousand lives and officials blamed the canal’s stagnant waters, overflowing banks, and inadequate drainage.

After years of losing business to the railroads, the canal was purchased by the Central of Georgia in 1888 and officially ceased operation.

The walking trail begins at Lock No. 5 (Young’s Lock).

Much of the 1.6-mile trail follows the historic towpath.

A heavy stone bearing associated hardware bears the date of 1830, the year the canal was officially opened.

Lock No. 6 is located at the point where the canal meets the Ogeechee River.

Details of the architecture are visible from the south side.

The bricks were made on site.

This important resource is an amazing survivor and its accessibility as a public recreation area is the result of the work of the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Society, who oversee the property and offer interpretive background.

The boardwalk follows the shoreline of the Ogeechee and offers great views of this historic river.

 

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY