A scattering of historic vernacular homes such as this one in the South End community still survive on the island, but they can all be considered endangered in that present development trends show little interest in historic styles.
Now home to Lord of Life Lutheran Church, this Spanish Mission Revival chapel was originally home to St. William Catholic Church. Franciscan friars first established a mission presence near this very site in the late 1500s to minister to the native Guale peoples but these early missionaries were martyred and the mission destroyed in 1597. The location was selected by Father Peter McOscar, SM, pastor of St. Francis Xavier of Brunswick, architect Cormac McGarvey, and Mrs. Edith Smith Young. It was originally served by Marist priests from St. Francis Parrish.
Several celebrities had a connection to the church during its history. In the mid-1930s, actress Irene Dunn was a member of a Confirmation Class here; the great tenor Giovanni Martinelli once sang here; Joe DiMaggio was a volunteer altar server in 1950.
Thanks to Jimmy Goodis for identifying it as the original St. William’s.
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.
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
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
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.
It’s possible that it was made using components of an older rescued structure.
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.