Tag Archives: Coastal Georgia in the Antebellum Era

Factors Row & Factors Walk, Savannah

In the years following the Civil War, much of Savannah’s riverfront was filled with four- and five-story cotton warehouses. The lower riverfront level was where the cotton was stored and the top floors (facing Bay Street) served as offices for the cotton factors (brokers), who set prices and traded their most valuable product around the world. The offices are known as Factors Row, while the iron bridges which connected them to the city are known collectively as Factors Walk. They date variously from the late antebellum to late Reconstruction era. Today, the buildings are home to shops and restaurants, but the city and business owners have worked hard to retain the historic integrity of the structures.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

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Isle of Hope United Methodist Church, Circa 1859

The marker placed by the Georgia Historical Society in 1962 notes, in part:  The Isle of Hope Methodist Church was organized in 1851. The first Trustees were George W. Wylly, Simeon F. Murphy, John B. Hogg, William Waite, Theodore Goodwin, Thomas J. Barnsley and the Rev. William S. Baker. The church building that stands here was erected in 1859 on land given by Dr. Stephen Dupon. Its architecture is similar to that of the early churches at Midway and Ebenezer. The gallery at the rear of the church was built primarily for accommodations of slaves…During the War Between the States a Confederate battery stood on the church lot, mounting two 8-inch columbiads and two 32-pounder cannon. The church was used as a hospital for Confederates stationed in the area, the pews (still in existence) serving as beds. Thirty-three Effingham County soldiers sleep in the adjoining churchyard.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Raised Cottage, Circa 1820, Isle of Hope

Tracking the history of this one is proving to be a challenge. It has traditionally been known as the Noble Glen House, presumably for the first owner, but that name has fallen out of use in recent references, likely due to the fact that Noble Glen died in 1816, before it was built. There is a gap in the history between its construction and its use by the Confederate Army as part of Camp Claghorn during the Civil War. John H. Estill purchased it in 1888 and built a larger house overlooking the Skidaway River, retaining the Noble Glen House as a caretaker/gatekeeper cottage. Judge George W. Tiedman bought the estate in 1909 and renamed it Carsten Hall. The 1888 house burned in 1933 but the caretaker’s cottage survived. I will update as information becomes available.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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The Shadows, Circa 1854, Isle of Hope

Also known as the Wylly-Bee-LeBey House, this raised Plantation Plain is an interesting variant of the popular style of 19th-century Georgia. Local tradition says that construction of the house was started by Wylly and completed by Barnard E. Bee. A later owner, Miss Ella LeBey recounted this story: Mr. Fred Wylly told my mother this…story. When the overseer and slaves were digging deep for the main chimney, an iron box with a ring in the top was discovered by the slaves and also human bones. The slaves thought it was a casket, quickly covering it over and the chimney was built. The Negroes were afraid of the haunting of the dead for disturbing the grave. Nothing was said until the chimney was almost complete and the overseer said the chimney was more valuable than any old pirate’s loot. After that, whenever the house was vacant people dug to find the treasure. Mrs. Chaplin [later owner] said she filled the hole with cement. Later we found reasons to believe she engineered the removal of the treasures because of the old watches and bracelets satin and velvet she showed my mother.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Roland-Ellis-Cope House, 1850s, Isle of Hope

Though tax records indicate a construction date of 1864, that is likely the date of completion. It is thought to have been begun in the late 1850s and delayed by the Civil War.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Sarah Glen Bayard House, Circa 1855, Isle of Hope

The architecture suggests that this house was built in a simpler style, with the veranda porches and other ornamental amendments made later. One source dates it as early as 1847. Local tradition (not confirmed by me) indicates it briefly served as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. It was also used as a set location in the 1974 movie The Last of the Belles.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Tybee Lighthouse, 1773, 1867 &c.

Georgia’s oldest and tallest [145 feet] lighthouse is the symbol of Tybee Island and one of the most fascinating places to visit on the coast. Climbing the 178 steps to the top is an effort but one which pays off with wonderful views of the island and the Atlantic Ocean.

There are landings every 25 steps in case you need to rest or if you just want to see the island from different perspectives.

Because its complex of supporting structures remain intact, the property around the Tybee Lighthouse is officially referred to as the Tybee Island Light Station.

The lower sixty feet of the iconic structure date to John Mulryne’s construction of 1773, which was a replacement for two previous lighthouses (the first of which was built for James Oglethorpe in 1736). So strategic and important to the future growth of Georgia was the placement of a lighthouse at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River that General Oglethorpe threatened to hang the incompetent builder of the first beacon. Numerous modifications and additions have been made over the ensuing two centuries. Notably, Confederates burned the lighthouse in 1861 to prevent its use by Union troops; in 1867, 85 feet were added to the 1773 base to bring the lighthouse to its present height.

The Stick Style Head Keeper’s Cottage was built in 1881.

The house was built with an attached kitchen, known as a “summer kitchen”. Its location at the rear of the dwelling helped keep heat out of the house during the summer.

The master bedroom is located downstairs.

Guest and children’s bedrooms are located upstairs.

The 2nd Assistant Keeper’s Cottage (below) was built circa 1861 from remains of the old Confederate barracks. The 2nd Assistant Keeper first occupied the cottagee in 1867.

The oldest structure on the property is the original summer kitchen, dating to 1812. It was used until 1910 and now houses archaeological treasures found on site over the years.

The fuel storage shed was built in 1890.

Fort Screven Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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