Sunday, June 26, 2011
Savannah, Pt. 6
As you saw in the Factors' Walk, in the public squares, and in the courtyards, as here, there seems to be as much wrought iron in Savannah as in New Orleans. There is one home that even had a miniaturized reproduction built around the home of the fences, posts, and gates of Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. History, art, and architecture all combine in a sensory storm that sweeps the entire city and can't help but amaze even those who never imagined themselves students of architecture. There are sweeping staircases that approach the home's raised front porch so women could ascend one side while the men climbed the opposite side. Why? At that time it was considered unseemly for a gentleman to see a lady's ankles as he followed her up the steps. There was the elevated balcony from which Lafayette addressed the people of the city with a lengthy speech. He spoke English, but like any Frenchman, he elected to address them in French. Not understanding a word, they didn't know whether to applaud or protest when he finished, so they merely nodded and walked away. Many people still don't know that at one time you could order anything from a Sears catalog, including entire houses, which would arrive with every stick of lumber, nail, screw, and directions. One beautiful two-story home in the historical section of the city had all the windows installed upside-down. The sills are at the top, and the ornately sculptured trim pieces at the bottom. Personal flair, or an inability to follow directions?
When we delivered boats up and down the coast and back and forth across the ocean, our travels took us by Savannah and Charleston more times than I could count. This was the first time we had a chance to see the city. I'd recommend it highly. From a practical point, I'd recommend spring, maybe even early spring. The narrow streets and close city plat design leave little room for air movement except on the riverfront and city squares. If it's hot, it gets really hot. In any event, you don't want to miss it.