Bicycling through History

BICYCLING THROUGH HISTORY

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Pirates !!

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Sunken Treasure !!

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Edition 1

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Edition 4

Edition 5

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Edition 7

Edition 8

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Savannah

Often referred to as the Hostess City of the South, Savannah was the first colony in Georgia. It is still the largest port in the state. It was founded in 1733 as British General James Oglethorpe landed near a prominent bluff along the Savannah River. This site later became the thirteenth British colony. With the help of the Native American chief, Tomochichi, General Oglethorpe created a modern city in the dense vegetation of a tidal wilderness. The General had devised unique plan for the city, which would feature an ingenious system of squares. These were to be miniature parks that could serve as an organizing system for the homes and businesses. Houses, churches and store fronts would surround each square. Savannah still has 23 distinct squares across the historic district, each of which has its own charm, style and personality. Shortly after arriving, Oglethorpe established an experimental garden called Trustees' Garden, modeled after the Chelsea Botanical Garden in London. The 10-acre garden can be identified by the boundaries of the Savannah River to the north, Broughton Street to the south, Old Fort Wayne to the east and E. Broad Street to the west. Botanists were sent from England to grow mulberry trees for silk, grapes for wine and other crops. Most of the plants that were brought from England did not take to the local soils and climate. Initially, the experiment was deemed a failure, but from this garden were derived the original peach trees and cotton which have become major crops for southern states.

Georgia was also the southernmost British outpost at that period time. Any further south meant getting into Spanish territory. The cobblestones that remain today along River Street could possibly have been the ballast stones in some of those early sailing ships that found their way from England with colonists onboard.

One of the real distinctions for this colonial settlement was the first golf course in America built in1794. Georgia retains the preeminent position with the Masters, which takes place in Augusta, but the real origin for this tradition came from Savannah.

Cotton was king in Savannah in the early nineteenth century, contributing to the city's opulence and wealth. Magnificent homes were constructed throughout downtown Savannah as Georgia's most genteel city enjoyed the finest luxuries from around the world. River Street bustled with ships loading up cotton for export. In 1818, however, the bottom dropped out of the cotton market and Savannah fell under strict quarantine during a yellow fever epidemic. Ships were temporarily re-routed to avoid the epidemic, but in many cases they never returned to Savannah's docks. Visitors can still dine in style at restaurants that were once "King Cotton"warehouses in the 1800's.

Savannah's port has always been a significant part of the city's economy. Timber was an important resource from Georgia for ship builders and furniture makers in England during the early days. Savannah once served as a prime shipping avenue for agricultural and other goods bound for Europe. Even today, Savannah has one of the largest foreign commerce ports on the South Atlantic Coast.

In 1864, General William T. Sherman captured Savannah and presented the city as a Christmas gift to President Lincoln. During the Civil War, Savannah was spared the fate of so many other Southern cities that were burned to the ground during the legendary March to the Sea. In Savannah, Sherman took up residence at the Green-Meldrim House on Madison Square and conducted business operations in the building on Bay Street that now houses The Times on Bay Restaurant.

With her shimmering marshes, scenic beaches and historic plantations, Savannah has served as anideal movie location for dozens of productions. Major movies filmed in Savannah include "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (1997), "Forrest Gump" (1993) and "Glory" (1989). Savannah has graced the silver screen for decades, attracting independent and A-list filmmakers alike. A number of television shows, including "All My Children" and "Roots" have also used Savannah as a location. Savannah residents enjoy the opportunity to appear as extras in, or to work on the set of, the movies that come to Savannah. The film industry has contributed millions of dollars to the local economy each year and has become a welcome part of Savannah's cultural, economic and social fabric.

Savannah has one of the largest urban Historic districts in the United States and is one of the top ten walking cities in the country. It is "One Of America's Top Ten U. S. Cities to Visit" according to Conde Nast Traveller. This city is great for cycling, too.

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American History from the perspective of a Casual Cyclist.


Bicycling Through History
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