Archive for the 'Savannah' Category

16
Sep
10

Fort Pulaski

So for my next Savannah adventure, I decided to check out Fort Pulaski. Named after Casimir Pulaski (from Poland), who came to America to help fight in the American Revolution. Construction ran from 1829 to 1847 and took 25 million bricks and 1 million dollars. The fort was positioned along the south channel of the Savannah river and was far enough inland to avoid any cannon fire from enemies. Or so they thought! See, before the Civil War, the best cannon balls were only accurate for about half a mile and could only shoot about a mile total. Then, when the Civil War came around, someone came up with a sleeve that went inside the cannon that would twist and a different style cannon ball that was conical. The sleeve with the new ball made the cannon balls go farther and have more accuracy. This new technology eventually accounted for the Union taking back the fort.

But wait… the fort was built before there was even a Confederacy so shouldn’t the fort have already been held by the Union? Not so much. After the fort was finished, it was decided that it should only be staffed by one guy (and probably also his wife) so when the South started to leave the Union, they just marched right up to the fort with their guns and took it. Even then, the fort didn’t hold as many guns/cannons that were possible and the peak capacity was around 1000. That seemed normal for me, but when the guide said this, everyone was in shock so I guess it was pretty low.

The men stationed in the fort began to hear noises during the night but when they looked out where the noises were coming from during the day, they didn’t see anything. So a MONTH (fools!) later, they realized the noises they were hearing were Union troops unloading cannons and guns and rolling them across the beach. They were all set up with the guns aimed directly at the fort. The Confederate troops weren’t worried though because the walls were supposed to be impenetrable. But remember those special cannon balls I told you about before? Yeah, the walls weren’t impenetrable for long. The battle only lasted 36 hours before Olmstead said, “K! Take my sword! we’re done!” in an act of surrender. Since he did it honorably though, he got his sword back a few days later. The battle probably would have lasted longer but one of the enemy shots went through the fort and into the gun powder room.

So the Union repaired the damage to the inside of the fort and kept it as their own. The fort was made into a national park shortly after WWI and I think was put back into military use during WWII then opened again to the public after.

Looking east

Fun fact! The officers had FLUSH toilets! However they flushed into the moat and then the moat had to be flushed, but still! Livin’ large. Now, alligators live in it.

Cut away view of the floor

The brownish bricks came from a plantation near Savannah. The red bricks were brought in from outside states because they were stronger. The fort today has 95% of its original brick and around 50% of its original floor boards. The fort was said to be “floating on mud” but was built well enough that the bricks didn’t separate over the years. Fascinating.

Those boards were set up all around the fort and piled with dirt to prevent cannon balls from doing a lot of damage. There were also trenches dug in the center area to catch rolling balls. As you walked through the center, you could feel where the ground was uneven.

The side of the fort that was bombarded by enemy fire. See the L shape in the first picture? The guide said a square outline was made and then the center was repeatedly hit which is what allowed the wall to crumble. The red brick is the repaired part that the Union fixed after the surrender.

gun powder

After the wall was busted in, it made it easy for cannon balls to go straight through to the other side and hit this room full of gun powder. The surrender was shortly after.

During the battle, only 1 soldier per side died. However, the fort was also a POW camp for sometime and some people died during that time too (from diseases and malnutrition and the like). There was a few grave sites set up outside of the fort to remember those lost.

It’s probably a good thing that fort wasn’t used for that long because this insane water-gathering system was in place. At the top of the fort there was a layer of earth and grass, then a layer of oyster shells, then a layer of lead sheets that was connected to lead pipes. When it rained, it would filter through each level and that’s where their water came from. Hello, lead poisoning!

Entrance to the park was only $3 and my receipt is good for the next 6 days in case I didn’t get enough fort the first time. Savannah is making me like history again.

<3

01
Sep
10

The most magical place on earth

And no, I’m not talking about Disney World.

Last month my mom sent me on an adventure to find the best cupcake in Savannah. Her and my brothers were coming to visit and she did not want to waste her time on a crappy cupcake. I googled cupcake places and only came up with about 4 locations. Among the possibilities was a bakery called Two Smart Cookies. I assumed they specialized in cookies but I thought maybe they would have cupcakes too. Little did I know the trip to this bakery would change my life forever.


They didn’t have any cupcakes, as should have been expected, but they had a whole display case of cookies. Sugar cookies with almond icing, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, monster cookies, ginger cookies, some other oatmeal cookies with craisins and white chocolate chips, brownies, “smart” cookies,  lemon squares, and probably some other delicious baked goods. I knew the cookies had to be fresh because you could see employees baking and decorating them behind the counter. Plus, they were selling packages of day old cookies for $3.50. Since I was already there, I decided to get a chocolate chip cookie.

Since I still had some cupcake hunting to do, I took one bite out of the cookie when I got in my car. I put the cookie back in the wrapper it came in, turned on my car and headed out of the parking lot. Before I hit the main road, the cookie was gone. That’s how good it was. In fact, it was THE BEST chocolate chip cookie I have EVER had in my LIFE. If you knew me, you know that is very high praise because if anyone is picky about baked goods, it’s me. But seriously, this cookie was the perfect amount of soft with just a little give on the top. The perfect chocolate chip to cookie ratio. The perfect after taste. The perfect during taste. This cookie was just perfect. At that point, I didn’t even want to look for cupcakes anymore. I just wanted to sit in there and eat cookies all day. I knew I had to take my family when they came to visit.

When they came, we went again. Mom enjoyed the jewelry on display, something that I didn’t even really notice on my first visit. We purchased a peanut butter cookie, an oatmeal raisin cookie, two cut-out sugar cookies, and the delicious chocolate chip cookie. The oatmeal cookie was for my boyfriend because he would be a better judge of how good it was because I can count the number of oatmeal cookies I have eaten on one hand. Tanner’s favorite is peanut butter and Casey picked a sugar cookie. They were all gone when we got in the car. Mom was jealous of my chocolate chip cookie. My mom even sneaked a brownie sample when no one was looking and claimed it was better than her brownies. Second visit was a success.

My mom is forcing me to bring home Two Smart Cookies cookies the next time I come home. She’s asked me if I’ve gone back at least 5 times since she left Savannah. I’ve thought about going back every day. Mostly because I wanted to get a brownie. If my mom thinks the tiny sample was better than her (AMAZING) brownies, then it’s definitely worth a trip across town to get a full brownie. And that’s what I did today.

Another good thing about this place is the prices. You’re not paying 2 dollars a cookie so it’s really easy to buy more cookies. On my third visit I bought a brownie, a monster cookie, and two chocolate chip cookies.

My mom wanted me to call her when I tasted the brownie to get my reaction. When I hadn’t called her she sent me a text, “well???”. I hadn’t even made it back to my apartment yet and I was going to make some lunch first but I didn’t want to keep her waiting so I tried the brownie. At first I didn’t think it was anything special… and then the flavors fell over my taste buds. It wasn’t a fudgey brownie, but the cakey part was moist enough to feel like a fudgey brownie. The nuts were the appropriate size and did not ruin the chewing experience. Naturally, I had to take one more bite to put the taste on lock. Did someone say something about lunch?

Lunch consisted of half of the monster cookie and a full chocolate chip cookie. I had to save something for my boyfriend, even though he doesn’t freak out about baked goods like I do. When he got off of work, I showed him his present and watched as he nonchalantly ate the rest of the monster cookie without rolling his eyes back in his head of letting his shoulder relax in a sigh of heavenly relief or anything! When I told him it’s the most magical place on earth he disagreed and said the Coca-Cola Factory is so I guess I can’t be too offended. I did tell him the rest of the goodies were for him but if they weren’t eaten by tomorrow, I would have to eat them. They’re sitting on the coffee table now while he plays video games and drinks his second tall glass of coke in less than an hour. They’re calling out to me…

31
Aug
10

Bonaventure

I’ve been reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I saw the movie a long time ago at a sleep-over party and once I moved to Savannah, I watched it again. I came across the book at Goodwill and I decided to buy it. The book is always on display at gift shops so I figured I better read it before I have to say no to multiple Savannahians that ask if I’ve read it.

Anyway, there is a cemetery in downtown Savannah that is the subject of ghost tours and historical tours. Fact! Union soldiers got bored while they stayed in Savannah and vandalized some of the headstones, broke into family vaults for warmth, and used headstones as target practice. The guide told me there are over 10,000 people buried in the cemetery. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at it. It’s probably only two or three blocks in size. The headstones are definitely weathered. They say the oldest person buried there is 1700 years old (from the Union soldiers vandalism) but I did not have the patience to try to read every marker to find him. I feel I should also mention there are some markers that were moved and when people came along later to try to put them back where they belonged could not find where they went so they just stacked them all up along the back wall. And when I say “some” I mean around 50.

Until this past weekend, boyfriend and I thought the downtown cemetery was the same cemetery in Midnight in the Garden. Afterall, the rest of the movie/book is set in downtown Savannah so why not? We were wrong. We really wanted to look for Bonaventure Cemetery which is about 10 miles out of downtown in the little township of Thunderbolt! I wanted to go on an adventure to visit this famous cemetery so that’s what I did. I was really adventurous too because I didn’t even use my Garmin! However, Thunderbolt isn’t that big and chances are any road I picked would lead me to the cemetery.

I really should have done my research before hand. This cemetery is HUGE! I figured I could just walk around and find the famous bird girl statue, take a picture, and leave.

1 inch = 60 feet

I walked around for about an hour and couldn’t find the statue. I thought I was getting close when I saw two people looking through an iron fence at some statue but as I got closer, I realized they were actually paying their respects. Woops. The statue they were looking at was really pretty though. In fact, the entire cemetery is really beautiful!

At the back of the cemetery you can see a creek that runs in between the islands/marshes (third picture). I think you can even see part of the cemetery in the distance when you drive down Victory going into town. It was a pretty windy day today so the leaves on the oaks would sway back and forth too. It was very serene. Most of the plots had “perpetual care” carved in somewhere but there were other plots with a “do not service” sign. This was neat because what would make someone choose one over the other? A money thing? A status thing?

Still, even the “do not service” plots were in good shape. The whole cemetery was in very good condition. You could read the majority of the inscriptions on the headstones. Probably because they were more recent, but none of the plant life had overtaken any of the plots. In the Colonial Park Cemetery (the downtown one), the markers were from the 1800s. Most of the markers at Colonial Park are covered in moss or other elements and the inscriptions were fading.  The markers at Bonaventure seemed to be from the mid 1900s and I even found a couple marked within the last 10 years. Another difference was there were not a lot of family vaults at Bonaventure, but there were a lot of family plots. The vaults that I did find were older.

The vaults though were fancier than the ones at Colonial Park. I don’t know if that’s a period difference or just because the people buried in Bonaventure had more $$$.

As I made my way around the back side of the cemetery, I found a building. The building was a Synagogue or a Temple or something for the Jewish faith. And it is located in the area with a lot of Jewish headstones. It is separated from the rest of the cemetery by an asphalt road. It’s possible that it was a completely different cemetery all together. I found it interesting though. The headstones were also placed closer together.

The red brick building in the left corner is the Jewish place of worship. This was only part of it. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette is for taking pictures in a cemetery and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. Or haunted.

There was also a mini-Arlington.

About half the allotted space was filled up. I didn’t see anyone from Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. I liked it though because all the markers were the same just like in Arlington. Bonaventure is a lot more shady though.

So where it the bird girl statue? I had walked around long enough so I decided to go back home and look it up. Another time when an Iphone would have been helpful. I’m glad I didn’t walk around any more too because Wikipedia told me that after the book was published, the family had the statue donated to the Telfair museum so the plot wouldn’t be disturbed. I did find out where the statue used to be though so next time I go, I’ll look for the Trosdal family plot. I actually think I saw that family’s plot so I’ll know where to go next time.




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