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Old 12-12-2012, 07:59 AM
 
7,099 posts, read 27,175,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloody hammer View Post
I guess most of downtown wasn't all that different looking in the late 70's but Broughton Street sure was, let me tell you. It was shabby and dying... nothing like what it is today (as I understand it).
Yep, it sure was. While I have slipped up and hinted at how old I really am, I'll do a bit more.

Back during WWII, what is now The Historic District, had gone downward to a point that it was close to being a slum. Many of those grand old mansions that you see today, had been turned into multi-apartments....yeah, tenements.

Then in the middle '40s or later, Lady Astor came to Savannah and made her famous remark about Savannah was a beautiful woman with a dirty face. People got upset and things started to happen.

About the middle of the 50s, the Owen-Thomas house was about to see the wrecking crew when a group got together and started things really going. The house was saved, and the group got active with the City helping. That's when that part of Savannah changed into the Historic District. It's a shame that it didn't happen 40 years sooner.

So you see, as History goes, our Historic District is not that old. It's still a work in progress.

One thing that we mustn't forget is the political party at that time was a crooked, old boy, and the hellwith you group. Some of that attitude is still around. Let's hope it vanishes completly.

Newton's Corner, and Sandfly are alive and well. There's a great BBQ place there now. Isle of Hope is built up to such an extent that I doubt that there is a vacant lot to build on. It still looks good
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,709 posts, read 21,909,282 times
Reputation: 10217
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloody hammer View Post
I had but all forgotten about Byrd Cookies. There's a little neighborhood called "Sandfly" not too far from Memorial Stadium where i seem to remember there being a Byrd Cookie place... at least there was a big sign. The only reason we ever went to Sandfly was because there was a drive-thru package store that usually would not card us for beer. I actually remember the name of the place... Newton's.

Ah, Mrs Wilkes... i was glad for her when the place got so popular but the long lines made me not want to go... except to get a to go box out the back door.

I left Savannah the first time around '86 or '87. Came back around '94 and then left again in '97. I haven't been back since then for no other reason than life has been busy. I no longer have any family there and my friends have either moved or dropped off the radar completely. Just the other day I was saying to someone... if I were to visit Savannah now I would probably feel like a tourist.
YOU'VE NOT BEEN BACK IN 15 YEAR?! Well, I can tell you with every degree of confidence that you wouldn't "probably" feel like a tourist, you'd BE a tourist! Have you any idea how enormously Savannah has changed in the past two decades? Not just downtown (which has HUNDREDS of luxury hotel rooms, fancy eating places and upscale shops) but Hutchinson Island ACROSS the river, which was an ugly sandbar in 1997? There's a convention center and Westin Hotels resort hotel over there now. SCAD has about 10,000 students, most all of them downtown. Practically every building that CAN be restored HAS been restored for some use by SCAD.

The airport has direct flights to NY LaGuardia, Dallas, Houston, Washington Reagin, Chicago and Philadelphia. It's out in Pooler you know .... POOLER! Remember that place? It's a bustling suburban city of 20,000 people now and one of the most desirable places to live in all of Chatham County. They're getting ready to build a mall ... IN POOLER! And why not? Pooler already has an IMAX!

Tybee Island is like Key West. Trying to get to the beach on busy weekends in summer is near impossible. Just this week, the county and state FINALLY revealed plans to replace the bridges and widen the road to Tybee. The other east side islands have become completely suburbanized. Land is at a premium and waterfront property near impossible to come by without forking over millions. It's popular now to buy an old ranch house, tear it down and build a McMansion just to get the water views.

OH ... and that "little neighborhood" called Sandfly is now a bustling part of town with a Super Walmart and Sam's Club, right there at the Montgomery Crossroad exit off Truman Parkway -- that expressway that now links downtown to the far Southside. The last phase of the Truman (over the Vernon River) opens next year. Then they're talking about ELEVATING the entire south end of Abercorn and turning it into a toll freeway to fix the massive traffic jams on that end of town. Folks around here are calling it the SOUTHSIDE SKYWAY!

FIFTEEN YEARS?! You better hurry back ... FAST!
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:52 PM
 
779 posts, read 972,604 times
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Some more local classics..Foy Laniers, Pooler Cooler, Mac's Bait Ranch, Country Palace, Nicks, Joe Hatchers.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,709 posts, read 21,909,282 times
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Couple more things that may blow your mind:

-- Savannah-Chatham Public Schools have made remarkable improvements since you were a kid and are now considered a viable education option by most families. Savannah Arts Academy (housed in historic old Savannah High building in Ardsley Park) was named BEST high school in the state last year; two brand new high schools have opened in recent years, one on the islands and one in West Chatham.
-- For anyone who's been away for awhile, I believe the redevelopment / restoration of Ellis Square adjacent to City Market is probably the mot stunning thing. They tore down the old 1950s parking deck that once stood on the square where the original City Market building had been located, replacing it with a massive 4-level UNDERGROUND parking garage. The whole area around there has been redeveloped, and a new office tower just opened facing the square at St. Julian and Bryan Streets. Remember the old newspaper complex? That entire block is now luxury condos, an upscale hotel, shops and restaurants. The old News-Press street address --- 111 West Bay Street -- is home to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Sunny South Florida
8,067 posts, read 4,741,997 times
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I recall that one of Oglethorpe Mall's first expansions was the addition of Levy's Department Store, which later was bought out by Jordan Marsh. When JM departed the scene, the mall demo'd that spot and added an entire wing (the wing that has Macy's at the end of it).

My mom's first job was at Kress Department Store on Broughton. She doesn't say much about it, other than she never wanted to work (or even shop) downtown again.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:25 PM
 
29 posts, read 67,289 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
Yep, it sure was. While I have slipped up and hinted at how old I really am, I'll do a bit more.

Back during WWII, what is now The Historic District, had gone downward to a point that it was close to being a slum. Many of those grand old mansions that you see today, had been turned into multi-apartments....yeah, tenements.

Then in the middle '40s or later, Lady Astor came to Savannah and made her famous remark about Savannah was a beautiful woman with a dirty face. People got upset and things started to happen.

About the middle of the 50s, the Owen-Thomas house was about to see the wrecking crew when a group got together and started things really going. The house was saved, and the group got active with the City helping. That's when that part of Savannah changed into the Historic District. It's a shame that it didn't happen 40 years sooner.

So you see, as History goes, our Historic District is not that old. It's still a work in progress.

One thing that we mustn't forget is the political party at that time was a crooked, old boy, and the hellwith you group. Some of that attitude is still around. Let's hope it vanishes completly.

Newton's Corner, and Sandfly are alive and well. There's a great BBQ place there now. Isle of Hope is built up to such an extent that I doubt that there is a vacant lot to build on. It still looks good
These are great stories. I honestly had no idea that Savannah was that way in the 40's. I know what it was like in the 70's and always assumed that was a recent downward trend. I guess I tend to have a bit of a "Leave It To Beaver" image when it comes to life before the 60's. As silly as that sounds.

I remember when I was in high school (late 70's) downtown was a lot different... even a little dangerous.
as i recall, it was bad but got better as more and more SCAD kids started showing up. makes sense that the city would start cracking down harder to protect the kids of the families paying those big tuitions. after that, things seemed a lot better downtown and folks could walk around and not worry too much... assuming you weren't walking into Yamacraw or Hitch Village.

but in general, i do remember things being better downtown. and then along came Ricky Jevins and his little gang. I was gone from Savannah for most of that but I sure did hear about it. when i moved back in '93/'94 i think they'd already put Ricky in prison. that seemed to slow down a lot of the crime (in particular murders). I had a place on Abercorn and Waldburg and walked all over downtown at all hours of the night with no serious problems.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:32 PM
 
29 posts, read 67,289 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
YOU'VE NOT BEEN BACK IN 15 YEAR?! Well, I can tell you with every degree of confidence that you wouldn't "probably" feel like a tourist, you'd BE a tourist! Have you any idea how enormously Savannah has changed in the past two decades? Not just downtown (which has HUNDREDS of luxury hotel rooms, fancy eating places and upscale shops) but Hutchinson Island ACROSS the river, which was an ugly sandbar in 1997? There's a convention center and Westin Hotels resort hotel over there now. SCAD has about 10,000 students, most all of them downtown. Practically every building that CAN be restored HAS been restored for some use by SCAD.

The airport has direct flights to NY LaGuardia, Dallas, Houston, Washington Reagin, Chicago and Philadelphia. It's out in Pooler you know .... POOLER! Remember that place? It's a bustling suburban city of 20,000 people now and one of the most desirable places to live in all of Chatham County. They're getting ready to build a mall ... IN POOLER! And why not? Pooler already has an IMAX!

Tybee Island is like Key West. Trying to get to the beach on busy weekends in summer is near impossible. Just this week, the county and state FINALLY revealed plans to replace the bridges and widen the road to Tybee. The other east side islands have become completely suburbanized. Land is at a premium and waterfront property near impossible to come by without forking over millions. It's popular now to buy an old ranch house, tear it down and build a McMansion just to get the water views.

OH ... and that "little neighborhood" called Sandfly is now a bustling part of town with a Super Walmart and Sam's Club, right there at the Montgomery Crossroad exit off Truman Parkway -- that expressway that now links downtown to the far Southside. The last phase of the Truman (over the Vernon River) opens next year. Then they're talking about ELEVATING the entire south end of Abercorn and turning it into a toll freeway to fix the massive traffic jams on that end of town. Folks around here are calling it the SOUTHSIDE SKYWAY!

FIFTEEN YEARS?! You better hurry back ... FAST!

Ugh... honestly, I'm not all that happy to hear some of this stuff.

i have nothing against a city growing, more/better jobs, and people having the money to live the life they want to live. i get it. still, for so long Savannah seemed to be a bit frozen-in-time and i kind of liked that. I guess i'm just a bit of a romantic over **** like that.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:36 PM
 
29 posts, read 67,289 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
Couple more things that may blow your mind:

-- Savannah-Chatham Public Schools have made remarkable improvements since you were a kid and are now considered a viable education option by most families. Savannah Arts Academy (housed in historic old Savannah High building in Ardsley Park) was named BEST high school in the state last year; two brand new high schools have opened in recent years, one on the islands and one in West Chatham.
-- For anyone who's been away for awhile, I believe the redevelopment / restoration of Ellis Square adjacent to City Market is probably the mot stunning thing. They tore down the old 1950s parking deck that once stood on the square where the original City Market building had been located, replacing it with a massive 4-level UNDERGROUND parking garage. The whole area around there has been redeveloped, and a new office tower just opened facing the square at St. Julian and Bryan Streets. Remember the old newspaper complex? That entire block is now luxury condos, an upscale hotel, shops and restaurants. The old News-Press street address --- 111 West Bay Street -- is home to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.


WOW, what can I say? That all looks really beautiful. Well planned and executed.

Still, it is very difficult for me to take those photos and overlay them onto the Savannah I know in my mind.

Even more surprising.... good public schools in Savannah??? those are words I never expected to hear.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,709 posts, read 21,909,282 times
Reputation: 10217
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloody hammer View Post
Ugh... honestly, I'm not all that happy to hear some of this stuff.

i have nothing against a city growing, more/better jobs, and people having the money to live the life they want to live. i get it. still, for so long Savannah seemed to be a bit frozen-in-time and i kind of liked that. I guess i'm just a bit of a romantic over **** like that.
Well, I certainly didn't mean to "upset" you LOL ... but I also think you should be properly prepared before you come back to visit. No disrespect, but I've known many "old" Savannahians like yourself through the years who still hold on to a romanticized memory of the place when it had many problems and was not yet the tourist Mecca it is today. I can honestly say, Savannah is the first place I ever heard educated, successful white people use the "n" word with complete abandon. I remember attending a cocktail party where white people in suits and ties stood around blaming the "n's" for everything wrong with the school system! That simply DOES NOT HAPPEN in Metro Atlanta ... certainly not in the open! The culture of entrenched racism here still exists in some circles, but it's getting better. Main thing is, it's mostly been outsiders (with outside money) who've made Savannah what it is today and there remains a LOT of resentment about that among the natives. I'm not suggesting that's your position, but the opinion that growth has somehow ruined Savannah isn't a unique one. Lots of locals still say that and IMO it continues to hold the city back.

As I'm often compelled to say, if some Savannah natives had their way the city would still be a rotting ghetto rather than the national treasure and top tourist destination it is today.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:29 PM
 
29 posts, read 67,289 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
Well, I certainly didn't mean to "upset" you LOL ... but I also think you should be properly prepared before you come back to visit. No disrespect, but I've known many "old" Savannahians like yourself through the years who still hold on to a romanticized memory of the place when it had many problems and was not yet the tourist Mecca it is today. I can honestly say, Savannah is the first place I ever heard educated, successful white people use the "n" word with complete abandon. I remember attending a cocktail party where white people in suits and ties stood around blaming the "n's" for everything wrong with the school system! That simply DOES NOT HAPPEN in Metro Atlanta ... certainly not in the open! The culture of entrenched racism here still exists in some circles, but it's getting better. Main thing is, it's mostly been outsiders (with outside money) who've made Savannah what it is today and there remains a LOT of resentment about that among the natives. I'm not suggesting that's your position, but the opinion that growth has somehow ruined Savannah isn't a unique one. Lots of locals still say that and IMO it continues to hold the city back.

As I'm often compelled to say, if some Savannah natives had their way the city would still be a rotting ghetto rather than the national treasure and top tourist destination it is today.


oh, i do see it for what it is... my own mid-life romanticism of youth. no mystery there.

i actually just got off the phone with my mom (working out Christmas details) and I mentioned the photos you posted. she was floored when i told her the city had actually let one of the squares not only be renovated but completely redesigned. you have to understand, for the longest time to even suggest such a thing would bring the instant wrath of the historical society. it's hard to imagine it any other way.

but, yeah... i think we're on the same page as far as the changes being more positive than not. still, i have that whole hometown/youth thing to contend with.
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