The time was right for some significant economic shifts in England. Unchecked urbanization had led to the debtors’ prison, a system of incarceration that penalized those unfortunate people who were unable to pay back debtors. James Oglethorpe, a nobleman who had significant military experience, sought to address the overcrowding of debtors’ prisons, in part by bringing them to the new world. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe was able to found the colony of Georgia with financial investments of other philanthropists in England.
The plan to export prisoners never really worked, but Savannah, the site of Oglethorpe’s colony, was a success. One of Oglethorpe’s ideas was to create “wards” of homes built around central common areas, which you can still experience today by driving through downtown. The squares of Savannah are unusual and scenic, and make for an interesting traffic pattern. Referred to as the “Oglethorpe Plan,” the squares are a unique connection to the history of both Georgia and the United States, because the Oglethorpe Plan was built on concepts of equality, democracy, and local self-sufficiency.
So, while you may not quite have expected a short history lesson, I think it is fair to say that Savannah is a unique environment. Restaurants of all kinds? Universities? Historic homes and museums? Strong tourism industry? Businesses and economic growth? A global port? Artistic community? Savannah has them all.
While working in the US, I was reminded of exactly why I enjoyed Savannah, and while the weather did not often cooperate with my time to take photos, I was able to get a few pictures near where I worked at the clients’ office downtown.