Tag Archive | Girl Scouts

The Grand Tour – Day 6 – A Ghostly Tour

After our day walking around Savannah, we headed back to the hotel for some R&R and I took a nap for an hour while Jon recharged by reading sports websites on my Kindle. After my nap, which was glorious, by the way (I’m a big fan of naps!), we got up and had some wine and cheese for a snack at the Marshall House’ wine and cheese social hour (I’m also a big fan of wine and cheese!). We were heading out on our ghost tour at 7:30, so we wanted a snack to hold us over until we found a late dinner. We relaxed and hung out, and then when it got closer to the time, we headed out to find Reynolds Square, where the ghost tour departed.

There were Girl Scouts Galore in the Square – kind of a flash mob of girl scouts, only with flirting and giggling instead of singing and dancing (there was a bit of singing and dancing too though!). I’m not really sure why they chose Reynolds Square as their gathering spot, as most of them were not going on the ghost tour, but there they were. An enormous swarming gaggle of hormones. They were only slightly drowned out by the sax player who was playing for tourists in the square, but they kept asking him to play “Star Wars”, so let’s just say it was not romantic.

Shortly, our tour headed out (it was a walking tour in case you were wondering) and we were entertained with stories of first cemeteries, Indian burials, hangings and yellow fever outbreaks. It was still light out, and the ghost tour wasn’t scary, but was an interesting overview of the history of the City and what has gone on there since Savannah’s founding in 1733.  The house on Oglethorpe Street that my mom and I visited on our last ghost tour there in 2004 is still there, still vacant, and sadly, more vandalized.  I’m rooting for that home to find an owner – it’s an awesome turn-of-the-last-century townhouse – and the doctor who haunts it can’t be all that bad of a ghostly resident.

As the story goes, Dr. Brown lived in a former version of this home at 12 W. Oglethorpe (the current home was built about 1900).  He moved to Savannah to treat patients of the periodic yellow fever outbreaks, and he set up a hospital in the back of the home.  Yellow fever struck Savannah again in 1820, and Dr. Brown tended to the sick in his home – lots of them.  Sadly, his wife and child were both sickened by yellow fever too, and both died.  He was so filled with grief that he bricked himself in an upstairs room and slowly starved to death.  If you go up to the door and knock and look through the windows, people have seen his ghostly form coming down the stairs.  Mysterious orbs have also shown up in photos of the porch and through the windows.

Sadly, the home was heavily damaged by fire in 2009, and apparently the upper floors collapsed on top of themselves, so bringing this stately home back from ruin may not be in the cards…  I wonder what Dr. Brown would think about that.

The House at 12 W. Oglethorpe

The House at 12 W. Oglethorpe

We also heard about one of the resident ghosts at the Olde Pink House Restaurant, James Habersham Jr.  Mr. Habersham had the house built in 1771, but delays occurred and the house wasn’t finished until 1789 – darn that Revolutionary War!  It seems that long period of construction allowed the architect and Habersham’s wife to get a little too acquainted, and it is said that their affair was the catalyst for Habersham’s suicide in the basement in 1799.  He is said to be a friendly ghost, walking around the house greeting patrons and sometimes sitting at the bar downstairs.  We didn’t make it to the restaurant on our visit, but this is on my list of places to go one day, and not just because of the ghost – the food is supposed to be amazing!

Olde Pink House Restaurant

So, I know it’s not a great photo of the Olde Pink House Restaurant (those live oaks were a bit of a drawback here), but you can clearly see the house is pink.  Well, James Habersham had the home built of brick, with white plaster on top.  Due to some flaw in the way the plaster was applied, the red brick kept bleeding through the plaster, making the house look – PINK!  Habersham was a manly man, and wasn’t all that excited about living in a pink house, so he kept painting the house again each time the brick would bleed through.  And subsequent owners did too.  What an undertaking!  Finally a woman purchased the house in the 1920s and adopted an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em mentality” and had the house officially painted cotton candy pink.  It was going to be pink anyway…

After the ghost tour, Jon and I headed down to the River House restaurant on the riverfront to have a late dinner. I had the lobster crab bisque (which was excellent) and a Regency salad – basically a Caesar salad. It was good and since we were eating so late (it was about 9:30) we didn’t want anything heavy.  Jon had the peel and eat shrimp (also very good!) and the same Regency salad. On the placemat, the River House includes some information about George Washington’s visit to Savannah in 1791, and the Chatham Artillery Punch that Savannahians have served for occasions since the 1850s.  Boy it would pack a punch (pun intended)!  I’ll detail it in an upcoming post, I promise!

The River House Restaurant

After dinner, we wandered around a bit more before heading back to the hotel to turn in for the night.  So remember in my previous Marshall House post I told you it is haunted?  If not, here it is…  We went to sleep just fine, and then I woke up having a strange and terrifying experience.  I was awake, but felt that I could not move.  I couldn’t sit up or move my arms or legs… I tried to call out to Jon to wake him up, because I was really scared, but could not make a sound.  After a few moments of being completely paralyzed, I was able to move again, and the feeling of terror went away.  Ghost?  I can’t say if it was or wasn’t, but it sure was weird…

The Grand Tour – Day 6 – The Andrew Low House

After our visit to Colonial Cemetery in Savannah, we decided to stop and do a tour of the Andrew Low home. Andrew Low was a wealthy merchant who had this home built for him and his first wife in 1848. Sadly, his first wife and their son died before the house was completed, so when Andrew Low moved into the house with his two daughters, he was a devastated widow. He married his second wife 5 years later, and they had three more daughters and a son, and one baby that died in infancy. But Andrew seems to have been somewhat cursed with women, as his second wife died in 1863 in her early thirties.

Andrew Low House

Andrew Low House – Built 1848 – Neo-Classical Architectural Style

The home has 5 bedrooms and a bathroom with an indoor flush toilet and running water! An elaborate rainwater collection system collected water in below the house, where it was manually pumped to a 500 gallon cistern in the attic above the bathroom. That way, if you wanted to draw a bath or wash your hands at the faucet, gravity made it simple! If I remember correctly, the metal bathtub also had a mechanism for heating the water (likely by putting coal into a container built around the bathtub). Not bad for 1848!

The Bathroom in the Andrew Low House – Courtesy of the Andrew Low House Website

Andrew Low was friends with Robert E. Lee, and Lee was the godfather of Andrew’s youngest daughter Jessie. He stayed for a week in the house during a visit to Savannah in 1870 and during that visit, the Lows invited Joe E. Johnston, Andrew Lawton, and J.F. Gilmer, 3 of Lee’s Generals during the Civil War, over for dinner. Lee had not seen Johnston since the Civil War ended, so I can only imagine what that dinner was like!  It would have been so cool to have been able to sit in!  At any rate, the bedroom where Lee stayed during that 1870 visit is now called the Lee Bedroom (what creativity!).

The Lee Bedroom – Courtesy of the Andrew Low House Website

Andrew Low also had the distinction of being the father-in-law of Juliette Gordon Low, who married Andrew’s son William Mackay Low in 1886 (the same year that Andrew died). If you were a Girl Scout, you may have heard of Juliette – her nickname was Daisy – because she founded the Girl Scouts. She came from another wealthy Savannah family, and had the opportunity to travel Europe extensively during her school years. She and William lived in England for several years and she traveled back to Savannah on occasion before William died in 1905. Sadly, the marriage wasn’t a happy one, and Juliette and William were already separated by the time he died.

Dining Room – Courtesy of the Andrew Low House Website

In 1911, Juliette met Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England, who is the founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. She brought the movement back to the US and founded the Girl Guides here in 1912. A year later, she changed the name to the Girl Scouts. Juliette wanted the Girl Scouts to give girls the opportunity to do the same outdoor activities as the boys did – camping and hiking and spending time outdoors, etc., so she made the Girl Scouts different than the Girl Guides of Europe at the time, which focused more on domestic skills and activities for girls.

She also embraced girls with disabilities at a time when disabled children were not given these types of opportunities (Juliette Gordon Low was almost entirely deaf herself) and the Girl Scouts gave girls the chance to get more education in business and the sciences, and to prepare for a role outside the home. It seems pretty mundane now, but in 1912 that was cutting edge! Daisy spent the rest of her life dedicated to the Girl Scouts, and died at the Andrew Low house in 1927, after a battle with breast cancer.

The entire tour was interesting, because I didn’t know anything about Andrew Low and not much about the founding of the Girl Scouts (I even was a Girl Scout for a couple of years, but I must not have been paying attention when that lesson was taught). I did feel like our tour guide rushed us through and didn’t give us any opportunity to ask questions. I was thankful that we were not on a tour with a gaggle of Girl Scouts – they came in right before we left – a whole herd of them!  It must have been some sort of Girl Scout jamboree week, because there were Girl Scouts everywhere! More on the invasion of the Girl Scouts later…

After our Andrew Low house tour, we stopped for some cold drinks at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Gift Shop, located across the street from the Cathedral itself. I had a frozen raspberry lemonade and John had an iced Americano. Mine was delicious – perfect to cool down on a hot day!  We sat for awhile enjoying our drinks and relaxing, and then headed over to the railroad museum, but decided not to go in. I think Jon was getting kind of touristed out at this point – and he didn’t think that we could beat the Railroad Museum we had seen in Sacramento.  For more on the Sacramento Railroad Museum

StJohnCathedral

St. John the Baptist Cathedral – The First Church Was Built in 1835 And Destroyed by Fire in 1898 – This Church Was Built in 1899

So, as our energy was flagging from being out in the hot sun all day, we decided to head back to our room for a little rest.  But only until the wine social began!