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.
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!
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!
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…