Experience Hospitality at Our Historic Inns in Savannah GA
Our city’s 22 historic squares, stunning architectural details, and Low Country landscape make it one of the nation’s top travel destinations. Culture, shopping, and recreational activities fill the days while dining, entertainment, and romance extend into the nights.
Come, let Savannah romance you, and fall in love with the city’s hospitality hosted by one of our member inns.
On February 12, 1733, James E. Oglethorpe and 114 colonists from Gravesend, England arrived at Yamacraw Bluff on the Savannah River to found America's thirteenth colony, Georgia. The outpost was established to increase imperial trade and navigation along the coastal waterway and to establish a protective buffer between Spanish Florida and the northern English colonies during the Spanish-American War. It is said that Oglethorpe had four rules for his new community: no slaves, no Roman Catholics, no strong drinks, and no lawyers.
Oglethorpe designed the basic layout of the city into blocks of five symmetrical 60-by-90-foot lots. Included in his plan were 24 public squares (22 of which are still in existence). They were intended to serve both as public meeting places and as areas where citizens could camp out and fortify themselves against attack from natives, Spaniards (who ruled Florida), and even marauding pirates. Thus Savannah became "America's first planned city." This system of public squares was intended to provide central areas of fortification, as well as social areas for the colonists. Immigrants from around the world were attracted to Oglethorpe's city. By the time the American Revolution started, the population of Savannah exceeded 3,000, making it the twentieth largest town in the American colonies.
Savannah During the Revolution
During the Revolutionary War, the city was taken by colonial insurgents. The following year, in 1778, the British recaptured it, and in 1779, the American Army was unsuccessful in its attempts to retake the city. Finally, in 1782, the British left the city to return to England. Until the war ended in 1783, Savannah was the chief city and capital of the Georgia colony.
Cotton Dominates Economy
From the outset, Savannah was an important seaport. Before the American Revolution, the products of agriculture and trade with the Indians were sent back to England. At one time, rice paddies almost surrounded the city. Savannah prospered, and many of its historic homes were built. When the scourge of yellow fever swept through the city in 1820, the rice culture was abandoned and cotton became the dominant crop. For nearly a century, trading in the Cotton Exchange on Savannah's waterfront set world cotton prices. Cotton farming was greatly expanded following Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin, an event that took place nearby in 1793. Shortly thereafter, cotton shipments from the area soared to more than two million bales annually.