Wednesday – April 23, 2014
Ships of the Sea Museum
We enjoyed another sunny sky, with the temperature in the low eighties, while we took our second walking tour of the Savannah Historic District and the Riverfront Plaza. On this tour we visited the Ships of the Sea Museum and The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
The Ships of the Sea Museum is located within the William Scarbrough House. Designed by noted English architect by William Jay, the house was built by William Scarbrough, president of the Savannah Steamship Company. Completed in 1819, it is an excellent example of the neoclassical style. Scarbrough hosted President James Monroe here in May 1819 during the president’s visit to witness the launching of the S.S. Savannah on the world’s first trans-Atlantic steamship voyage. For 84 years (1878-1962), the house served as the West Broad Street School for African-American Children and later as the headquarters for the Historic Savannah Foundation from 1976-1991. In 1996, the house was acquired by the Ships of the Sea Museum.
The museum contains two floors of exhibits, showcasing large, scale models of sailing ships from the 1700s on the first floor and steamships from the 1800s on the second floor. The exquisite detailed construction of these model ships is astounding. We really enjoyed this visit.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is open to visitors until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Immaculate religious architectural detail resonates throughout the interior of the French Gothic Style Cathedral. Thousands of visitors each year take part in visiting one of the great Roman Catholic Churches of the South. The stained-glass windows and delicate sanctuary arches are some of the most compelling aspects of the design.
The colonial charter of Savannah prohibited Roman Catholics from settling in Savannah. The English trustees feared that Catholics would be more loyal to the Spanish authorities in Florida than to the English government in Georgia. This prohibition faded shortly after the American Revolution. The church's congregation was reorganized about 1796. French Catholic émigrés established the first church in 1799 when they arrived from Haiti after slave rebellions began on that Caribbean island in 1791. A second church was dedicated in 1839 as the number of Catholics increased in Savannah. Construction began on the new Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in 1873 and was completed with the addition of the spires in 1896. The structure was nearly destroyed by fire in 1898 but through diligent effort was rebuilt by 1899. Today the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah includes ninety counties in Middle and Southern Georgia, including such cities as Columbus and Macon.
We had a late lunch at The Pirate House Restaurant. We ordered the Fried Green Tomato Stack for an appetizer. I ordered the Chicken Fried Pork Chop and Sharon ordered the Shrimp Carbonera. Everything was wonderfully prepared and absolutely delicious. The pork chop dish consists of two thick, boneless, center-cut pork chops, served with mashed sweet potatoes and spinach. The pork chops have what appears to be a deep-fried breaded coating, and are tender and juicy. The sweet potatoes and spinach were the perfect compliment to these tasty pork chops. The shrimp were served over a bed of linguini with a wonderfully rich white sauce. This restaurant has also become another one of our favorites in Savannah.
The Pirate's House was once an old inn that was once a hideout for pirates, sailors and swashbucklers. This Savannah attraction offers history and drama that dates back to the early 1700’s. It’s said that in those days men who came in for a drink often ended up being dragged through an underground tunnel that lead to the river and forced to work on a ship for years at a time. Today, the ancient building has fifteen different dining rooms, each decorated with authentic pirate and seafaring décor, including a rare copy of the novel Treasure Island that mentions the inn.
Miles walked today: 8.02
Tomorrow another adventure begins.