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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Savannah's Wharves

 
 
Savannah's Wharves Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Mike Stroud, 2009
1. Savannah's Wharves Marker
Inscription. One of the first problems facing Savannah settlers was the lack of adequate facilities to dock vessels. While river depths along the bluff Oglethorpe selected for the town provided excellent anchorage, the swift currents and steep bank made construction of wharves very difficult. A popular solution was to construct a crib that could be sunk with ballast, brick rubble or other material. When technology developed to screw in or drive piles into the river bottom, wharf construction became economical and practical. In the 19th century, steam power made pile driving and heavy lifting more efficient. As a result, heavy stone and masonry wharf structures could be built on piles driven far into the river bottom.

Loading Lumber for Export
[ Picture included ]
Rafts were frequently used to facilitate loading. Here, lumber is shown being loaded through ports in a schooner's bow.
Three Masted Schooner at the Wharf
[ Picture included ]
In 1874, the City of Savannah passed an ordinance to prohibit the construction of solid bulkhead wharves along the waterfront. After consulting "the most experienced of our wharf-builders," a plan for piling-supported wharves like the one to the left was adopted.

1870 Panorama of the Savannah Waterfront
[ Picture included ]
By the 19th
Savannah's Wharves Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Savannah's Wharves Marker
2. Savannah's Wharves Marker
century, industrial equipment to drive piles made wharf construction more practical in high current environments like the Savannah River where tidal change was a major factor. Wharves along the waterfront easily accommodated large sea-going vessels but afforded little convenience for small craft and ferries.

Wooden Wharves on the Waterfront
[ Picture included ]
Until replaced by concrete and steel in the 20th century, most of Savannah's wharves were built of wood.

Colonists Unload Supplies on the Savannah Bluff
[ Picture included ]
While the bluff Oglethorpe selected for the settlement was a healthy location, the embankment restricted access to the river. Loading, unloading and boarding vessels proved difficult. Tides and currents made mooring next to the bank complicated. This problem would be a persistent one for the citizens of Savannah.

Wharf at Low Tide
[ Picture included ]
In 1872, the City of Savannah contracted with ship and wharf builder Frederick Krenson to construct a public wharf at the foot of Lincoln Street. That wharf would be Savannah's second public wharf to be constructed of masonry on pilings driven into the river bottom. The "handsome and durable" dock was designed to accommodate small vessels regardless of the level of the tide. The wharf that Krenson built is one of the few
1870 Panorama of the Savannah Waterfront Photo, Click for full size
By Savannah's Wharves Marker
3. 1870 Panorama of the Savannah Waterfront
features of the 19th century Savannah waterfront that survives today.

 
Erected 2009 by U.S. Dept. Of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Georgia Dept. of Transportation. (Marker Number 8.)
 
Location. 32° 4.856′ N, 81° 5.243′ W. Marker is in Savannah, Georgia, in Chatham County. Marker is on East River Street, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Located near the Lincoln St. Ramp, Riverside. Marker is in this post office area: Savannah GA 31401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Shipping in the Port of Savannah (a few steps from this marker); Christmas in Savannah 1864 (within shouting distance of this marker); Savannah's Cobblestones (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Georgia Hussars (about 300 feet away); Savannah Marine Korean War Monument (about 300 feet away); Savannah, Birthplace of Prince Hall Masonry in Georgia (about 300 feet away); Salzburger Monument of Reconciliation (about 400 feet away); Confederate Savannah (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Savannah.
 
Categories. Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
Three Masted Schooner at the Wharf and Wooden Wharves on the Waterfront Photo, Click for full size
By Savannah's Wharves Marker
4. Three Masted Schooner at the Wharf and Wooden Wharves on the Waterfront
Colonists Unload Supplies on the Savannah Bluff Photo, Click for full size
By Savannah's Wharves Marker
5. Colonists Unload Supplies on the Savannah Bluff
Savannah's Wharves Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Savannah's Wharves Marker
6. Savannah's Wharves Marker
Savannah's Wharves at low tide as seen today Photo, Click for full size
By Mike Stroud, May 24, 2009
7. Savannah's Wharves at low tide as seen today
with Concrete pilings as mentioned on marker
Savannah's Wharves Marker seen riverside, wharf area Photo, Click for full size
By Mike Stroud, May 24, 2009
8. Savannah's Wharves Marker seen riverside, wharf area
Savannah's Wharves Marker riverside Photo, Click for full size
By Mike Stroud, May 24, 2009
9. Savannah's Wharves Marker riverside
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,012 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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