Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Delightfully Charming Savannah Gardens, Rus in Urbe. Out of the "Gilbraltar of America" Came Boosters, Bricks, Forests, Plus Modern-day Brains and Brawn!

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- International travelers adore Savannah! Rich in natural resources and ingenuity, Savannah is one of the outstanding examples of 18th century town planning in North America.

Book your Savannah bed and breakfast lodging and buy tickets early for the 82nd Annual Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens will take place Thursday, March 23 – Sunday, March 26, 2017.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, viewed
from Liberty Street through the Savannah's
landscaped forest.
Savannah, renowned as the "Hostess City of the South", is rich in urban forests, gardens, farm-to-table cuisine, friendly welcome, and ingenuity.

America's most beautiful city has been called "rus in urbe" -- an illusion of countryside created by a building or garden within a city: 'the beguiling rus in urbe of the park'. Origin. Latin, literally country in the city.  "With his fortuitous citizen-soldier plan for the city, [Georgia founder, James] Oglethorpe created rus in urbe 200 years before the landscape designers made it a goal...." Source: "The National Trust Guide to Savannah" by Roulhac Toledano

Positive as this expression is, Savannah "being called 'rural' and the 'little green bowery [farm] city of the south' were not ringing endorsements for future business". Source: "Constructing Savannah's Cityscape, 1837-1854" by Laura Beth Simo.


Undauntedly, the new settlers of the Georgia colony had started early to build a town with "humanizing influences" -- architecture, churches, literature, public squares and market, wealth, and ethnic diversity. [Fraser]

In 1733 Georgia Trustees from England shipped bricks to their newest American colony along the Savannah River. By 1734, the Salzbergers at Ebenezer had started a brickworks. [Toledano]

Statue of colonial Georgia's founder, James
Edward Oglethorpe in Chippewa Square.
The bronze statue was sculpted by
Daniel Chester French, also artist of
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
A descendant of the enterprising Salzbergers at Ebenezer, Solomon Zeigler moved to Savannah, became a reputable lumber merchant, and built his stately family home, now Zeigler House Inn. Zeigler was among the city's elite. "By the end of the 1850s several hundred white families living between Barnard and Abercorn streets held about 50 percent of the value of the city's real estate." Source: "Savannah in the Old South" by Walter J. Fraser, Jr.

Built in 1842, the Champion-McAlpin-Fowlkes House is another mansion from this era. Today it is owned by the Society of the Cincinnati, and open as a museum and special events venue (230 Barnard Street on Orleans Square). The Fowlkes mansion's "story begins with the original design by Irish Architect, Charles Cluskey. Cluskey had worked on the McAlpin plantation, the Hermitage, about two miles down the Savannah River, in the 1830’s assisting with the building products that were being manufactured by slaves for Savannah’s antebellum homes. These products included the famous Savannah gray brick, a millworks, and a foundry for wrought iron making". Source:


Led by parliamentarian and soldier James Edward Oglethorpe in the 1730s, the Georgia Trustees and British boosters had talked up the new colony in America as both a "Garden of Eden" and "Gibraltar of America".  Source: "America, Empire of Liberty: A New History of the United States" by David Reynolds
Gibraltar is defined as "an impregnable stronghold". Gibraltar's territory covers 2.6 sq miles and shares a .75 mile land border with Spain. Gibraltar has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. Following the War of Spanish Secession (1704), the territory of Gibraltar was ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, which is only eight miles wide at this point. 
Wormsloe Historic State Park entrance. Wormsloe
Plantation is the oldest plantation in Georgia. Descendants
of Noble Jones, who arrived with Georgia's first settlers,
still reside on a portion of the family's colonial lands.
The park is open Tuesday-Saturday.
"City boosters have long promoted Savannah’s image as the romantic city by the sea, a colonial village of mossy oaks and fragrant magnolias that beckons visitors -– and their dollars.

"But Savannah was carved out of marsh and swamp almost 300 years ago as a port city, and long before modern tourists discovered its Southern charms, this town was a center of sea-borne commerce. Today, Savannah’s promoters are working to shape their city’s varied reputations in other ways, hoping to cast it as the intersection of brains and brawn...." Source:, "Savannah: Intellectual Capital: Blending economic brains and brawn" by Ed Lightsey


An earlier nickname was "the Forest City", in reference to the large population and species of oak trees that flourish in the Savannah area. These trees were especially valuable in shipbuilding during the 19th century. As early as 1891, trees were planted in an organized manner along streets and boulevards, and in parks and squares.

Savannah garden tours in Savannah quares year around | Photo Popcorn Octane
Columbia Square and Davenport House,
the mansion where Historic Savannah
Foundation and historic preservation took root
to save 19th century architecture.
The history, beauty, and charm of the City of Savannah has grand, bold roots, constantly being nurtured by its stakeholder citizens like Savannah tourism star Jackie Heinz, owner and innkeeper of Zeigler House Inn.


Featured on "Wheel of Fortune", Zeigler House Inn was fully renovated in 2002. This upscale mansion now a romantic getaway inn on magnificent Jones Street in uptown Savannah's historic district serves stately bed and breakfast lodging with delicious cuisine (compliments of caterer-turned-innkeeper Jackie Heinz, a southern 'steel magnolia' from Kentucky). With French-inspired decor -- a nod to Revolutionary hero, General Marquis de Lafayette -- the 7 private suites and private rooms afford Europe-meets-Savannah style, plus southern comforts for a leisure trip and/or business travel enhanced with local flair. Each of private suites and rooms uniquely features a private kitchen or kitchenette, plus private bath.

Contact: 121 West Jones Street, Savannah, Georgia USA 31401; Phone: 866-233-5307; email;

Copyright © 2017 Zeigler House Inn.

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