Our Second Visit to
Massie Common School is the
only remaining building of Georgia’s oldest chartered public school system.
Built 1855-56, the Greek Revival building was Savannah’s first free public school, ten years before
there was a state charter for public education.
Peter Massie: In 1841, Peter Massie, a Scottish planter from Glynn
County, Georgia, left a $5,000 bequest to the City of Savannah “for the
education of the poor children.” Steamship passenger lists show that Mr. Massie
was often in Savannah on the way to and from his summer home in New Jersey. He
noticed many uneducated youth roaming the city’s sandy streets. City authorities
invested Peter Massie’s gift in stock of the Central Railroad and the Savannah
Gas Light Company “until a large enough sum should be accumulated to build a
school.” The centre portion cost $9,000 is the original structure - the west
wing was built in 1872 from plans by John B. Hogg and in 1886 the east wing was
The First Day of
the 15th of October 1856, the doors of Massie School opened to admit its first
pupils. Mr. Bernard Mallon was the school’s first principal, hired at an annual
salary of $1,200. His faculty consisted of two assistants paid $600 each and
three assistants paid $400 each. Two hundred forty pupils, approximately six to
sixteen years old, enrolled that first year. Of this number, forty-two paid a
small tuition and the rest attended free of charge. The school was operated by
the city government.
Savannah in the
Civil War: Public education continued at Massie School with few
changes until the occupation of Savannah by General William T. Sherman in
December 1864. When the Union army entered the city, they took possession of the
Massie building to use as a hospital. At the end of the Civil War, Massie was
briefly used as a Freedmen’s Bureau School for the education of
newly-emancipated slaves. In 1866, an Act of the Georgia General Assembly
established a permanent Board of Education and a system of public education
officially began in Savannah. Bernard Mallon, Massie’s first principal, became
the new school system’s first superintendent.
A New Direction for
Massie: Because of the
deterioration of Savannah’s downtown, resulting in a dwindling student
population, Massie School closed as a regular school in 1974. The school
reopened in 1977 as a teaching museum for history and architecture, a mission
that continues today. Massie provides educational and cultural programs for
student and adult groups, the community and visitors to the city.
over 150 years years this building, an important part of Savannah’s history, has
housed primary, intermediate, grammar, high or elementary schools, educating
many generations of Savannahians.
In 1977 Massie School was listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bimbling round Savannah on our
second visit to the city we both had a few things on our wish list, one of mine
was to see Chatham Square having lived in Chatham,
Kent for sixteen years. Imagine my initial horror when I got hold of what I
thought would be a metal sign – turned out to be plastic – the sort you buy in
Each year Savannah attracts over eleven millions visitors, who enjoy
the city's architecture and historic buildings: the
birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low
(founder of the Girl Scouts of the
and the first house in the city to have an elevator), the
Telfair Academy of Arts and
(one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist
(one of the oldest African American Baptist congregations in the U.S.),
(the third oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse
(the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America, own blog).
Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic
the Savannah Victorian Historic
and twenty two parklike
is one of the largest National Historic Landmark
the U.S. (designated by the government in 1966). Savannah was the host city for
during the 1996 Summer
held in Atlanta.
Geography: According to the United States Census
Savannah has a total area of 78.1 square miles, of which 74.7 square miles is
land and 3.4 square miles is water (4.31%). Savannah is the primary port on the
and the largest port in the state of Georgia. It is also located near the
flows toward the Atlantic Ocean some 16 miles south of the
Savannah is prone to flooding. Five
canals and several pumping stations have been built to help reduce the
Consolidation with Chatham County:
2003 Savannah and Chatham
voted to merge their city and county police
The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police was established on the 1st of January 2005,
the department has a number of specialty units, including: K-9, SWAT, Bomb
Squad, Marine Patrol, Dive, Air Support and Mounted Patrol. This was very
important when Bear had to choose a base in his role as POWOR (Planning
Operative Wise Owl Recovery).
Economy: Agriculture was essential to Savannah's economy during its first two
production, both in demand in England, were early export commodities; by 1767
almost a ton of silk per year was exported to England.
Georgia's mild climate
offered perfect conditions for growing cotton,
which became the dominant commodity after the American
Its production under the plantation
and shipment through the Port of
helped the city's European immigrants to achieve wealth and
the nineteenth century, the Port of Savannah became one of the most active in
the United States, and Savannahians had the opportunity to consume some of the
world's finest goods, imported by foreign merchants. Savannah's port has always
been a mainstay of the city's economy. In the early years of the United States,
goods produced in the New
had to pass through Atlantic ports such as Savannah's before they could be
shipped to England.
Today, the Port of Savannah, manufacturing, the military and the
industry are Savannah's four major economic drivers. In 2006, the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors
reported over 6.85 million visitors to the city during the year. Lodging,
dining, entertainment, and visitor-related transportation account for over $2
billion in visitors' spending per year and employ over 17,000.
years, Savannah was the home of Union
which housed the world's largest paper mill. The plant is now owned by
and it remains one of Savannah's largest employers. Savannah is also home to the
company, maker of private jets, as well as various other large industrial
interests. TitleMax, a
privately owned title lending company with over 600 stores across 12 states, is
headquartered in Savannah. Morris
newspaper and television company, is also based in Savannah.
the third largest producer of construction equipment in the world and the
leading manufacturer of backhoes and telescopic handlers, built its North
American headquarters in Chatham County near Savannah in Pooler on I-95 near
Savannah-Hilton Head International
In 2009, Savannah was North America's
fourth largest port by container traffic.
Savannah built the first golf course in
America in 1794.
ALL SO PLEASED WE