Discovering Savannah: Historic Places and People

Lafayette Square

On the third day of our Savannah trip, we found more historic places and learned about interesting people.

This was Juliette Gordon Low’s home, which is across from Lafayette Square. Mrs. Low lived in this house when she founded Girl Scouts. “Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927), also affectionately known by her nickname “Daisy,” founded Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912. She imagined a movement where all girls could come together and embrace their unique strengths and passions—and as Girl Scouts has done since, she made that dream a reality.”

I never knew her nickname was Daisy! In case you didn’t know, a Daisy is the first stage of being a Girl Scout.

Behind the home is the first Girl Scout headquarters.

The Girl Scout plaque reads:

“The house adjacent to this building was the home of Juliette Gordon Low at the time she founded Girl Scouting in the United States, March 12, 1912. Formerly the carriage-house and stable of the Low Mansion, this building became that year the first Girl Scout headquarters in America.

At the death of Mrs. Low in 1927 the Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA willed the original headquarters to the Girl Scouts of Savannah (now the Girl Scout Council of Savannah, Georgia, Inc.). This building has been continuously used for Girl Scouting longer than any other in this country.”

Another famous person, the author Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964), grew up across from Lafayette Square. Here is a picture of her childhood home.

Did you notice from the photo above that today is Mary Flannery O’Connor’s Birthday?

Flannery O’Connor wrote two novels and 31 short stories. Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon articles about her. Many times, I’ve thought about checking out her books at the library, but I never got around to it. Later that day, we went to the Book Lady Book Store on Liberty Street. As I walked in, I felt as if I was in the middle of a Harry Potter movie. Old books are lined up side-by-side and up and down the shelves. The first book I was drawn to though was a brand new copy of “The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor,” my one and only purchase. Later that afternoon, I sat in the hotel to read the first short story, because I thought it would be cool to read part of her book while being in her hometown!

The title of the first story is “The Geranium.” Ms. O’Connor’s writing was not what I expected, but the story definitely has a moral. Flannery O’Connor wrote how people spoke at the time. The tale contains words most of society frowns upon these days, but I will give the rest of the stories a try. I know I will learn something.

While trying to find out more about her, I came across a PBS documentary titled “Uncommon Grace: The Life of Flannery O’Connor.” If you’d like to watch it, click here. Her first brush with fame was when she received attention from the news at the age of six.  “Pathé News filmed “Little Mary O’Connor” with her trained chicken and showed the film around the country. She said: ‘When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been an anticlimax.’” You can watch the “Do You Reverse” 1932 film, by clicking here.

Doesn’t she sound like a hoot? I’m looking forward to reading more of her stories. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 39 from lupus. Her doctors told her she had five years to live, but she fought and lived 10 years after her diagnosis. Writing short stories helped bring income in more quickly than writing novels. The documentary states that her stories are timeless since they all have a parable.

Another adventure that day was when we visited a cemetery.

The entrance to Colonial Cemetery. “Erected by Savannah Chapter Daughters of American Revolution 1913. In memory of Patriots of War – American Revolution 1775-1783. Resting in Colonial Cemetery.”

Colonial Park – “This cemetery, the second in Colonial Savannah, was the burial ground for the city from about 1750 until it was closed against burials in 1853.” There are a lot of “distinguished dead” who I am not familiar with. A few very alive people were walking around. A lot of the markers were very difficult to read. The engraving has worn off over the years. Funny how the place did not seem as creepy as the Savannah River, which we visited the day before.

That night, we went to the Public Kitchen & Bar, which ended up being our favorite restaurant.

I had the grilled salmon filet, with garlic whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus and adobo cream sauce. My husband had the pork chop with the same sides as mine. We topped it off with the chocolate pecan pie, with berries and cream.

The next day we headed home, but we had time to tour a mansion! Stay tuned…

I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one. ~Flannery O’Connor


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