In spite of such a dark history and Savannah's apparent focus on ghost story tourism, old streets of the historic district were picturesque lined with enormous moss draped oaks in front of the stately well maintained homes. We climbed down steep stairs down to cobblestone streets to find a large marketplace along the river dabbled with historic markers of statues and more parks. One particularly cool area was a tile x marked square which echoes if you stand at the very center. After a day of touring we were able to truly appreciate the beautiful squares by sitting in one near our hotel, sipping wine, while Bruce smoked his cigar, and like a small hometown, strangers greeted us and stopped to chat as they strolled through with their dogs.
Unlike the elegance and dignified discovery of the Revolutionary War heros that we found on our previous trip to Charleston, it was the dark, crime ridden past of The Pirate House we sought in Savannah, GA. We learned the beginnings of the Pirate House were very honorable. It starts with the humanitarian, James Oglethorpe who founded Georgia and the City of Savannah in 1733. His colony outlawed slavery, limited land ownership, and offered an economy based on family run farming. The plans for the city included small parks or squares every few blocks which still exist and have even multiplied. An experimental garden was planted by botanists from Britain who had brought specimens to grow from all over the world. The Garden was modeled after the Chelsea Botanical Garden in London and was named The Trustees Garden after Oglethorpe's men. Though the garden is long gone, the herb house that was built in 1733 still stands and is one of the original buildings that comprise what is now The Pirate House.
The herb house its expanded structure eventually became a Tavern and due to its close proximity to the river, it became the watering hole of pirates. The lawless ship's captains often needed to add to their crew and resorted to criminal measures to lure unsuspecting men into the life of piracy. Seven tunnels had been dug in the high banks of the river to make transporting cargo ashore easier, and two went directly to The Pirate House leading into the Rum Cellar, making it the perfect set up for pirates to shanghai local patrons. Along with other tunnels in the city, they were also used to transport and store yellow fever victims, which give way to many spooky ghost stories about the tunnels. We especially enjoyed our pirate clad tour guide, Christopher Blackswitch telling us about the young yellow fever victim crying tears of blood for his mom often seen in the window of the building. Unfortunately for my husband Bruce, it is only women who are able to catch a glimpse of this spector.