Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 26

COURTESY THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY /
GEORGIAHISTORY.COM

Above: Jessy Porter of Marietta
dances with her son Mason, 4, on
River Street after a rainstorm while
an artist draws a caricature of her
other son. Right: Children walk
along River Street in Savannah in
this undated photo. Below: Cotton
warehouses are pictured in 1948 on
River Street in this photo taken for
Savannah Electric Power.

different," Deaton says.
Yet even then, River Street had
diversity, with different dialects and
many people from the West Indies,
according to Deaton.
The river still brings the world to
Savannah and still caters to the life
of a sailor. Mariners of old looked
for a good time on shore, a place to
relax.
"That's what people still do on
River Street," Deaton says, mentioning tourists. "There's a sense of
release."
But it wasn't long before River
Street began to "let itself go." Cotton
was shipped internationally from
Savannah's busy port, but the boll
26

COURTESY THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY /
GEORGIAHISTORY.COM

LESLIE MOSES

'You can't do that'

weevil devastated the South's
cotton industry in the 1920s.
"Factors" who inspected the
cotton bales no longer walked
that path (aptly called "Factors
Walk") behind those River Street
warehouses. Wooden docks
decayed, and cotton storerooms
sat empty, with a few exceptions.
One 18th-century cotton
warehouse stands out. It's now
called the Boar's Head Grill &
Tavern, and it's where diners eat
lamb chops and Grand Marnier
sponge cake. The eatery, established
in 1964, was one of the few River
Street businesses then.
Ugie Graham, now 70, cleared
tables and washed dishes there as a
teenager. Graham now sits off River
Street with the restaurant in view
while he twists palm branches into
flowers he sells to tourists.
"Well, I hear stories about ...
when River Street was nothing but
mud, train tracks and boat docks,"
Marinelli says. "Savannah certainly
wasn't a visitor destination in those
days."
"It was a mess," Meyerhoff says.
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

In March 1973, the city's
Metropolitan Planning Commission
eyed the riverfront to hold parking
for nearby Broughton Street shopping traffic, Meyerhoff says.
"We said, 'You can't do that,'"
says Meyerhoff, recalling the
response by him and his late
business partner, Bob Gunn. They
told Rousakis, the mayor, that they
thought River Street was better for
pedestrians.
Rousakis heard them, and a
handshake sealed the deal, according to Meyerhoff. A revived River
Street was in the works.
Meyerhoff honeymooned in
Europe in September 1973, just
months after getting the deal. He
sought waterfront locales-Oslo,
Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark;
and Amsterdam, Netherlands-for
ideas. He found inspiration in each
of those cities for what he says is
his greatest architectural project.
During the planning stages, one
city official rejected a children's
area, fearing that sand there would
attract cats using it as litter.
"We told the city manager that
[area] would be a lake or something," Meyerhoff says.
Today, Jason Tucker, a local,
calls to his son Will, telling him to
wave. The 3-year-old obliges,
waving from inside a red, white and
blue tugboat in the children's area
on River Street. Meyerhoff had the
boat built secretly in one of River
Street's warehouses. Then in 1977,
he unveiled the large toy that would
delight countless children over the
decades.
The $7 million River Street
project also featured a bike path,
handicapped-accessible areas,
plantings, a concert area and
seating.
"If you think Underground
Atlanta is something, just wait until
you see our River Street development. ... It will be one of the
must-see places of the South,"
Rousakis is quoted as saying in an
(Continued on page 28)
GEORGIA MAGAZINE


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 7
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 8
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 9
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 10
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 11
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 12
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 13
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 14
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 15
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 16
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 17
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 19
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 20
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 21
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 22
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 23
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 24
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 25
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 26
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 27
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 28
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Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 33
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 34
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 35
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 37
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 38
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 39
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40C
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40D
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40E
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40F
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40G
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40H
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 41
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 42
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 43
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover4
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