In the Heart of It All: Exploring the Cultural History of Savannah, GA

January 17th, 2024

In the Heart of It All is a tribute to the charming landscape of Savannah, Georgia — a diverse, captivating cultural story waiting to be explored. Savannah’s history has long been a harbinger of modern excellence, from bustling art scenes and budding new artists to mouth-watering cuisine and music that moves you.

Let’s break down some key aspects of Savannah’s culture and why we’re so proud to live right by this storied city.

A Canvas of Creativity

The city’s artistic legacy is unlike any other. Telfair Museums, the oldest public art museum in the South, is a testament to the city’s commitment to the arts. Established in 1883 through the visionary bequest of philanthropist Mary Telfair, the museum showcases the rich history of Savannah’s art scene. Comprising the Telfair Museums, the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, both National Historic Landmark sites from the early 19th century, and the modern Jepson Center, Telfair Museums epitomizes Savannah’s dedication to preserving and celebrating its artistic heritage. Additionally, the influence of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) further enhances the city’s reputation as a thriving hub for creativity and artistic expression. The city’s deep appreciation for the arts is not only seen in its galleries but also in the lively street art that adds a modern twist to its historical appeal.

The Musical Odyssey of Savannah

The melodic heartbeat of Savannah resonates across its squares and along the riverfront, encapsulating a city deeply rooted in a rich musical legacy. From the historic clubs of West Broad Street, where luminaries like James Brown once graced the stage, to the annual Savannah Music Festival, the city has fostered a commitment to musical diversity, immersing residents and visitors in a harmonious symphony. Savannah’s musical heritage dates back to 1859 when James Lord Pierpont published the timeless tune “Jingle Bells” while serving as a local Unitarian church’s organist and music director. Renowned American composer Johnny Mercer, a native of Burnside Island, celebrated his Academy Award-winning song “Moon River,” inspiring the Chatham County Commission to rename a portion of the Back River as “Moon River” in 1962. Jazz luminaries such as hard bop drummer Ben Riley, bassist Ben Tucker, saxophonist Sahib Shihab, and trombonist Trummy Young have left an indelible mark on Savannah’s musical landscape. The city’s musical influence continues with contemporary artists like rapper Big Boi, reflecting the ongoing legacy of Savannah as a vital center of musical expression.

Savor the Flavor

Savannah’s culinary story is a delectable fusion of history and flavor. Its nickname, “the Hostess City,” is rooted in Savannah’s evolving food history, reflecting its journey from its origins to the dynamic culinary landscape it embodies today. Influenced by Southern traditions and coastal influences, the city’s food scene celebrates diversity. In Savannah’s culinary narrative, the historical significance of Habersham House, now famously recognized as The Olde Pink House, stands as a testament to the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Beyond its historical prominence, The Olde Pink House is also a gateway to exploring Savannah’s diverse African-American food tradition. Delving into the culture and folkways of the Gullah Geechee tradition, which profoundly informs local life, provides a unique lens through which to understand the culinary evolution of this captivating city. From the historic Olde Pink House, dating back to the 18th century, to the bustling stalls of the City Market, every bite in Savannah is a taste of its storied past. The city’s culinary scene, emphasizing farm-to-table freshness, brings a unique flair to the Southern dining experience.

We invite you to become a part of this cultural legacy, where every corner of the city holds a piece of its remarkable past and promises a future enriched by the arts, music, and culinary delights that define Savannah’s unique character. Explore the lifestyle of Savannah Quarters — a haven just close enough to the dynamism of downtown and just far away enough to make coming home feel like an exciting destination of its own.