SAR Magazine Vol. 117 No. 2, Fall 2022, pp. 6-7 Visit Florida's website for information…
Sunday, July 10, through Friday, July 15, 2022
By John Trussell, Georgia Society SAR
Sar Magazine, Vol. 116 No. 4, pp. 6-8
Movie buffs may recognize these familiar Savannah sites. Top, the Mercer-Williams House, which figures prominently in the film, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; middle, Chippewa Square, the setting for the bench where the title character chats with various people in Forrest Gump; bottom, the Six Pence Pub can be spotted in the movie Something to Talk About.
The National SAR Congress is just around the corner, and we are anticipating having you and your family in Savannah from July 10-15. We will be celebrating “Coming out of COVID,” putting away the masks, getting back to normal and having fun!
Presently, the host hotel is booked, but the National Congress Chair maintains a waiting list for those seeking rooms. Write us about the three local hotels within a half-mile to the host hotel for consideration. Registration opens in mid-May.
This is the third story about the Savannah Congress, and previously discussed were the many cultural, historical and scenic reasons to visit Savannah.
While in Savannah, you will engage in many important SAR Congress activities, but there will be plenty of time to enjoy the city and its many attractions. Getting around Savannah is easy, too.Thanks to funding support from the city of Savannah, the Chatham Area Transit, known as CAT, operates a free downtown shuttle known as the “dot,” which stops near the Hyatt Regency, our host hotel.
Learn more at www.catchacat.org, and a copy of the map is included in your Congress gift bag, along with a 96-page “Savannah 2022 Insider’s guide” to all the must-sees in Savannah, with restaurants, tours, outdoor activities and shopping.
Savannah has lots of street parking, but it can be challenging to find a space. The dot comprises two loops, Forsyth and Downtown, which connect residents and visitors to Savannah’s visitor centers, parking facilities, area attractions, shops, restaurants and hotels. The shuttle arrives every 10 minutes at 18 stops throughout the Historic District and is available seven days a week. Although the hotel has guest parking at $38 per day, public parking is available at the 7 Whitaker Street Parking Garage for $16 per day or by the hour. This garage is only 200 yards from the hotel. You can download the app, Park Savannah, and after registration on your phone, you can make payments and won’t need to have coins! The host hotel is right off of River Street, so you’ll be within easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and pubs.
Movies Filmed in Savanah
This edition will briefly discuss some of the many movies filmed in Savannah and where you can visit some of the filming locations. The most unforgettable movie filmed in Savannah was Forrest Gump (1994). The film, starring Tom Hanks, tells the tale of one man’s extraordinary life alongside his best friend, Jenny, featuring pivotal moments, including the March on Washington and the Vietnam War. Although most of this iconic movie is set in Alabama, most of it was filmed around nearby Beaufort, S.C. The best Forrest Gump film locations are in Savannah’s Chippewa Square. As you remember, Forrest sat on a bus bench at Chippewa Square and told passersby his life story. The bench is now in the Savannah History Museum, where you can see it, but a stop in the square is still a must- do. There is no bench in the exact location where it was in the movie. A flower bed is at that location now!
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) tells the story of a gifted amateur golfer (Matt Damon) derailed by the traumatic experiences of World War I. It stars Charlize Theron and Will Smith. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel, The Last Song starred Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth and was the first film to be filmed on Tybee Island. Most of the filming occurred on the island’s beach and pier, with crucial scenes in Georgia Aquarium and Wormsloe Historic Estate. The beautiful chapel was built for the film and moved to U.S. 80 to become a local wedding chapel. See www.tybeeweddingchapel.com.
Clint Eastwood directed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Kevin Spacey and John Cusack starred in this famous adaption of the book by John Berendt, which tells the account of a real-life event in Savannah. Most of the film is shot entirely in Savannah, so there are many locations to visit. The Mercer-Williams House in Monterey Square is the scene of the crime that plays a crucial role in the story and is now a museum you can visit. Forsyth Park, Savannah’s most famous park, also features in the film.
Starring Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid, Something to Talk About is a 1995 comedy-drama that showcases various locations around Savannah, including the Six Pence Pub on Bull Street. The iconic pub is the location of a memorable scene with Roberts and her movie husband. It looks just like it does in the movie and is popular with fans.
Glory is a Civil War drama that tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first black regiment in the U.S. Army. Starring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, the movie was filmed in Georgia. Sites from the film you can visit include the Roundhouse Complex at the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the Mercer-Williams House and the Battlefield Memorial Park. As part of the Savannah History Museum, you can walk the grounds and learn final battle scene, with the troops attacking the fort, was filmed on nearby Jekyll Island. We recommend visiting Jekyll and St. Simons Island. Both are about 90 miles south of Savannah. Visit www.jekyllisland.com.
The Conspirator is a 2010 film directed by Robert Redford. The film tells the story of Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator charged in the Abraham Lincoln assassination and the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government. It stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright and Evan Rachel Wood, and a portion of it was filmed at the Society of Cincinnati Savannah Headquarters, open for tours at the Harper Fowlkes House at 230 Bernard Street, Savannah. Filming also occurred at Fort Pulaski.
Your National and Georgia SAR is working diligently to ensure that the Savannah Congress is outstanding and one that you and the family can greatly enjoy. It starts on Sunday, July 10, with an extended tour that includes visiting the Revolutionary Fort Morris. This small earthen fort was armed with cannons and manned by 200 Patriots. When the British demanded the fort’s surrender on Nov. 25, 1778, the defiant Col. John McIntosh replied, “Come and take it!” The British declined and withdrew to Florida. Forty-five days later, they returned with a superior force, and on Jan. 9, 1779, Fort Morris fell after a short but heavy bombardment. Following the Fort Morris Tour, we will travel a short distance to the Dorchester Civic Center, where we will have a delicious BBQ pork- and-chicken lunch from the Smokin’ Pig.
After lunch, the tour will move to the Midway Congregational Church, a large historic wooden church built in 1792 to replace an earlier church building burned by the British.
Compatriots interested in the Patriot Grave Marking Medal will have the opportunity to participate after we tour the church and see the historic cemetery where many Patriots are buried. Our stop there will include grave- marking ceremonies for five brave Patriots.
Congress will begin a day later than is typical but will follow the usual order, with registration starting on Saturday, July 9, and host reception on Sunday, July 10. The First Lady’s Tea, Rumbaugh Orations and Memorial Service will be Monday, July 11. On Tuesday, July 12, is the youth luncheon, followed by the Ladies’ Luncheon on Wednesday, July 13. On July 14, at the President General’s dinner, Dr. John Derden will give a brief overview of Savannah in the Revolutionary War and George Washington’s 1791 Savannah visit. Following Dr. Derden, we anticipate having another extraordinary guest speaker!
Also, during the Congress, we will be dedicating two SAR park benches that will help highlight significant historical events. One SAR park bench has been placed in Tricentennial Revolutionary Park, and it commemorates all the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Savannah and the British withdrawal of July 11, 1782. Another SAR park bench is being placed in Johnson Square, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of this great country.
The Johnson Square SAR bench will be close to the famous Johnny Mercer bench. Mercer, who lived in Savannah, co-wrote the renowned song “Moon River” and many other songs and plays. These benches are in high-pedestrian areas and will get much use and bring positive name recognition to the SAR. Johnson Square is Savannah’s largest and oldest park square and is home to the Gen. Nathanael Greene monument and historical markers to George Washington’s 1791 visit. It’s also across the street from Christ Church, where Washington attended services just before his departure.
Washington’s visit to Savannah is one of the main themes of the Savannah Congress. The George Washington Endowment Fund, the Georgia Fellows Fund, and many personal and chapter donations have allowed us to commission a painting by well-known historical artist Jeff Trexler of Pennsylvania. Signed and unsigned copies will be available at Congress. The picture will show Washington triumphantly walking up the cobblestone street from the docks, smiling with his tri-horn hat, waving at the assembled soldiers and
public who have come to greet him. The painting is full of historical details from his visit that have never been done before; thus, it will be unique and instantly a collector’s item to cherish.
We are planning a memorable Congress in Savannah, so please join us! Please refer to the two previous Savannah SAR Magazine stories for additional information, and links to those stories are included at www.gasocietysar.com under Congress. Refer to the updated program for the exact time of events.
We greatly look forward to seeing you in Savannah. Y’all, come on down!