SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - May is National Historic Preservation Month and it’s no secret the past is very present in Savannah. This month is all about celebrating what makes the Hostess City unique.
“It’s extraordinary that in Savannah the way we build is by preserving our past and I don’t think there’s any other community that has more dedicated individuals and organizations to preserve not just the aesthetics, and not just the history, but our culture through our storytelling and our placemaking,” said Michael Owens, President and CEO of Tourism Leadership Council.
Restoration continues on the Historic Savannah Foundation’s Kennedy Pharmacy which is scheduled to be complete by December. The $1.3 million project will add an Urban Enslaved Exhibit and gift shop to the Davenport House next door.
“It’s not only professionally fulfilling, but personally fulfilling to just have the opportunity to work on such a landmark project and to turn it back into a public space,” said Josh Brooks, owner of Brooks Construction and the HSF Board Chair.
Tourism leaders say these efforts are why so many people come to visit Savannah. To see our history, hear our stories and experience the preservation. They say with Georgia being one of the first states to open for business, they’ve seen a big return.
“We’ve been very, very pleased with how our tourism numbers, especially on the weekends, have really begun to pick back up again. Of course the early part of the week is still a little softer without business traveling, conventions and meetings, but anybody that’s been in the Historic District over the last four, five, six months on the weekends certainly knows that folks are coming back. They are rediscovering our city again, and they are spending money and having fun while they’re here,” said Joe Marinelli, President of Visit Savannah.
Tourism officials say one of the big reasons people choose Savannah is because of its history so we must continue our preservation efforts to move forward. There is a Coastal Historic Survey meeting happening over Zoom on Tuesday to explore the unincorporated areas east of Interstate 95. Members want the community’s help finding resources as National Historic Preservation Month kicks off.