Where the colony of Georgia began.
Paved with 250-year-old cobblestones historic River Street is situated along the Savannah River. This is where the colony of Georgia was founded in 1733 and the location of the original Port of Savannah. In the 1700s it was the main location for goods coming into the city and by the mid-1800s Savannah was the leading exporter of cotton in the world. The four and five story buildings along the waterfront were cotton warehouses.
Located between Bay Street and River Street is a series of iron and concrete walkways, known as Factors Walk, connecting the buildings to the bluff. Ramps leading from Bay Street down the bluff to River Street are paved with cobblestones, brought as ballast and abandoned on the riverbanks by departing sailing ships. The people who set the prices for cotton and many other exports were called Factors, which is how this area got its name.
Abandoned for over a century, the area was rediscovered in the 1970s by local landowners and urban planners determined to revive the history and prosperity of Savannah’s Waterfront.
In June of 1977, at a cost of $7 million, a new waterfront plaza was unveiled. Some 80,000 square feet of empty abandoned warehouse space was transformed into a variety of shops, restaurants, bars and art galleries. This urban-renewal project helped stabilize downtown and was a large part of the revitalization of Savannah’s Historic District.
River Street is one of the busiest streets in Savannah. Partly this is because it is the place where a lot of things are happening: riverfront Rousakis Plaza is the venue for dozens of events and festivals. The waterfront plaza offers a pleasant opportunity to stroll with views over the Savannah River. There’s always a reason to come down to Savannah’s Waterfront!
Savannah’s Waterfront is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, preservation and success of the restaurants, retail shops, tours and hotels along River Street, Factors Walk, Bay Street and Hutchinson Island.
Formed in 1973 as a non-profit charitable organization composed of proprietors, property owners and other stakeholders the organization was created to:
- Preserve and maintain the waterfront’s historic character
- Maintain and improve the waterfront’s scenic nature and appearance
- Promote and stimulate public interest in the waterfront
- Promote cooperation and mutual assistance among property owners and businesses along the waterfront