The city is one of the nicest laid out I have ever seen with 24 squares around which houses and roads circle. Originally they were meant to be meeting places and a place to graze animals but now they are lovely green parks surrounded by stately southern homes and small businesses. Monuments are everywhere and the fountain at Forsythe park is fantastic!
The riverside area where shipping and ferries still ply the waters and capture the imagination is a fun area to hang out. The old colonial concrete streets made with oyster shells and walled by ballast stones from ships come to load up on cotton are still there. The Cotton Exchange with it’s numerous walkways and where cotton was bought and sold like stocks are today on Wall Street overlooks much of it. A man who could add and subtract could make his fortune there as a broker in it’s time.
Nearby is the Pirates House. Once a tavern where pirates reputedly hung out, it is now a well-known restaurant with excellent food. There was a time when this rustic tavern was the destination of tunnels under the city through which illegal rum was smuggled in and unfortunate sailors who had been invited in for a drink and then shanghaied were smuggled out. The tunnels were discovered after a cop got suspicious and visited the tavern. He was shanghaied and it took him 2 years to get back to report it.
There is a wonderful old house here which was actually built from a kit ordered through the Sears-Roebuck catalog. If you look close at the windows, you will notice they are installed upside-down. The instructions that came with the kit were followed to the letter but unfortunately, they were wrong!
Looking at the houses and squares, reminds me of being in the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.
Another good place to see is the local History Museum. Their 20 minute film is quite informative and the exhibits will teach you something I am sure. They have a cotton gin on display and a good display about mines used during the Civil War. I didn’t even know we had mines back then. The escape of southern soldiers across handmade pontoon bridges in the middle of the night while Sherman and the Union Army had them surrounded is talked about. There is also information concerning a World War II massacre of unarmed American soldiers who had surrendered by the German SS. If war history is not your thing, they have the bench used during filming of Forest Gump where he told his story and a great display of ladies hats through the years.
For lunch, the museum is attached to the Whistle Stop Cafe which is on board a real railroad dining car. You may eat on the car or the patio adjoining it. Since the museum and cafe are in the old train terminal, there is lots of atmosphere there. So what did I eat there? Why Hobo Stew of course. 🙂
Pictures from the museum are here.