Preservationists are calling this a wakeup call for the Hostess City of the South.

Meghan Overdeep
March 23, 2018
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The city of Savannah is in hot water.

The National Park Service has recommended that Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District—the one-mile area that stretches from Gwinnet to the River and MLK, Jr. Blvd. to East Broad Street— be placed on the “Threatened (Priority 1 List).” Put simply, this means that the city’s iconic historic district “has suffered or is in imminent danger of a severe loss of integrity." According to WTOL, a district is moved to this list before becoming in danger of losing its National Historic Landmark listing.

“The loss of National Historic Landmark status would be analogous to a major league sport team being demoted to the minor league," Dr. Robin Williams, Savannah College of Art and Design Architectural History Chair, told Connect Savannah. "To see Savannah’s historical significance thus diminished would be very unfortunate.”

There are reportedly two reasons for the historical district’s fall from grace: The loss of James Oglethorpe's original town plan dating back to the colony's founding in 1733; and large-scale development.

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Savannah, it would seem, has become a victim of its own success. Since the 60s, at least 28 buildings within the district have been demolished and buildings have been constructed which don’t follow the town plan.  More than a dozen hotels have been built and up to 15 are in the works.

Preservationists are calling this a wakeup call for the Hostess City of the South.

"This assessment is—in part—the result of going too long without a check-up... It’s not too late, but we need to start dieting and exercising,” Historic Savannah Foundation Director Daniel Carey told Connect Savannah. “That diet, it appears, is what the National Park Service is prescribing: go lighter on big infill and take care of Oglethorpe’s Plan."