Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sightseeing in Historical St Marys, Georgia

Wednesday, 10/19/11 - At least it wasn't raining this morning when we got up so that was enough encouragement for us to make our lunch and head out for St Marys which is about 15 miles from where we are staying.

St Marys is a very old and cute little town that dates back to the early 1800s that seems to be famous for a couple things. The ferry for Cumberland Island leaves from here twice a day. Cumberland Island is the largest of the Georgia Coast's Barrier Islands. There is camping, day trips, fishing, hiking, biking, wild horses, loggerhead turtle but unfortunately no transportation out there so for Will and I it would be hard to get around. The other thing is a submarine base very close to St Marys.

We decided to just walk down the main street of Osburne and see what was there. The first thing we ventured on was a Submarine Museum and since my old retiree breakfast buddy, Rog is a "very old" submarine guy we decided to go in and look around. It was 3 floors of everything you ever wanted to know and much more about Submarines. Much has been donated to the museum from old Navy Submarine guys from everywhere. It was incredibly interesting looking at all the different pictures and memorabilia and then we ventured onto Rog's old sub.....Queenfish SS393. That was so fun as I took pictures with my phone so I could send to Rog.....he did learn how to view them and we even talked on the phone while I was at the museum! I of course take pictures with my camera but unfortunately those will never be seen by anyone but me....way to many pics taken over the course of the trip.

After the submarine museum we hauled out our "famous" chairs and TV tray for our lunch and sat on the walkway overlooking the bay/inlet and had our lunch. Lots of boats coming in and out and we could even see submarines off in the distant at the base. We just love having lunch this way.

We then headed on to Orange Hall which was built in 1838 in a beautiful Greek Revival type of architecture. It takes it name for the large sour orange trees that at one time surrounded the entire property. It was purchased & built by Rev H. S. Pratt and his father in law, John Woods directly across the street from the Reverends church, First Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately the Reverends wife died very young of yellow fever leaving 2 children so the good Rev latter married the nanny, which also was the wife's cousin and they moved to Alabama where he took a faculty position at the University of Alabama. WOW

The house is very open and large, 9,000 sq feet with 12 fireplaces, one for each room. The main floor was a music parlor, study, dining area with an original Tiffany chandelier and front parlour room. The upstairs were 4 very large bedrooms and the basement were the servants quarters, wine cellar, kitchen and old dining hall. A wonderful Orange Hall society works very hard in restoring and staffing the house for tours.

The most interesting thing for me was the the third owners of the house were James Howard Becker, an automobile manufacturing tycoon from New York & his wife who lived there from 1919 to 1925. They were responsible for installing electricity in the house, the Tiffany Chandelier and adding a brick floor to the basement which had been just a dirt floor. Unfortunately, Mr. Becker fell out of favor in St Marys due to "local political disputes." Yes, we could have been related. Note: Becker is my maiden name.

We then headed over to the church across the street to see the church and the grave sites of the young wife and her mother and father. We then continued on the walk viewing the old, large historical homes and businesses along the main street. The entire town is decorated for Halloween and I must say the people in the South take Halloween very serious. Everywhere we go in the South they have amazing decorations. Several other old churches, an old Toonerville Trolley they have on display and finally we reached the end of the line where we started and our car was parked but before we departed we decided in indulge in a ice cream and watch the people and boats. A fun sightseeing day but the weather threatened rain (but never happened) and then the winds picked up.....there is a tornado in Florida right we headed home for a nap under a warm blanket. Much love to all our family and friends.

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