Big Preservation Win In Savannah

This decrepit, yet fine old building, which has been smashed against a horrendous addition since 1968, has been uncovered and is being saved by John Marshall Law School of Atlanta.  It is to become main building of the Savannah Law School, which has already moved into an adjoining structure.
In 1791, the Georgia Legislature granted 5 acres around a Grand Oak, which still stands today, to found Georgia’s first hospital.  The original structure of 1803 was built for treatment of seamen and to house the poor. The institution may be the second oldest general hospital in continuous operation in the United States. During the Civil War, the Hospital was used for the care of wounded soldiers. A stockade was erected around the Great Oak for the confinement of Union prisoners. After Sherman’s occupation of Savannah and until 1866, the building served as a Union hospital. At different times it has been The Medical College of Georgia, Savannah Hospital, Savannah Medical College and finally, Bishop Warren A. Candler Hospital.

The original Hospital’s facade has been fully exposed for the first time in 45 years, as construction crews demolished the 1968 addition.  This will allow for the reopening of Huntingdon Street between Drayton and Abercorn streets, allowing for better community access to Savannah’s great Forsyth Park.  The project represents a “true preservation event,” according to Sarah Ward, the historic preservation director for the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission.


The Great Candler Oak’s canopy extends over 110 feet and is thought to be over 350 years old. It was designated a Georgia Landmark and Historic Tree status in 2001 and the National Register of Historic Trees in 2004.

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