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What’s in a name? sometimes neglected history

April 6, 2012

Road names and place names often preserve a history that is otherwise forgotten, and for me, often provide a stepping stone to discovering that history.  Drivers on Skidaway Road may not contemplate that the road doesn’t actually go to Skidaway Island, but it used to go there.  During the war between the states, the union army landed on Skidaway Island and the bridge across the river, leading to Savannah, was burned as a defensive measure.  It was never rebuilt.  A recent LIDAR study by the Wormsloe Institute for Environmental History reveals the route of the bridge from Isle of Hope, across Long Island to Skidaway, and vestiges of the bridge head can now be accessed by a new hiking trail at Wormsloe State Historic Site.  The Lovell Brick Company, the last producer of “Savannah Grey” brick is long gone but driving west out of town on Louisville Road brings one to Clay Street and Brickyard Street where the bricks were made over a century ago.  On the northeast corner of White Marsh Island, Battery Circle marks the location of the Confederate battery.  It’s still there if you know where to look.  Like Skidaway Road, names don’t always make sense at first.  I was bothered by the fact that there are no shad in the Shad River on Wilmington Island until I discovered that the name doesn’t refer to fish but to the Shaad family that settled on the island during the colonial period.  An unresolved riddle is Magazine Road on the west side of Savannah.  No magazine.  The old city magazine, once used for storing explosives for construction projects, still stands on Ogeechee Road.  I suspect that there was an earlier magazine on Magazine Road but confirming that theory will have to wait until my next trip to the historical society.

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