SAVANNAH, GA – MAY 4, 2021 – Historic Savannah Foundation officially kicked off its local celebration of National Historic Preservation Month today, alongside tourism and hospitality partners, during a media call at the historic Kennedy Pharmacy, which is undergoing restoration.
Joining HSF President & CEO Sue Adler at the event were Visit Savannah President Joe Marinelli, Tourism Leadership Council President & CEO Michael Owens, HSF Board Chair Josh Brooks, and Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle. Adler, who hosted the media call and served as emcee, welcomed the attendees and focused on the history and mission behind Preservation Month. She also introduced representatives from and talked about the various community entities and businesses that have offered support or partnership opportunities to HSF.
Marinelli thanked HSF for its contributions to the community, especially in the Broughton Street area, where a major project is happening at the Kennedy Pharmacy.
“Preservation, and specifically historic preservation, is a major reason why Savannah attracts millions of visitors each year. We are excited to see the Historic Savannah Foundation continue the tradition of celebrating Preservation Month and all the programming and promotions that go with it. We also look forward to the return of the Kennedy Pharmacy Addition and the new Davenport House Urban Enslaved Exhibit to Broughton Street and the overall Savannah visitor experience. Not only will these two fine venues help to attract more visitor traffic to that area of the historic landmark district, but they also serve to help illustrate and tell the story of a very important part of our city, and our nation’s history,” Marinelli said.
Owens focused on the complementary relationship between historic preservation and tourism.
“While it may be a new trend in other communities, heritage tourism has long been a mainstay for Savannah. As the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wane, our community is again welcoming visitors who experience firsthand the results of a community who embraces history and preservation. People choose travel destinations carefully and want to experience them authentically — by exploring the special places, activities and artifacts that give a community character and capture its history. Here in Savannah, HSF has done an excellent job of preserving and telling our city’s stories for everyone, residents and visitors alike, to enjoy. Well-maintained historic buildings have intrinsic social and economic value and nowhere is that more evident than here in the Hostess City,” said Owens.
Brooks, HSF Board Chair and owner of Brooks Construction, provided an update on the construction of the new Murray C. Perlman & Wayne C. Spear Center/Kennedy Pharmacy addition and the Urban Enslaved Exhibit, which HSF broke ground on in December 2020.
“We have the distinct privilege to work alongside some of the city’s most talented professionals on such a landmark project. The work is progressing well and on schedule. Our team, alongside local preservationists and HSF, has worked diligently to catalog and preserve all existing details. The team has also documented the entire construction process for future generations. We are grateful to all the donors and volunteers that made this possible. When finished, we’ll have a beautiful blend of historical details with modern amenities,” Brooks said.
Credle knows this project will have a big impact on the Davenport House Museum and all the visitors they welcome.
“The house tells the story of early 19th century daily life in the port city of Savannah, but there is more to that story. Over the years, through scholarly research, the museum has broadened the story it tells to include all 23 members of the Davenport household, including the 13 enslaved workers owned by the Davenports. The new center and the Urban Enslaved Exhibit will allow us the space needed to properly pay tribute to the oft-overlooked members of the household,” Credle said.
Adler closed the kick-off event with a few announcements, including some exciting information about HSF’s ever-popular Annual Gala.
“HSF is planning a return of our Gala in 2021, and it will take place on Oct. 16 at the Kehoe Iron Works. We also want to remind everyone that invitations to the 2021 Gala will only be available to HSF members, so please remember to join or renew your membership by July 1,” Adler said before thanking the audience and encouraging attendees to view the artistic renderings of what the finished Murray C. Perlman & Wayne C. Spear Center/Kennedy Pharmacy addition will look like. She also expressed gratitude for HSF’s Historic Preservation Month sponsors: K Machine Industrial Services, Brooks Construction Group, LLC, CS HURD Electrical Contracting, Felder & Associates, Mingledorff’s, Nancy & Gary Radke, Kole Management Company, Georgia Power, Minis & Company Investment Advisors, Cabretta Capital, Shamrock Drones and Lesley Francis PR.
In addition to today’s media call, HSF is looking forward to an exciting slate of Preservation Month activities, including Springtime Tea at the Davenports and the Early Bird’s Preservation Walking Tours of the Landmark Historic District’s East Side, both of which are open to the public. HSF’s Annual Preservation Awards will be celebrated once again in a virtual format with an online ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 13. It will initially be made available to an exclusive group of HSF members and supporters, with a recording to be made available to the general public later that week.
For more information on any of the Preservation Month events or activities, please visit myhsf.org, call 912-233-7787, and follow HSF on their social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Historic Savannah Foundation, a leading nonprofit preservation and cultural institution, saves buildings, places, and stories that define Savannah’s past, present, and future. Following its formation in 1955, the organization started a Revolving Fund to save endangered historic properties, now totaling nearly 410 buildings throughout several of Savannah’s historic districts. HSF continues to build capacity within its operations, secure new financial resources, improve its image and visibility, and increase public policy efforts to protect Savannah’s historic districts. For more information about the work of the Historic Savannah Foundation, visit www.myhsf.org.