Oatland Island, Savannah

Oatland Island GA Retirement Home Brotherhood of Railroad Conductors 1927 The General's Daughter John Travolta Movie Set Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Photography Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Built in 1927 as a retirement home for the Brotherhood of Railroad Conductors, the “main building” today serves as an educational center for the surrounding Oatland Island Wildlife Center. It is quite typical of institutional architecture of its era and subsequently served as a Public Health Service hospital in World War II. Until being surplussed in 1973, it was used as a development laboratory by the Centers for Disease Control. The Chatham County Board of Education has owned it since then and it serves over 20,000 students and visitors each year as a wildlife education facility today. To movie buffs, the building may be familiar to viewers of the John Travolta movie, The General’s Daughter, as it was used as a set location. And Martha Barnes adds this interesting bit of Savannah trivia: People who read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will remember the main building as where Luther Driggers worked and actually developed the chemical used in today’s flea collars, but in the book he was always about to poison Savannah’s water supply.

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Oatland Island GA Entrance to Wildlife Center Water Tower Soon to be Removed Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Carol Suttle, a Savannah native and Oatland’s most enthusiastic ambassador, contacted me several months ago about photographing the old water tower at the entrance to the center; it’s scheduled to be demolished and it’s one of her favorite structures on the island. Touring the island and its natural features with Carol and photographer Mike McCall was a real treat, and I hope to revisit in the future. Located just past downtown Savannah on the Islands Expressway, it’s often overlooked by tourists heading to Tybee Island but is well worth a visit! See the link at the end of this post for specifics about admission and other particulars.

Oatland Island GA Old Water Tower Soon to be Removed Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013______________________________________

Of particular interest to viewers of Vanishing South Georgia is the Heritage Homesite located on the nature trail at Oatland Island Wildlife Center.

Oatland Island GA Heritage Homesite David Delk Gum Branch Liberty County 1835 Pioneer Farmhouse Reconstruction Relocated 1979 Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

David Delk, Jr., built this cabin in 1837 in the Taylor’s Creek community near Gum Branch in Liberty County. It was moved and reconstructed here by the Youth Conservation Corps in 1979. The layout is of the Scots/Irish or “shotgun” design (not to be confused with the more common and more recent shotgun “house”), a vernacular form common in early Georgia. The mud-and-stick chimney was a utilitarian design which employed the use of locally available materials.

Oatland Island GA Heritage Homesite David Delk Gum Branch Liberty County 1835 Pioneer Farmhouse Reconstruction Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Martha Phillips Youngblood writes that the corn crib pictured below was originally owned by her grandfather, Thomas Hilton Phillips, and was moved here from Treutlen County.

Oatland Island GA Heritage Homesite Pioneer Log Barn Reconstruction Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013________________________________________________________

Oatland Island GA Wildlife Center Native Species Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), as well as wolves and bison can be easily seen on the property, as well as this beautiful view of Richardson Creek.

Oatland Island GA Richardson Creek Atlantic Coastal Inlet Spartina Marsh Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

More photos will soon be posted on Vanishing Coastal Georgia.

http://internet.savannah.chatham.k12.ga.us/schools/oat/default.aspx

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9 Comments

Filed under --CHATHAM COUNTY GA--, Oatland Island GA

9 responses to “Oatland Island, Savannah

  1. Pingback: Looking for the Little Details Can Make a Big Difference | I see beauty all around by rob paine

  2. Thanks for letting us know about a often overlooked island. On the list for my next coastal trip!

  3. Nice shots – as always, Brian, and the history lesson with it is…priceless. Thanks!

  4. Martha P. Youngblood

    By the way, when I was litlle (a toddler), Daddy used the middle section of the barn as a corncrib (he had lined it with tin) and I remember old farm implements under the two outside sections.

  5. Martha P. Youngblood

    Love these pictures!!! By the way, the old barn you photographed belonged to my grandfather, Thomas Hilton Phillips. It was originally located on my Daddy’s farm in Treutlen County. My parents donated it to Oatland when I was in my early teens (over 30 years ago). Thanks for posting the picture — it’s very nice!

  6. Interesting about the old water tower. You can see it from a certain angle at Bonventure Cemetery, across the Wilmington River. People who read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” will remember the main building as where Luther Driggers worked and actually developed the chemical used in today’s flea collars, but in the book he was always about to poison Savannah’s water supply. ( “Midnight,” by the way is to open on Broadway in January of net year as a musical.)
    Just love your photos and look forward to seeing them in my e-mail. Thank you.

  7. I’m new to the site and I really enjoy your wonderful pictures.

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