The Savannah Cotton Exchange

The original Savannah Cotton Exchange was built 1872, but the structure has been added too and renovated a few times so who knows who was doing what, when and why. The current two-story building is a combo construction of ballast stonework on the lower River Street level and brick on upper Bay Street level. In the olden days the ships unloaded the shipped merchandise from the river and moved it to Factor’s Walk where factors (buyers) made purchases at the exchange.

The Savannah Cotton Exchange was a symbol of importance of the cotton industry in Savannah and was originally called King Cotton’s Palace and by 1880 the area was known as the Wall Street of the South. In the 1920’s the boll weevil did some weevil-evil-cotton-eating devastation to the cotton industry and the old exchange closed.

Today the building serves the tourist industry with retail stores, antique shops and a tavern. The living people enjoy shopping, dining and drinking in the Cotton Exchange, but the dead folks also seem to like hanging around.

Renovations were done after a fire in the building and it sort of stirred up some ghostly trouble. Now people hear footsteps when no one is there and the sounds of crying babies. In the tavern there are reports of flying bread loaves, deadly ice-cream scoopers, unexplainable falling objects and the volume on the radio randomly changes.

A ghostly woman in a long white dress has been seen descending the staircase and another ghost is thought to be Oompah, an old clockmaker who liked to visit the tavern for his morning coffee. The strong smell of coffee sometimes fills the tavern before anyone has turned on the pot.

On Bay Street the impressive old Savannah Cotton Exchange has a beautiful red terra cotta winged lion fountain in front surrounded by a fence with medallions of poets and presidents.

The original terra cotta lion, which dated to 1890, was shattered by a car that sped north on Drayton Street, jumped the curb at Bay Street, knocked down a section of wrought-iron fencing, obliterated the winged lion, snapped a lamppost in half, soared over a pedestrian walkway and came to a grinding halt at the front steps of the Savannah Cotton Exchange.

The most amazing part of the accident was that the driver was a native Savannahian, not a tourist and nobody died, which was fortunate otherwise there might be more ghosts haunting the old Savannah Cotton Exchange.

 

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Casting The Gift Net

I enjoying fishing in the tidal creeks around Savannah, but buying bait (shrimp and mullet) can become expensive. I decided to do what the locals do and learn to throw a cast net to get free bait that God so graciously put in the water for me.

Casting a net is no simple task. It requires practice to acquire the skills needed to toss out a perfect circle, tighten it up and haul in the bait.

To learn this skill I watched YouTube videos, asked questions, observed other cast netters, and I practiced, practiced and practiced until I was able to cast out my net and catch live free bait to go fishing.

The next trick was finding the bait to catch. I learned a bit about catching mullet (little 1-3″ fish) and found a creek that provided a good supply, but I had not been able to find a source for catching shrimp. I really wanted bait shrimp, but I couldn’t find any.

My perfect mullet spot was popular not only for me, but for another cast netter and often he’d be there first and he’d get all the mullet or we’d cast our nets in the same place and scare all the bait away. One day I got so mad that he was in my casting spot that I said, “forget it, I’ll find another mullet hole!” and I went to a different place.

I didn’t have much faith in this new place because it was not a good environment for little bait fish, but I cast out my net and to my delight and surprise… I pulled up a cast net heavy with shrimp! After only a few more casts I had a bucket of bait shrimp!

This wonderful new spot became a shrimp goldmine throughout the fishing season.

I’m grateful to the fisherman who forced me out of my favorite mullet hole because that was how I received the wonderful unexpected gift of the perfect shrimp casting hole.

Sometimes you never know how or where gifts will come to you, so my advice is Go forth… cast a wide net… see what ya get… and be thankful for cast net gifts.

The Ghost of Alice Riley

AliceRiley

In Savannah, under 9 W York Street, is the burial place for Alice Riley. But apparently, according to local tour guides, Alice doesn’t always stay put and rises up from the dead to haunt Wright Square. She was hanged on Jan 19, 1735 in the gallows for her participation in the murder of William Wise, of which she naturally claims her innocence, and that is the reason for her unrest.

The murder of William Wise was carried out by Alice and her boyfriend Richard White. Alice and Richard were poor Irish immigrant servants who worked for old sickly William Wise (the villain with the long white hair) on Hutchinson Island. They were tired of tending to his bathing needs and decided to steal his wealth and run away to Charleston. Richard strangled him with a handkerchief and Alice finished the job by drowning him in the bathtub, but they discovered that William Wise was poor and instead of making it to Charleston, they ended up in jail.

Richard White was hanged almost immediately, but Alice was pregnant and the judge decided she would be executed after the baby was born. She gave birth to a son, and even as she claimed her innocence, she was hanged. Her son died six weeks later and is buried beside her.

So, why does Alice Riley’s ghost haunt Savannah?

They (ghost specialist) say she is searching for her lost baby (buried beside her) and her ghostly form appears to pregnant women and mothers with infants because she wants to steal their babies.

They (ghost specialist) say it took her three days to die hanging in the gallows, and when she finally did die, her body mysteriously disappeared (under 9 W York Street).

They (ghost specialist) say Alice Riley cursed Savannah because she was innocent and Spanish moss won’t grow on a tree where innocent blood has been spilled. I’ve been in Wright Square many times and there isn’t one tree without Spanish moss on it! Which makes me thinks she might not be so innocent.

I love Savannah ghosts stories – I’ve even made up a few of my own.

Dead Man’s Fingers Roll’n Around Savannah

Dead Man’s Fingers Roll’n Around Savannah

I bought advertisement space on the back of a Pedicab for May-June-July to help generate interest in my book. Maybe it will increase books sales, or maybe not, but it sure is fun to see the ad zip by.

Below are excerpts from Dead Man’s Fingers where pedicaps are mentioned.

* * * * *

     A pedicab was a three-wheeled bike with a carriage seat on the back. A person, usually a healthy young college student, pedaled passengers to their destinations for a minimal charge. It was not uncommon to have two or more pedicabs engaged in a heated race across town with their excited passengers encouraging them to “Go faster!”

* * * * *

     Lisa had to make up for lost time and her feet could not get her to Wright Square fast enough. She decided to seize a pedicab, but the only one nearby was being used. She did not let that foil her plans. To get a pedicab from someone else required her to be anything except a nice young lady, but that was not a problem since Lisa was no longer being polite. She asked the driver on the seat if she could borrow his pedicab.

“Hell, no! I got people in the back,” he answered.
“I just need it for a moment. I will bring it back. The people can get out,” Lisa said.
A lady in a pretty green dress with a silk flower in her hair and two little girls, Thing 1 and Thing 2, were seated comfortably in the pedicab.
Lisa asked the lady to get out.
“No. The girls want to go for a ride around City Market,” Debbie Nyman told her.
“It is better to walk,” Lisa suggested.
“No. We want to ride. Get your own pedicab.”
“There are no more pedicabs available.”
“Sorry, this is ours.”
“I’m in a hurry.”
“Then run fast.”
Lisa didn’t have time to argue about it anymore. She dragged the lady out of the pedicab.
Debbie Nyman kicked, screamed, and held onto the bike, refusing to let go. She smacked Lisa on the shoulders and back.
It seemed hopeless until Lisa realized she needed a better strategy to acquire the pedicab. She gripped Thing 1 and Thing 2 and whisked them out of the pedicab.
The girls jumped up and down, crying while their mother continued to smack the pedicab thief.
Lisa pushed the driver off the pedicap seat and hopped on the bike. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Lisa called behind her and pedaled as fast as she could to Wright Square. She rang the little bell on the handlebars for everyone to get the hell out of her way.
Lisa left behind an angry lady, two crying children, and an irate, foul-mouthed, yelling pedicab driver.

* * * * *

     The police cruiser screeched to a halt. Terrence and Rookie B. Cool got out just as a pedicab crashed into their back bumper.
Lisa was thrown off the pedicab and tumbled into the rose bushes. She stood up, stunned, dazed, and tangled up in thorns and pink rose petals. She had an 8 1/2 x 11 invitation to the art show at the Jepson stuck on her chest.