Georgia Historical Society to Dedicate New Historical Marker Recognizing Pine Gardens and Savannah's Defense Community

Staff Report

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) will dedicate a new historical marker that recognizes Pine Gardens and Savannah’s Defense Community on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in partnership with the Chatham County Board of Education and the Eli Whitney Alumni Association. The dedication is open to the public and will take place at 2 Laura Avenue in Savannah at 10:00 a.m.

“Pine Gardens neighborhood housed the workers and families who built Liberty Ships during World War II,” says Elyse Butler, GHS Marker Manager. “The Pine Gardens and Savannah’s Defense Community historical marker reminds us of the important role that the people of Savannah played in the war’s home front effort.”

During World War II, United States defense industries expanded, attracting civilian workers nationwide who sought home front employment opportunities. In Savannah, the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation operated as one of only eighteen companies in the nation to manufacture Liberty Ships, merchant vessels built inexpensively and efficiently to support the war effort. At any given time during its wartime operations, the corporation employed around 15,000 people. To accommodate its workers, Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation built the Pine Gardens Defense Community to provide not only attractive, affordable housing on ample lots, but also community amenities for its workers. The community remained, growing after the war to include an annex and the Eli Whitney School. Today Pine Gardens is one of the largest intact defense communities in Georgia.

To learn more about the Pine Gardens and Savannah's Defense Community historical marker, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications at the Georgia Historical Society, at 912-651-2125 ext. 153 or [email protected].