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|Figure 1 The Armstrong House fence, above, |
compared to the fence around
Buckingham Palace below.
History is as history does but sometimes history does as others remember. And, it may not be all that glaring. This one is part of the official city test one must pass to gain a tour license. The test book reads, “GENERAL JAMES EDWARD OGLETHORPE officially founded Savannah in 1733.”……. Technically it’s not true. Perhaps it’s, shall we say, “nit-picky,” but in 1733 Oglethorpe was actually, Colonel James Edward Oglethorpe (Figure 2). He wasn’t promoted to brigadier general in 1743, ten years after founding the colony. So it’s a minor point. I call it a near myth and a bit petty, but hey, truth is… well, the truth.
However, there are also several complete misses floating around the streets and squares of this unique, beautiful and extremely historic town. I will admit to having stated them as fact in years past and should have checked them out. As the newspaper editor says to Jimmy Stewart in the movie, Liberty Valence, “When legend becomes fact, print the legend.” But in history facts are… in fact… facts! Rewriting the narrative for its correction is not revisionist history, it is the rectification of history. Remember, this will be on a pop quiz later this week.
Myth number one -- The fence around the Armstrong House is a replica of the fence around London’s Buckingham Palace… You will hear it daily as groups stroll and roll past the grand building on the Bull Street corner across from Forsyth Park. In reality - and to give credit - both fences are made of metal with lance-shaped metal bars. (See Figure 1)