The narrow streets of Savannah are built into squares. To date, there are twenty-two of these wards that have each been named in memory of someone of historical importance. Residential buildings were erected in this way to avoid a disaster like the Great Fire of London.
Known for its eye-pleasing beauty, Savannah’s most famous square is Forsyth Park. Covering 30 acres of land, this park is a stunning setting for couples to get married and for children to play.
Forsyth Park’s Horrible History
On the west side stands the Forsyth Park Inn. Built in 1896, this building was originally named the Queen Victorian Inn and on the East; the Forsyth Mansion is situated. As little as 0.1 miles from The Mansion is the Old Chandler hospital. Now, a law school.
In 1876, when Yellow Fever took hold, there was a multitude of deaths. As the hospital became overwhelmed with the number of bodies their only option became building tunnels beneath it. Although the tunnels are now blocked off for health and safety, they remain available for tourists.
Allegedly, the tunnels were used to carry the deceased out of the hospital where they were stacked up underneath the park until mass secret burials could take place. It is said that when visiting the mansion on Forsyth the ghosts of the departed can be heard in the tunnels beneath your feet.
The Forsyth Park Inn holds a more sinister story. Along with the tunnels that lay directly beneath it, the ghost of Lottie, a 14-year-old girl, is said to be meandering the halls and gardens.
A Haunting Tale
It was built by captain Aaron Churchill, also known as ‘Rudder’ Churchill, and his wife Lois when they became married in 1874. Captain Churchill became notorious as a first mate on his uncle’s ship. During the stormy seas, the rudder broke not once but eight times. Churchill was able to save the crew from impending danger. Signs of his history can be seen throughout the house in the form of rope motifs and balusters made from twisted ropes. On his return, Churchill started to invest in plantations of cotton and invented new ways to wrap the cotton tightly.
Churchill was known to be a generous man who held high regard for people who were in the armed services. During the war, his company guaranteed anyone leaving to fight a job on their return, on the same salary. In the meantime continuing to pay the spouse half of their salary.
As he and his wife Lois were unable to have children they adopted their niece, Lottie in 1899. Shortly after this adoption, Lois’ sister Anna moved into Forsyth Park Inn to recover from a long illness.
It is alleged that one night Lottie saw her uncle embracing Anna and not Lois. Lottie, being angry with this turn of events, wanted to ensure that she could remain with Captain Churchill and Lois.
After some planning, legend states that Lottie poisoned Anna with Orleanda during afternoon tea. Anna soon collapsed and died in front of Lottie’s eyes. Lottie was very pleased with this outcome until after the funeral when she was told that Anna was in fact her mother. Lottie was unable to handle the guilt of having killed her mother and this is claimed to be the reason that she turned insane and had to be institutionalised for the rest of her life.
The Hauntings of Forsyth Park
Known as the most haunted place in Georgia, Forsyth Square has had its share of sightings. Now a bed and breakfast, the ghosts of Forsyth Park Inn are not mentioned in the brochure. One look online however and the hauntings cannot be denied. Reviews describe various experiences where guests have seen either Lottie or Anna in an unrestful state. Lottie is apparently so shy that she will disappear when seen.
The current owners, Lori and Richard Blass, who purchased the Inn in January 2000, along with many guests claim to have seen Lottie wandering the halls and garden. They all describe her as looking like her 14-year-old self. The age that she took her mother’s life.
Lori has had several experiences, one of which took place in the kitchen. When looking for her keys, which were usually placed on a specific hook, she was about to give up when the kitchen door suddenly opened and the keys were flung at her. They fell to her feet.
A couple who stayed at the Inn reportedly saw the television in their room turn on by itself one night. The TV then switched off and on again. With no one touching the remote, they saw the channel change to a program showing the outcome of a trial where a man was accused of killing his pregnant wife.