River Street Inn

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Discover the River Street Inn with its rich industrial architectural heritage.

River Street Inn was constructed in the years leading up to the Civil War, when many settlers from around the world began expanding into the Old American West.

Perched above the Savannah River from the bluff overlooking popular River Street, the Inn’s past is intertwined with that of its historic surroundings. Since the building’s humble beginnings in 1817, the structure has stood adjacent to the Cotton Exchange and was used for the storing, grading and exporting of the city’s main export of the age: cotton. The original two floors were built of ballastones, and in 1853 the final three floors were added as office space for the expanding and prosperous cotton industry.

An intricate series of alleys, walks and bridges gave traders access to all floors. Known as “Factor’s Walk,” after the professionals who graded the cotton, these alleys and the riverside ballastone streets add to the Inn’s character. These stones were brought in as ballast in the numerous ships that traveled to Savannah from Europe and unloaded to make room for valuable cotton.

The surrounding buildings have a renewed life as shops, restaurants and taverns, each with their own special quality and the city’s famous squares are canopied by the towering moss-draped oaks and azaleas. The handsomely restored and renovated building opened as an inn in 1986.

  • About the Architecture +
    "The refreshing architectural complexity of Savannah’s River Street Inn reflects both the building’s importance in the late 1800s and the pragmatics of the cotton industry. Taking up an entire city block and wrapped around a gorgeous central atrium, the five-story structure first operated as a storing, grading, and exporting facility for cotton. The floors of the lower two levels were built in 1817 out of recycled ballast stone with wide, arched doorways to accommodate moving large bales of cotton, while the top three floors, added in 1853, have floor-to-ceiling windows to allow maximum light into what was once used as offices, for the factors. The intricate series of balconies that surround the top three floors - called “Factor’s Walk,” after the professionals who graded the cotton - let the workers observe the unloading and loading process. Today the building’s flickering gas lanterns and hardwood flooring in the lobby, reinforce the inn’s distinguished past, yet all the modern amenities of a luxury hotel are found within. "

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