While you’re enjoying a long weekend in Savannah during one of the city’s most beautiful seasons, have you ever wondered how Presidents’ Day got started? In 1885, the day was created to honor America’s first president George Washington. In 1971, the date was moved and changed to Presidents’ Day to honor all the presidents, and to give working Americans an extra three-day weekend as a break from long work weeks. The Presidents’ Day weekend presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy fresh green leaves appearing on Historic District trees and pink and white azaleas beginning to burst into bloom.
Presidents’ Day weekend is also the perfect time to follow in the first president’s footsteps and take a tour of the places Washington saw on his first and only visit to Georgia. In 1791, George Washington embarked on a tour of the newly united colonies to familiarize himself with each state’s people and culture. America’s first president had never been to Georgia before, given that there were more than 500 miles between the capital city of Savannah and his home at Mount Vernon in northern Virginia.
On his way into town, Washington stopped at nearby Mulberry Grove Plantation to visit his longtime friend Catharine Littlefield Greene, widow of Major General Nathanael Greene. A Rhode Island native, the Major General had passed away only on his plantation only five years before from heat stroke, not used to the Georgia sun and humidity. Although originally buried in downtown Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery, General Greene now rests in Johnson Square beneath a 50-foot marble obelisk dedicated to his service in the Continental Army.