TWATL — Skidaway Today — SCAD Video — Savannah Morning News



(Photo Credit: Doug Herrick)

This Week At The Landings magazine, affectionately referred to by its acronym TWATL, has been in continuous weekly publication since September, 1983.  The magazine provides to the 8000 residents of The Landings and Skidaway Island a lighthearted romp through the gorgeous, gated community.

Weekly features of the magazine include Golf News and Tennis News from the head professionals, reports from the two major ladies golf groups, Landlovers News, New Neighbors News, recaps from the Skidaway Island Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, a crossword puzzle, a television listing guide unique to the Landings and a popular classified advertising section. Other regular, but non-weekly features, include biographical sketches of Landings residents, book reviews, a gardening column, a monthly birdwatch and Yacht Club happenings.

The Landings is on Skidaway Island, a 6500 acre barrier island, just south of historic Savannah, Georgia’s first city. The community was developed by The Branigar Organization, a subsidiary of the Union Camp Corporation. Six extraordinary golf courses, four clubhouses, thirty-four tennis courts, two full service deep water marinas, three swimming pools, and a fitness center serve as a playground for the estimated 8000 residents. Primarily a first home community, home prices range from $200,000 to over $3 million.

The residents are a mix of retirees and young professionals from all over the country, and the world. As many – most – of the residents are transplants, new places to shop, new professionals to hire and new services to contract must be found.




Article about The Landings’ Beginnings

Posted by Mary Beth Lupoli on May 3, 2009

Found this in an old copy of The Landings Journal (from April 1987):

Note that the Cracker Barrel referred to in the article was a little country store that stood by the North Gate. Back then, the North Gate was the main gate, as the Landings consisted on just Marshwood.


When the first Landings lots were put on the market in the spring of 1973, prospective buyers were shown the property from a four-wheel-drive Jeep by Harold Beck wearing a revolver on his hip. The Jeep, to traverse rough terrain; the gun, to guard against wild boars and rattlesnakes.

The only paved roads were Landings Way from the gate (the present North Gate) around to Wiley Bottom North and Priest Landing as far as the north end of Monastery. The sales office was in a trailer; the Observation Tower was going up; and there was no marina. Marshwood Club and golf course didn’t open until July of 1974.

One story that isn’t at all apocryphal (names are withheld to protect the innocent) has it that a current resident approached the trailer from which lot sales were made in the early 70’s determined to buy three lots at $5 thousand each. When his wife saw the primitive state of the development a difference of opinion occurred and she became so angry with her stubborn spouse that she wouldn’t get out of the car. With his nerve somewhat shaken our hero ended up making only one of the three buys he had intended. Dixie and Helen Little were the first settlers. Their house on Tything Man Lane is now occupied by Nora and Warren Elze.

By the spring of 1974, there were about 20 people plus hordes of gnats to attend the Easter Sunrise Service led by George Aiken at the Observation Tower. As the population increased, Easter morning was greeted from the 13th tee of Marshwood.

A great spirit of camaraderie prevailed among our hardy pioneers, and newcomers were welcomed warmly. Marshwood Club was available for pot luck suppers during the week, as the club served dinner only on the week-ends. There were cocktail parties at the Observation Tower and oyster roasts at the old pier at Priest Landing.


Neither mail nor newspapers were delivered to The Landings. Residents had to go to the post office on Waters for their mail, and the nearest source for a newspaper was in Sand Fly at the corner of Ferguson and Skidaway. There were no street lights; taking the dog for an evening stroll was distinctly spooky.

In addition to the aforementioned boars and snakes, the fauna scene included raccoons, alligators, wild turkeys, water birds, possums, squirrels (of course), deer galore, various lizards, a reported “painter” (colloquial term for a mountain lion or puma) plus myriad cther birds and small animals.

The engine of the first Skidaway Fire Station was housed in a temporary metal building where the Cracker Barrel now stands. When the Community Church was organized, Charles Shedd conducted services in the same building. The fire truck was obligingly backed out on Sunday mornings to make room for the congregation. A contest was held to select a name for the Cracker Barrel. Sue Hard was the winner, and she and her husband, Roger, were awarded dinner for four at Marshwood Club. The original Cracker Barrel was destroyed by fire a few years ago.

During 1974 and 1975, early residents took to gardening. Branigar temporarily turned over some land near the present 15th Marshwood green for use as garden plots, provided water and a generator at a modest fee, and put up a deer fence around the project. Over-enthusiastic planters swapped surplus produce.

When the Marshwood golf course opened, no tee times were necessary. Golfers could assemble a foursome at a moment’s notice, go to the club and tee off. Frank Thompson organized Sunday blitzes. During the 1974-1975 season the first ladies’ golf group was formed by Myrt Baker, Jean Beck, Sophia Gall and Sue Hard with about 20 members. The Nine Holers evolved in 1977-1978. The MMGA came into being in 1981.


Isle of Hope: Wormsloe and Bethesda – The Book

Posted by Mary Beth Lupoli on March 23, 2009

“Isle of Hope, Georgia, nine miles south of Savannah, is a charming settlement with a story reaching back into the 1700s. Visitors to the area marvel at scenic views along the Skidaway River, grand homes built by early Savannahians, numerous historic sites, abundant wildlife, and water sports. This treasured lifestyle is one that islanders have waged heated battles to protect, and their collective experience is celebrated within the pages of this impressive pictorial volume.An original land grant from King George II of England, photographs of early families, streetcars, Barbee’s Pavilion, the original Mysterious Santa Claus, sailboat racing, and more are among the many notable items included in Isle of Hope, Wormsloe, and Bethesda.

Wormsloe Plantation, home of Noble Jones built on land leased from the trustees of the colony of Georgia in 1736, is highlighted here, as well as the nearby community of Dutch Island, where Matthew Batson conducted his legendary aero-yacht experiments in 1913. Bethesda, founded in 1740 by Rev. George Whitefield and now America’s oldest existing home for boys, comes to life in vintage photographs and a touching poem written by an orphan in 1917. Images culled from both public and private collections evoke memories of a way of life almost extinct in today’s frantic world-a way of life held steadfast by the residents of this singular Georgia community.”


Interesting historical facts about the island

Posted by Chris Lupoli on February 9, 2008

Skidaway Island, an interior barrier island fronted by Wassaw Island, is home to Skidaway Island State Park, the world-renowned Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Center, and the largest coastal residential development in the Savannah area called The Landings. Though extensively developed by the Union Camp Corporation, the island today has one of the best state parks in Georgia, with two breathtakingly beautiful nature trails and a full complement of facilities. The Marine Extension Center has the best aquariums in the Savannah area and an excellent nature trail that follows Skidaway Narrows.

The 6,300-acre Pleistocene island is defined by the Wilmington River to the north, Skidaway Narrows to the west, the Vernon River to the south, and Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Island to the east. High ground on the island is roughly 8 miles long by 3 miles wide. Skidaway has had many different spellings throughout history. Some believe Oglethorpe named Skidaway in honor of his Indian friend Tomochichi’s wife, who was called Scenawki.

Older than Wassaw, Skidaway is one link in Georgia’s Pleistocene barrier island chain that would have been oceanfront property at some stage approximately 40,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. With the melting of the glacial ice and the rise in sea level, Skidaway’s younger sister Wassaw came into being approximately 5,000 years ago. The older, Pleistocene islands like Skidaway tend to be flatter with well-developed soils, whereas the younger, Holocene islands like Wassaw have many dune ridges and poor soils.

Skidaway, with its rich marsh filled with oysters, mussels, clams, and whelks, had long been a hunting and ceremonial ground for Timucua Indians that lived in the area. Archaeologists have found 56 sites on the island with evidence that Indians used the island at least 4,000 years before General Oglethorpe sailed up the Savannah River. Three ceremonial shell rings, dating back to 1750 b.c., have been found on the island. These rings are a type of New World pyramid and fewer than 20 of them have been discovered, all in the southeastern United States except for one in Ecuador.


The shell rings are perfectly symmetrical and uniform in height and thickness of wall. The interior centers of the rings were kept very clean and any debris found in them were left behind by later groups. The Timucua were targets of mission activities by the Spanish in the 1630s, and became extinct by the 1760s from European plagues and English-sponsored slaving. Paleontologists have also found on the island the fossils of Georgia’s megafauna, such as mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths, and native horses, which became extinct five to ten thousand years ago for reasons unclear today.

Oglethorpe assigned five families and six single men to Skidaway Island, and they built a small fort at the northern end of the island (later a fort would be built at the southern end of the island as well). The fort commanded the river, with one carriage gun and four swivel guns. Methodist founder John Wesley visited the area in 1736. Despite attempts to gain a foothold, by 1740, the island was abandoned when the pioneers were unsuccessful in farming the infertile soil. The next period of settlement was from 1754 to 1771, when 29 grants of land on Skidaway were issued to settlers who were to be more successful.

An early grantee was John Milledge, who established the plantation Modena, which is believed to be named for the Italian town that was the seat of the silk culture, an early industry on the Georgia coast. His son, John Jr., became a U.S. representative and senator, governor of Georgia, and founder of the University of Georgia, then called Franklin College. Modena Plantation survived until the mid-1800s, and today is the site of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Center. The Roebling family, whose great great grandfather engineered and built the Brooklyn Bridge, was one of the last owners of property. Locals still call the area Modena.

During the Revolutionary War, Skidaway saw a small skirmish when Patriots attacked and drove off a forage party of British Marines. Between the War for Independence and the Civil War, the area saw relative prosperity, with approximately 2,000 inhabitants and plantations producing cotton, indigo, corn, cattle, and hogs. During the Civil War, earthen batteries were established on the island to defend the southerners from northern attacks and the 4th Georgia Battery was posted here. (A battery can be toured on the Big Ferry Interpretive Trail at Skidaway Island State Park). With the success of the Union blockade in 1862, Skidaway was abandoned, and when the South lost the war and slavery was abolished, the plantations fell into ruin.

Black freedmen were the next to try their luck on Skidaway. These former slaves were assisted by the Freedman’s Bureau and Benedictine monks, the latter who established a monastery and school for black children near Priest’s Landing on the eastern side of the island. (Priest’s Landing is located at the end of Osca Road off of McWhorter Road.) A tidal wave in 1889 ruined the freshwater supply and farming failed from infertile soil and Skidaway was abandoned again. During Prohibition of the early 1900s, Skidaway became a prime bootlegging site because of its isolation. An abandoned still from this era is founded at Skidaway State Park on the Big Ferry Interpretive Trail.

In the war-torn, defeated rebel states, southerners had only their property and natural resources to climb out of poverty. The industrialized North had the financial and political advantage over its impoverished southern neighbors and used it across the South. Skidaway was no exception, and various northern interests gained control of the island in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The largest of these, Union Camp (then called Union Bag and Paper Corporation) consolidated its holdings and used Skidaway for pulpwood production in the 1940s.

By 1964, Union Camp had designs to develop residential property on the island, but Skidaway lacked a bridge that would provide easy access for cars. Union Camp offered to donate 500 acres to the state if Georgia would build a bridge to the island. Nothing came of this offer until 1967, when Union Camp donated 500 acres that became the site of Skidaway Island State Park. The bridge was built in 1971, and Union Camp subsequently developed the gated, residential golf community called The Landings, which today features six 18-hole golf courses.

Savannah for ePetrel

Heroes on the Homefront: The Landings Military Family Relief Fund

SAVANNAH, GA– The intentions of The Landings Military Family Relief Fund were spot on from its inception last January. The expectations, not quite.

“Our first goal was $40,000 and we met that in like two days actually,” said Jack Munroe, one of founders of the fund. “So then I started raising the bar and it just worked out wonderfully.”

Munroe is still surprised by the speed at which the fund he helped start with a group of Red Cross volunteers from The Landings grew, raising $137,000 within six weeks of fliers first being circulated throughout the community with individual donations ranging from $25 to $25,000.

But he is even more struck by the organization’s effectiveness in aiding the dependents of deployed soldiers in need of assistance.

“When a solider leaves, the spouse handles everything,” says Munroe. “That’s from all the bills paid, car accidents , all the things they’ve never dealt with. Eighteen percent of the troops at Hunter and Fort Stewart are 18 to 21-years-old. So, you can imagine, things go very badly with some young people.”

And The Landings Military Family Relief Fund helps deal with some of the most trying issues – the everyday emergencies that fall through the cracks of other military agencies.

The fund is administered by the Red Cross and thereby avoids administrative fees and distribute $100,000 of the money it takes in to people in need. It already has assisted more than 500 military family members through well over 100 individual claims in its first year.

“More than 60 percent of those requests have to do with basic maintenance expenses – rent, utilities, food, clothing, those sort of things,” says Robin Wingate, CEO of the Savannah Red Cross. “We’re averaging about a request a day now with soldiers or military wives who have a husband deployed and really help in circumstances when we know we’re the last resort. and what a great feeling.”

Munroe is already feeling good about the future of the fund.

He says a second fund-raising campaign is scheduled to start March 1 and that they already have promises of more generosity from the community that responded so well last time.

“It’s just a tribute to the people at The Landings responding to our neighbors, our soldiers and their dependents,” he says. “We just love the military and it shows.”

Reported by: Tim Guidera, tguidera@wtoc.comRead more of Tim’s stories here.


New Skidaway Island bridge contract delayed

Eric Curl | Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The construction of a new bridge to Skidaway Island recently hit a small setback, but residents should not be concerned, according to state officials.

A contract to design and build a high-span bridge onto the island will not be awarded for another two months, said David Spear, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation. The bid was supposed to be awarded last Friday but was delayed after a contractor questioned his company’s exclusion from the state’s list of qualified bidders.

That issue has been resolved, but bids will not be awarded until Sept. 18 to allow the new contractor adequate time to submit a bid, Spear said.

Spear said funding played no part in the delay, which he described as a “momentary pause.” Work could begin four to six weeks after the contract is awarded, Spear said.

He said the design-build contract expedites the project by allowing construction and some design to occur concurrently.

“This (design-build contract) will more than make up for the delay at the outset,” he said.

Skidaway Island residents and government officials have been pushing for the bridge to replace the drawbridge that currently serves as the only roadway onto the island. They are concerned the bridge, built about 40 years ago, will get stuck during an evacuation and strand the estimated 10,000 residents there.

Joyce Sharpe, who has lived on the island for 26 years, said her brother-in-law helped build the drawbridge. But Sharpe said she still wants to see it replaced with the new high-level span. Like others, Sharpe said she worries about islanders being stranded during a hurricane.

They need to start building the bridge as soon as they can, she said.


Savannah Morning News

The Savannah Morning News covers coastal Georgia, a number of inland counties, and a small portion of South Carolina. With a circulation of approximately 56,600 daily, and 70,000 on Sundays, the medium-sized paper is smaller than both the Augusta Chronicle and the Macon Telegraph. It has a newsroom staff of about seventy, and the paper’s lofty motto is “Light of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.”

During the tenure of Frank T. Anderson, who served as publisher from 1991 to 2005, the paper won the Georgia Press Association’s top award—first place in General Excellence—four times. National awards include Presbyterian College’s Hammet Award for “responsible, ethical and courageous work in broadcast or print journalism,” and the James K. Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism. Today, Julian Miller serves as publisher, and Susan Catron is executive editor.

To find a kindred spirit, the Savannah Morning News must look beyond Georgia to such other tourist meccas as New Orleans, Louisiana, and San Francisco, California, where newsstand sales also play an unusually important role in the local paper’s bottom line. With vacationers swelling the picturesque streets of Savannah throughout the year, the editors plan their editions with two distinct audiences in mind—longtime subscribers and out-of-towners looking for food and entertainment.

The Morning News stands apart from its Georgia brethren in other ways as well. Its religion pages are the most ecumenical in the state, a testament to the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Jewish communities with a long history in Savannah. Furthermore, an overall sense of separateness pervades the collective psyche of Savannah and Chatham County, where more liberal social attitudes and relaxed liquor laws contrast colorfully with the rest of rural Georgia. The newspaper, however, generally takes politically conservative stands on its editorial pages.


The newspaper was founded as the Daily Morning News in 1850 by William Tappan Thompson, who wrote the “Major Jones” series of humor stories. Except for a brief period during the Civil War (1861-65), Thompson edited the newspaper until his death in 1882. When the Civil War erupted, he vigorously championed the Southern cause until he was forced to leave Savannah in 1864, as Union general William T. Sherman’s soldiers approached the city on their march to the sea. In 1868 Thompson resumed the editorship of the newspaper, renamed the Savannah Morning News, and became a leading spokesman for the South during the Reconstruction years.

The paper’s most famous editor was Joel Chandler Harris (his title was actually associate editor), who went on to write the Uncle Remus tales. Harris, who was named second in command in 1870, was considered a muckraker for using the paper as a bully pulpit against dueling, a local chivalric tradition. In contrast to the typical media coverage of dueling at that time, which tended to romanticize it as a rite of manhood and honor, Harris’s reportage portrayed dueling as a misbegotten anachronism, and his articles led to its banning. Harris went on to work for the Atlanta Constitution.

In more recent times, the Morning News has conformed to the conglomerate-oriented trends of the day. In 1960 Southeastern Newspapers (later Morris Communications), an Augusta-based chain, bought the dominant morning paper and eventually merged it with the fading Savannah Evening Press. The merger, allowed by the Newspaper Preservation Act, reflected what was happening elsewhere in the industry. A combined Sunday edition named the Savannah News-Press debuted in 1972. Morris closed the Evening Press in 1996, citing competition from television and other media.


A huge  Morning News story in 1981 involved the lurid murder trial of a local aristocratic antiques collector. Although the case dominated the paper’s front page for quite some time, it might have remained but a salacious historical footnote had it not been for John Berendt’s best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Like other media across the nation, the Morning News devoted plenty of ink to the voracious hurricane season of 2005, which produced Katrina, the hurricane that devastated coastal areas in Louisiana and Mississippi. As the only large daily paper on the Georgia shore, the Morning News is the state’s paper of record on a host of environmental issues, such as wetland preservation, red tide, coastline erosion, and water pollution. Among its frequent topics are the nearby nuclear power plant and the shrimping industry. With tourism as the bedrock of the city’s economy, the hospitality sector is the top priority of the business section.



Skidaway Geography

Skidaway Island is located at 31°55′39″N 81°2′33″W / 31.9275°N 81.0425°W / 31.9275; -81.0425 (31.927434, -81.042505)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 17.9 square miles (46.3 km²), of which, 16.4 square miles (42.4 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²) of it (8.45%) is water.

Skidaway Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,914 people, 3,193 households, and 2,701 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 422.7 people per square mile (163.2/km²). There were 3,491 housing units at an average density of 213.4/sq mi (82.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.57% White, 0.48% African American, 0.01% Native American, 1.37% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 3,193 households out of which 13.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 82.8% were married couples living together, 1.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.4% were non-families. 14.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.35.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 11.2% under the age of 18, 2.0% from 18 to 24, 9.3% from 25 to 44, 38.1% from 45 to 64, and 39.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 61 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $96,395, and the median income for a family was $107,013. Males had a median income of $80,486 versus $42,188 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $63,851 (the highest in the state). About 0.7% of families and 1.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 0.3% of those age 65 or over.

Skidaway References

  1. ^ a b “American FactFinder”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ “US Board on Geographic Names”. United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ “US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990”. United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
      4. The Skidaway Island Information Resource,

External links

Skidaway Island, Georgia is at coordinates 31°55′39″N 81°02′33″W / 31.927434°N 81.042505°W


Books On Savannah:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (hardcover), Audio Cassette The must read book of Savannah by John Berendt. Very well written and captivating story of Savannah and her colorful residents during the 80’s. Has created something of a “lingua Midnight” in Savannah.

National Trust Guide to Savannah- Well illustrated guidebook to Savannah’s history and architecture..

Majesty of Savannah- Photo book of the city.

Insiders’ Guide to Savannah- Detailed guide from the popular series.

Frommer’s Portable Charleston and Savannah- Good guide that focuses on the highlights and commonsense, budget oriented travel.

Fodor’s Pocket Savannah & Charleston

Civil War Savannah


Related Links:

The Landings Rhodes 19 Sailing Program (Video)

SCAD – Savannah

Tour Savannah Squares

Coastal Heritage Society

Georgia Historical Society

Telfair Museum of Art

Catholic Diocese of Savannah

Kellogg World Alumni Magazine:  From good to green