Low House, “Jingle Bell Church” & Zunzi’s

Savannah has so many cool historic sites to visit. It’s been called an open air museum by some. It reminds me of visiting the Smithsonian in D.C. and knowing I’ll never get to see everything and know the story about these historic buildings, statues, people and sites.

Here are a few more sites we visited – The Low House, The Church known as the Jingle Bell Church and lunch today at Zunzi’s.

Let’s start with Zunzi’s. We had lunch there today. It’s located downtown Savannah on York Street. The owners Johnny and Gabriella Debeer have another location in Atlanta. It’s very small, but a fun place to visit. It’s a walk up diner with a line usually down the sidewalk. They say their menu is influenced by the owners South African, Swiss, Italian and Dutch heritage. When we arrived, they asked if we’ve been there before, if we had any food allergies and offered us a little sample cup of their chicken, two sausages and our choice of their many sauces. I did not try the “Shit Yeah” sauce!

Once we ordered, we took our carryout boxes and drinks around the corner to their comfortable outside tables and chairs. They also offer free Wifi and drink refills. To get your refill, you go in what looks like the backdoor to their restaurant, but they meet you there and take care of the refill for you. It’s another one of those you don’t want to miss places. One of the drivers on the Old Town Trolley Tour buses pointed it out when we drove past.

Their website is www.zunzis.com

Here’s a couple pictures from our visit there.  .

If you can’t read what it says on the cup, it’s this: “ZUNZI’S PROMISE TO YOU. Here at Zunzi’s, we want you to have such a great experience that you can’t help from saying Hell, Yeah! If at any point you don’t feel that way, let us know and we’ll make it right. We Promise.”

It was fun and the food was delicious. If you get to Savannah, add it to your must see list.

The next place I’ll tell you about is the church known as the “Jingle Bell Church“. In the early 1800s, a group of wealthy, liberal-minded Englishmen interested in building wealth through the cotton industry migrated to Savannah. When they couldn’t find a church to attend, they formed the Savannah Unitarian Society. They eventually built a church which has a very interesting history. Too much to tell about here so go online and check it out. In May of 1851, they hired a minister named John Pierpont, Jr who had a brother named James. James served as the church music director and organist. While serving there, he wrote and copyrighted a song called “One Horse Open Sleigh” and that’s how the church became known as the “Jingle Bell Church”.

The Unitarian church wasn’t very popular in Savannah. There were attempts to burn it down, it went broke a couple times and moved a couple times. You can now see it in Troup Square at East Harris and Habersham Streets.

The last site in this post is the Andrew Low House. Andrew Low was another one who migrated from England to build wealth as a cotton broker. He built the house in 1849. He died in 1886,the same year his son,William MacKay Low, married Juliette Gordon. William inherited the home from his father and they lived there for a while but spent most of their married life in England.

While in England, Juliette met Sir Robert Baden-Powell. He was the founder of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides in England. Juliette became very interested in this youth movement and helped with the Girl Guides.

Juliette Low

Juliette and William had a very unhappy marriage. She returned to Savannah and they were in the process of divorce when he died. He left Juliette his American holdings which included the Low house. The rest of his holdings went to his mistress in England. Juliette decided to continue working with young girls. It is said she would sit on her porch and talk to any girls and their mothers about Girl Guides as they walked by her house. She had her first meeting in 1812 with 18 girls in the carriage house behind her home. Later she decided to change the name to Girl Scouts and this carriage house became the first Girl Scout headquarters. There are now approximately 2.6 million Girl Scouts according to a recent online post I saw. When Juliette died she willed the carriage house to the Girl Scouts and it is now a museum. The Low house and the Museum are located in Lafayette Square at 329 Abercorn Street.

Low House

Another interesting fact about Juliette Gordon Low is that she was the first woman to have a federal building named after her. This building, located on Barnard Street in Savannah, houses several government offices.

I have more to share about Savannah in the next post. I hope you enjoy it.

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