The general assembly and members of the Chatham County delegation have taken on the tedious task of renaming the most iconic bridge in Savannah.
The Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge, according to Savannah Tours, has been the passageway to the Hostess City of the South since 1953. Students making the voyage south in over-packed carpools each year are familiar with that band of concrete they drive on, over the South Carolina border, beyond the Savannah River and right into the heart of their campus. The access to the city by the Talmadge Bridge is crucial for the city’s tourism business, as well as its academic opportunities and growing diversity.
Named after Eugene Talmadge, who served four terms as the governor of Georgia in the 1940′s, the bridge’s namesake was an advocate for Jim Crow laws and segregation in schools. Though he died before the bridge was completed, the city named the bridge after him to honor his work as a politician. According to The Savannah Morning News, this decision has been posed as an unsettling choice among the citizens of Savannah, as well as its representatives for a quarter century.
There is a concern that Talmadge’s reputation does not reflect the Savannah of today. This reason alone has given locals the courage to consider donning the bridge with a new title.
While most have made the leap to change the name of the bridge, the bigger debate, yet again, resides in what the name should be.
Some say that the bridge should be named after General James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony of Savannah. Oglethorpe is noticeably an iconic figure for the city with an avenue, shopping mall, monument and university named after him. It would make sense to also name the bridge after the man who put the state of Georgia on the map.
Others say that the bridge should be named after Chief Tomochichi, a close friend of Oglethorpe who aided him as he and his settlers were establishing the 13th colony.
Another proposal was that the bridge should be named after Savannah itself, and members of the general assembly feel that is only right to give the bridge a name that truly represents how far it has come. With a title still in the works, locals can be certain that the new name will captivate Savannah’s traditional nature as well as it’s advancements.