Best Historical Sites in the South Atlantic Part Two In Georgia vs Florida

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria

Georgia and Florida are the last two states that make up the area known as the South Atlantic region of the United States. Georgia has a strong history as one of the original 13, while Florida's history has a robust Spanish flavor, having originally been colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century. Both states seceded from the Union in 1860 to join the Confederacy, and both states figure largely in the struggle for African American civil rights.

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Method 1: In Georgia

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The state of Georgia, on the south Atlantic coast of the United States, was one of the original 13 colonies. Her history encompasses the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the fight for civil rights by African Americans in the 1960's.

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  1. 1
    Cumberland Island Dungeness Ruins
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    Built as a winter residence for the Carnegie family, all that remains of the sprawling 59 room Scottish mansion are the skeletal ruins of the structure. In an eerie echo of today's rampant wealth accumulation among the one percent, the Carnegie once owned over 90 percent of Cumberland Island.
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  2. 2
    Tybee Island Lighthouse
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    Originally established in 1741 by the owner of the nearby Wormsloe Plantation, Noble Jones, the lighthouse's purpose was to guide ships through the entrance of the Savannah River. This first tower did not survive the harsh storms that pounded Tybee Island; however, and another had to be built. The first 60 feet of the current lighthouse is original to the 1773 structure that survived not only the passing storms but also the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
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  3. 3
    Old Fort Jackson, Savannah
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    Old Fort Jackson is the oldest remaining brick fort in Georgia. It survived the War of 1812 as well as the Civil War, and today, tour guides dressed in period garb take you through the structure and bring its history to life.
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  4. 4
    Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill
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    Fort McAllister State Park constitutes one of the best-preserved examples of Civil War era earthworks fortifications in the nation. Not only can you tour the fortifications, but you can also see Civil War reenactments as well as camp and fish on the beautiful grounds of this state park.
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  5. 5
    Fort King George State Historic Site
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    When you think of Georgia, you don't often think of it regarding its colonial origins, but it was one of the original 13 colonies. Fort King George served as the first British garrison in the colony. On site are the ruins of the fort as well as a sawmill and a graveyard.
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  6. 6
    Martin Luther King Junior National Historic Site
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    The Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site commemorates the life and accomplishments of the great civil rights leader. Here, you can see where he was born and where he was buried. The Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached is onsite as well.
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  7. 7
    Historical Savannah
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    The city of Savannah, Georgia is a living history museum. From its days as one of the major cities in the Antebellum South, Savannah is replete with southern charm. Don't miss the Wormsloe Plantation, an old mansion built in 1737 by the Englishman, Noble Jones or the 150-year-old Bonaventure Cemetery, where some famous Savannah natives have been buried, including poet Conrad Aiken.
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  8. 8
    Dahlonega Gold Museum, Dahlonega
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    Years before California's gold rush, Georgia had a gold rush of its own. While legends of gold in the Blue Ridge Mountains were known from the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, it wasn't found until 1831. The actual concerted search for gold in Georgia's hills began in 1829. The history of Georgia's gold rush can be seen today in the Dahlonega Gold Museum, which is housed in the old Lumpkin County Courthouse.
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  9. 9
    Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Plains
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    The Jimmy Carter National Historic site houses the Presidential Library of the 39th President of the United States. President Carter has maintained strong roots in the community where he was raised, and although you can see artifacts from his growing-up years, such as an essay he wrote when he was just five years old, the site is as much about the community as it is about him.
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  10. 10
    Confederate States Ship Chattahoochee Explosion
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    The C.S.S. Chattahoochee was one of the most powerful ships that the Confederate Navy had. However, the ship was to have a short-lived career within the doomed Confederacy which she served. She had a rocky start: she took longer to build than anticipated and on her first trip downriver from the naval yard, she ran aground and had to spend time getting repaired in Chattahoochee before she went into service. Her career came to an end on May 27.1863 when her boilers exploded, scalding her 16-man crew to death. Her stern is on display at the National Civil War Museum in Columbus.
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Method 2: In Florida

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Having first been a Spanish Colony, the Spanish influence in Floridian culture is very much in evidence in its history. It is the land of swamps, mangrove forests, and pristine near-tropical waters that draw snowbirds from the North who want to escape the cold grasp of winter.

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  1. 1
    Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Key West
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    Fort Jefferson is an ancient fort that was never finished. It's lonely perch, 70 miles away from Key West and half-finished masonry walls provide a haunting experience against the backdrop of placid turquoise and periwinkle seas.
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  2. 2
    Overseas Railroad
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    The Overseas Railroad is how Floridians traveled between the mainland and Key West in the early 20th century. It operated until it was damaged by a strong hurricane in 1935, after which the Overseas Highway was built. Today you can see parts of the Overseas Railroad standing beside the new highway, and you can even walk on it and fish from it.
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  3. 3
    Fort King
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    Fort King is the site of the inciting incident for the Second Seminole War. It was here that Osceala, a Seminole chieftain, slaughtered General Wiley Thompson. The Fort was built after the Treaty of Moultrie Creek was signed between the United States and Seminole tribal leaders; its purpose was to keep the peace between the white settlers and the natives.
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  4. 4
    Bok Tower Gardens
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    Bok Tower Gardens is home to the Singing Tower, Florida's first carillon of bells. The grounds represent the highest point in the state, and the lush gardens feature winding trails that you can explore at your leisure.
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  5. 5
    Kennedy Space Center
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    The Kennedy Space Center has been at the center of the American space program for many years. It served as the launch facilities for most, if not all of the 135 space shuttle missions from 1981 when the first space shuttle was launched, until 2011 when the last one made its final flight. Kennedy remains in operation as a facility for rocket launches and other space and aeronautic missions.
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  6. 6
    Saint Augustine's Historic District
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    St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in Florida, and because of this, it has some gorgeous architecture and old buildings that date back to the 1700's at least. One of the sights not to be missed is Flagler College, which was built in the 19th century by Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon.
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  7. 7
    Castillo San Marcos
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    Castillo San Marcos was built by the Spanish in the 17th century and is the "oldest masonry fort in North America. Its ancient walls tell the story of the early colonization of Florida. It was started in 1672 as a response from the Spanish Crown to a devastating pirate attack in 1668.
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  8. 8
    Old Capitol Building, Tallahassee
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    The Florida State Capitol Building started out as a log cabin following the settlers' victory over the local Indian tribe during the First Seminole War in 1824. Ov er the years, the Capitol Building evolved, with construction started on a masonry structure in 1826, which was never completed. Another structure was built and was completed in 1845, when Florida was admitted to the Union as a state, and which was used until the 1970's when a new complex for the Florida State government was built.
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  9. 9
    Blue Hole Spring
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    Blue Hole Spring is a natural spring that takes its name from the blue sheen its waters take on in the sunlight. Called the Jug by locals, it is 40 feet deep and opens onto an extensive underwater cave system that is popular with SCUBA divers. The history of the spring and its surrounds dates back thousands of years, with the most noted early Native American presence being the Weedon Island Indian tribe. It was also near here that Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto encountered the Timucua Indians in 1539.
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  10. 10
    Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
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    Flagler Museum served as the home for its builder, railroad king Henry Flagler. Its 55 rooms are filled with masterpieces of art, and its architecture reflects the best in the Beaux-Arts style.
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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Kathy McGraw

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