The National Park Service named Savannah one of its World War II heritage cities, joining a list of 19 communities in the U.S. that the agency says played a key role in the war effort through their civilian workforce.
For Savannah and Chatham County, this role was largely driven by the Port of Savannah, which shipped 1.24 million tons of military equipment manufactured by local companies, according to the NPS.
In addition, local shipbuilders produced minesweepers and cargo ships, and local residents bought enough war bonds to purchase a B-17 bomber, aptly named the “City of Savannah.”
The NPS noted that approximately 5,000 civilian volunteers assisted the U.S. Coast Guard and Georgia State Guard in protecting Savannah’s marine facilities by monitoring threats both on the water and in the sky.
With the exception of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, all southern cities on the list are located along the coast: Corpus Christi, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Pascagoula, Miss.; Pensacola, Florida; and Wilmington, North Carolina
The World War II Heritage Cities program was established by Congress in 2019 as part of the Conservation, Resource Management and Recreation Act, which passed with broad bipartisan support.
Under this law, each US state or territory is limited to one World War II heritage city designation, selected by the Secretary of the Interior after consultation with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
This story comes to Rough Draft Atlanta thanks to a reporting partnership News of GPBnon-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.