Why do we preserve certain landscapes while developing others
without restraint? Drew A. Swanson's in-depth look at Wormsloe
plantation, located on the salt marshes outside of Savannah,
Georgia, explores that question while revealing the broad
historical forces that have shaped the lowcountry South.
Wormsloe is one of the most historic and ecologically significant
stretches of the Georgia coast. It has remained in the hands of one
family from 1736, when Georgia's Trustees granted it to Noble
Jones, through the 1970s, when much of Wormsloe was ceded to
Georgia for the creation of a state historic site. It has served as
a guard post against aggression from Spanish Florida; a node in an
emerging cotton economy connected to far-flung places like
Lancashire and India; a retreat for pleasure and leisure; and a
carefully maintained historic site and green space. Like many
lowcountry places, Wormsloe is inextricably tied to regional,
national, and global environments and is the product of
Swanson argues that while visitors to Wormsloe value what they
perceive to be an "authentic," undisturbed place, this landscape is
actually the product of aggressive management over generations. He
also finds that Wormsloe is an ideal place to get at hidden
stories, such as African American environmental and agricultural
knowledge, conceptions of health and disease, the relationship
between manual labor and views of nature, and the ties between
historic preservation and natural resource conservation.
Remaking Wormsloe Plantation connects this distinct
Georgia place to the broader world, adding depth and nuance to the
understanding of our own conceptions of nature and history.
Subjects: History, Environmental Science
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