Savannah Cotton Exchange

Savannah, Georgia | C.1886

Photo Credit: @savannah_cabanas

The Savannah Cotton Exchange was built in 1887, just as the Georgia city became the number one cotton seaport on the Atlantic, and number two in the world. Boston architect William Gibbons Preston won the rights to design the Exchange in an eleven architect competition.

According to the Georgia Historical Society, the Exchange is one of the few structures in the world erected over an existing public street. But Savannah has successfully built around what once was this epicenter of city’s economic life prior to the Industrial Revolution.

The building’s Romanesque architectural style set it apart from others on the street. The structure overlooks Factors Walk, a recessed roadway where the cotton flowed to and from the warehouses that lined the river.

Today, the building is used as a Masonic Lodge for the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 1734 by James Oglethorpe, it is said to be the the oldest continuing operating lodge in America. The Lodge is open to the public, but only for special occasions.

Not pictured here is a statue of a griffin, which is a replacement for the original that was destroyed in a 2008 car crash. Medallions surround the statue depicting past presidents and prominent poets.

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