Wormsloe Plantation – Haunting Reminders of the Past

Wormsloe Gate
The gate to the Wormsloe Historic Site.
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On our recent trip to Savannah, Kim and I visited a plantation known as the Wormsloe Historic Site. Wormsloe was constructed by Noble Jones, one of the members of the party that founded Savannah. He landed in Georgia alongside James Oglethorpe in 1733. Noble Jones performed many duties as a member of the fledgling colony, including surveying, scouting and more.

Eventually, Jones would request a lease of 500 acres of land from the trustees behind the colony overlooking Skidaway Narrows. His fortified house, which was completed in 1745, was to act as a defensive structure built to patrol the area and block any Spanish incursions into English-claimed lands.

Jones constructed the home using wood and tabby. Tabby is an inferior concrete created from oyster shells and lime. It was frequently used in place of bricks which were expensive and difficult to create in colonial America. Now, the home lies in ruins, tucked back in the woods on the property.

Upon driving through the gates of the property, you will see one of the most beautiful parts of Wormsloe. Its mile and a half approach consists of a dirt driveway surrounded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss. This drive lends an almost mystical feel to the property that is characteristic of so many southern US locales. These trees and their ghostly drapery create a haunting air that drags your mind back to the past, allowing you to fully appreciate the history of such places. See for yourself (this is a video of our drive out of Wormsloe):

Once you’ve driven up to the parking area, there is another short walk to the actual ruins. The property has several hiking areas, but we only checked out the museum at the parking area and the ruins themselves. The ruins themselves are beautiful in the way that nature has had its way with the fortified home. Little remains except for the crumbling tabby walls. Even still, you can feel the history of the place and the fact that it was set back from any populated area gives it a calming, contemplative feel. We had the place to ourselves when we arrived and all we could hear was the occasional snap of a twig or the scrabbling of a squirrel through the underbrush. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the ruins.

As we wandered the grounds, I could not help but think about how starting anew with only the smallest comforts and advantages we are accustomed to would be a great concept for a game. With the spike of survival games, we have begun to capture this concept in very narrative-lite games. Games like DayZ and even Minecraft drop you in a world with almost nothing, expecting you to figure out your own survival or die trying. I think there is definitely room in the narrative open-world space for ideas like this and that the concept will only become more popular as we are hopefully at the dawn of a new era of exploration. Missions are slowly gaining traction to send people to Mars and possibly one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, even farther down the road. Some of us may live to see the start of a new era of colonization (albeit hopefully a more responsible and considerate version of the past).

Imagine a game set in an untamed world where you have been sent by a corporation to create a profitable colony. You have enough supplies to feed your small party for a few weeks, but must begin making your own way in this hostile world or die. Combining emergent narrative and scripted, but randomized narrative events while also blending elements of first person action/adventure and city building sims could create a very interesting player experience. Players would be responsible for managing their brave group of explorers while also putting their own work in to ensure their fragile community succeeds, lest they lose the favor of their investors.

Wormsloe is essentially a remainder of such a concept – an abandoned, fortified home left over from the dawn of a colony that would eventually grow into a city. While Wormsloe stands broken, it is not forgotten and stands as a testament of more turbulent times. I recommend a visit for those who are interested in history, particularly early colonial American history. I know I found it inspiring!

What to know if you go

  • It costs $10 per adult to enter the site and they would prefer that you pay before snapping your pictures (since some people come into the property to just take a picture of the driveway and then leave).
  • They do offer guided walking tours 10 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM and 3 PM. These tours are included in your admission.
  • Definitely walk through the museum before hiking around the property. It’s not huge and will take you maybe 10-15 minutes and it’s worth it to get an idea of what the tabby structure would have looked like before it fell into ruin. the movie is okay, but you can skip it – it just gives you details on Noble Jones and his family, most of which you can gather from the museum pretty quickly.

Places

Wormsloe Historic Site

7601 Skidaway Rd Savannah, GA 31406 Chatham County
912-353-3023

Wormsloe Historic Site

7601 Skidaway Rd Savannah, GA 31406 Chatham County
912-353-3023
http://gastateparks.org/Wormsloe

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