Neighbors share stories of historic Carver Village community
(WSAV) – Savannah Sculptor’s Village, once the largest development of privately owned housing for people of color in the world, has been officially recognized as a national monument.
World War II veteran Henry Mack was one of the first people to settle in Carver Garden when it was founded in the 1940s. He was 27 when he bought the foundation for his home in $ 4,500. Now he is 98 years old.
“It wasn’t a Carver Village. I bought the foundation. They had just started housing. And they had a little shack across the street that was selling these properties and they were selling the foundation and I bought it. I only put in $ 125 less, ”Mack said.
Mack had no idea that the investment he and others made over 70 years ago would help raise generations. Some left the neighborhood, but others – like Mack – stayed.
“But I saw him go from nothing to this,” he said.
Named after famed scientist George Washington Carver, the Historic District is located west of downtown Savannah, just beyond the Interstate 16 slip road. It was created to provide affordable housing for working class African Americans.
With 600 homes, it was once known as the largest single-family housing development for people of color in the world.
“We just lived like family here during that time,” Mack said. “Everyone loves the family. “
In his day, world famous doctors, lawyers, teachers and even musicians were part of this family.
“Some of my best musician friends were from Carver Village. Jimmy Lloyd Brown from The Brick – I played with his mother. She was from Carver Village, ”said former resident Teddy Adams. He moved to Carver Village in 1960. “And the late Bobby Green – one of the best musicians Savannah produced was from Cubbedge Street.”
There were also several businesses in the area, including dry cleaners, grocery stores and a daycare, according to former resident Richard Shinshoster. There was even a neighborhood baseball team.
“Back then we didn’t have uniforms, but we were good,” Shinshoster said.
Now the nation is finally starting to appreciate the value of Carver Village. Recently, the Historic Carver Village Neighborhood Association announced that the community has been added to the Register of Historic Places, making Carver Village a nationally recognized landmark.
The designation recognizes the history of the community and its contributions to Savannah. Those who live there hope the new honor will restore a sense of pride among neighbors and solidify Carver Village as a cornerstone of the community.