11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ossabaw Island

Year Listed: 1995
Location: Ossabaw Island, Georgia
Threat: Deterioration, Natural Forces

This island off the Georgia coast has a long history of African American culture. The North end of the Island contains three original tabby cabins that housed slaves on the North End Plantation from the 1820s to 1840s. These tabby cabins, built out of shells, sand, lime, and water, have remained particularly intact since the early nineteenth century and are also the only remaining evidence of the plantation. Today the site of the cabins remains an active archaeological site where anthropologists and historians work to learn more about the life of African Americans on the island.

For more information

Ossabaw Island, http://www.ossabawisland.org/

Significance

Located 20 miles south of Savannah, GA, Ossabaw is one of the best-preserved of Georgia's magnificent barrier islands. With a total area of 26,000 acres, its many natural zones progressing from the ocean include beaches, dunes, meadows, ponds, maritime forests and freshwater and saltwater marshes. The island was inhabited by Native Americans from as early as 2200 B.C. to the 18th century and offers numerous archaeological sites as well as slave cabins, a late 19th century prefab house and a grand 1920s mansion in the midst of its undisturbed wildlife. Owned by the State of Georgia and managed through a public-private partnership with the Ossabaw Island Foundation, Ossabaw Island has been designated as a Heritage Preserve by the state, with its use restricted to natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education. New sources of funding are needed to restore Ossabaw's historic buildings as educational facilities and to ensure that the island's natural wonders remain a fertile ground for learning and quiet contemplation.