Hutchinson Island (Georgia)

Hutchinson Island (Georgia)

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Hutchinson Island, Georgia
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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Georgia
subdivision_name2 = Chatham County
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Hutchinson Island is a river island in the Savannah River, north of downtown Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia, United States. The island is formed where the Back River breaks off to the north from the Savannah River. Historically, Hutchinson Island's land use has been primarily industrial, much of which supported the Port of Savannah, one of the busiest containerization cargo ports in the world. [cite web| url=|title=The Georgia Ports Authority]


Hutchinson Island also played a major role in the capture of Savannah during the American Civil War. After capturing Atlanta, Georgia, Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman turned his army East, toward the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in Savannah in December 1864. Rather than destroying Savannah, Sherman elected to demand the city's surrender. Confederate Gen. William J. Hardee led his troops under the dark of night across the Savannah River on a makeshift pontoon bridge, across Hutchinson Island and into the South Carolina wilderness. [cite web|url= |title=The Fortresses of Savannah by Jim Byous]

On the Back River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formerly maintained a tidal control system that slowed the natural filling in of the main river's shipping channel. The tide gate was abandoned after studies showed that it was increased saltwater intrusion into the upriver freshwater Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. [cite web|url=|title=New Georgia Encyclopia]


Totaling approximately convert|2000|acre|km2, Hutchinson Island was targeted as the site for a public-private partnership to build a convention center and hotel. [cite web|url=|title=404 Not found] Chatham County voters approved spending $63 million in public special-purpose local-option sales tax money for the trade center and $10 million for the road system on the island. The Savannah International Trade and Convention Center and the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort were built. [cite web|url=|title=Savannah Trade Center] [cite web|url=|title=404] In addition, the state of Georgia provided $18 million, and former land owner CSX railroad donated 25 acres for the public trade center.cite web|url=|title=404]

Public monies also helped build a sanctioned Champ Car-style road race track, and sanctioned Indy Lights races were organized. [cite web|url=|title=SEC Filiing] The track has since closed, but there is ongoing interest in reopening it and attracting sanctioned races. [cite web|url=|title=Savannah Now]

While much of Hutchinson Island has been trade convention and resort-oriented in the past, the island's first residential community is under way, The Reserve at Savannah Harbor, and plans are being drawn to develop the riverfront into a mixed-use, urban extension of Savannah. [cite web|url=|title=Reserve at Savannah Harbor]

The Georgia Ports Authority and International Paper still own undeveloped tracts of land on the far west end of Hutchinson Island.


Ferry boats take visitors and residents across the Savannah River on a regular, daily schedule.


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