The Houston Praise House in the Savannah River Plantation Era

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 The City of Port Wentworth has a very rich history that connects its past back to the foundations of Georgia as the 13th Colony and the founding of America as a nation. The earliest history of the area dates back to early Native American habitation and trade in Georgia and also includes the remnants of the Savannah River Plantation Era as well as several significant Civil War Era sites.

Quite recently much of Port Wentworth’s cultural heritage has been examined to determine how to best preserve that rich past while also continuing to grow as an active part of Georgia’s Economy.

One of the major concerns of local residents and city officials alike has been the preservation of this rich past that tells the story of a city and surrounding community that has helped to shape the State of Georgia and our Nation as a whole. This concern has led to some recent activity involving the area’s cultural heritage and sites of historic significance.

The efforts to preserve the Houston Praise House Historic Site & Cemetery along Highway 21 in North Port Wentworth are currently underway with great help and enthusiasm from the City of Port Wentworth, The North Port Wentworth Citizens Council, The Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce and the S.E.A.R.C.H. Institute along with many other active volunteers and committed individuals. This site in particular is a Plantation Era and Late Civil War Era site located along the boundaries of one the original plantation land plots along the Savannah River. The site includes a cemetery and remnants of a praise house that is currently undergoing reconstruction and restoration. The site is significant to the African American community that lived and worshipped during this pivotal era in American History.

This project constitutes a dedicated commitment by the surrounding community members and leaders to actively take charge in preserving the area’s rich cultural heritage and quite possibly save some of the last evidences of this important era of history in Port Wentworth, Ga.

We look forward to sharing our progress on the Houston Praise House Project and others like it in the area, so please join us for frequent updates!

By: Dr. Phillip T. Ashlock II, Archaeologist & Preservationist

The S.E.A.R.C.H. Institute

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