‘The Waving Girl’ statue is considered the unofficial greeter for all ships that enter the Port of Savannah. The statue is tribute to Florence Martus, daughter of a Civil War veteran, who grew up in a lighthouse near the entrance of Savannah Harbor at Fort Pulaski.
Florence eventually found love with a sailor who came to Savannah, but unfortunately, he had to leave as with most sailors. He vowed to return to her and so she waited. As months went by, she stood at the edge of the river waving a towel during the day or a lantern at night to all the ships floating down the Savannah River hoping that one would have her love onboard.
Over the years, Florence became known as ‘The Waving Girl’ who greeted sailors for over 44 years until her death in 1943. She was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery North a few days later.
In 1971, Felix De Weldon, sculptor of the famous U.S. Marine Corps Iwo Jima Monument, was commissioned to create a statue of Florence along Savannah’s River Street.
The inscription says: ‘Her immortality stems from her friendly greeting to passing ships, a welcome to strangers entering the port, and a farewell to wave them safely onward.’
Be sure to check out Florence Martus ‘The Waving Girl’ Statue in our app to find out more about it and the rest of Savannah. Is the ghost of Florence still greeting sailors in Morrell Park or River Street? You will have to see for yourself!