These large stones were once used as ballasts in the bottom of large ships that sailed from Europe and beyond to the port of Savannah, Georgia. They essentially helped to keep ships from capsizing. As cargo was unloaded or more taken on, the amount of weight or ballasts was adjusted.

After the stones had served their purpose, they were deposited on the shore. I can imagine that after a while, city leaders began to wonder what in the world they were going to do with such a vast number of stones from around the world. It was probably then—at the point of necessity —that someone had the brilliant idea to use them for construction. After all they were a 100 percent fire proof! Today, you can view these stones and the many cobblestones that are used as ballasts along Factor’s Walk in the city.

I have always thought they were handsome. People, who visit Savannah, immediately notice them because they are everywhere. Many of the city’s riverfront streets are paved of cobblestone, and even the narrow steps leading up to the upper level of Factor’s walk where the Cotton Exchange was located are constructed of these stone ballasts.


Time and foot traffic have given these steps a special sense of character.