With the community’s recent focus on the ins and outs of the Oglethorpe Plan and the Savannah Town Plan, HSF decided it was time to provide an educational opportunity on the subject. HSF reached out to Thomas D. Wilson who graciously agreed to provide his knowledge to the community. Thomas Wilson is a planner, author, and independent scholar. His book on the Oglethorpe Plan, was published by University of Virginia Press in September 2012. Wilson has served as Director of Comprehensive Planning for the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission; Planning Director for Beaufort County, South Carolina; Research Associate with Florida International University in Miami; Assistant Planning Director for the City of Key West; and Research Associate with the Urban Institute. Plans adopted under Wilson’s leadership have received awards in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Previously, he served in the Peace Corps in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Wilson earned a Master of Science in Geography at The Pennsylvania State University in 1976, with emphasis in research methods and regional planning; he holds a Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University.
Mr. Wilson’s presentation provides a background into General James Oglethorpe’s life, and then deep dives into his planning of the city we all live in today. Mr. Wilson provides information on how the ‘plan’ was originally intended to work and how it was adapted over time. Following Mr. Wilson’s presentation Dr. David Gobel, Architectural History Professor at SCAD answers questions regarding the information the community had learned. Dr. David Gobel has led a career path spanning multiple decades and within several different aspects of the architecture/architectural history world. He has worked as a draftsman and designer, as a planning consultant, and since 1986 has worked as an educator. His career as an instructor began at Princeton University but spans multiple institutions including: The Oregon School of Architecture + Design, The Pacific Northwest College of Art, Marylhurst College, Portland Community College, Clackamas Community College, Portland State University, and presently the Savannah College of Art and Design. Dr. Gobel holds a B.Arch. in Architecture from Texas Tech University, an M.A. in architecture from Princeton University, a M.Arch.Hist. in architectural history from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in architecture from Princeton University. He has authored numerous books, essays, articles and more, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, recognitions, and honors.
The Oglethorpe Plan is a quintessential part of why Savannah is what it is today and why Savannah will continue to be the most beautiful historic city in the country.