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Petition to Save The Johnny Harris Building

This petition had 2,747 supporters

We want to save the iconic Johnny Harris Restaurant building in Savannah, GA from demolition. We want the building to be incorporated into the new shopping center proposed by ARS Ventures LLC of Atlanta. Finally, we want the Metropolitan Planning Commission to bring every pressure to bear on ARS Ventures to preserve the Johnny Harris building and make it the anchor of a visually appealing, pedestrian-oriented shopping center. A conventional strip mall is inappropriate to nearby historic neighborhoods, and inappropriate to the spirit of Savannah itself.

The Johnny Harris building, constructed in 1936, is a unique example of Depression-era architecture. Its historic and cultural significance to generations of Savannah residents is unquestionable. The building's design--a hybrid of Art Deco and Georgia vernacular architecture--is utterly unique. The domed ceiling (lit by electric stars) and the incomparable Folk Art landscape paintings that ring the ceiling would alone justify the building's preservation. The building's handsome brick silhouette has been a landmark on Victory Drive for 80 years. Surely the elegant Johnny Harris building is a more fitting gateway to Victory Drive-- named as a memorial to the soldiers Savannah lost in World War I--than would be a parking lot and a conventional strip mall. Many, many longtime residents of Savannah--and even newcomers--have cherished memories of this place. Its loss would be a permanent tear in Savannah's urban fabric, and an indictment of ARS Ventures' lack of civic pride and respect for history.

We, the undersigned, entreat you to save the Johnny Harris building.

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