The Waving Girl

Florence Martus, a Savannahian whose understanding and application of the words “Southern Hospitality” brought her fame as Savannah’s Waving Girl.

The Legend of the Waving Girl

Florence Martus (1868 – 1943), was known well by Savannah locals and sailors of the sea as the Waving Girl. The daughter of a sergeant stationed at Fort Pulaski, Florence later moved to a cottage along the river near the entrance of the harbor with her brother George, when he was transferred from the Cockspur Island Lighthouse to the Elba Island Lighthouse.

As the story goes, life at the remote cottage was lonely for Florence whose closest companion was her devoted collie. At an early age, she developed a close affinity with the passing ships and welcomed each one with a wave of her handkerchief. Sailors began returning her greeting by waving back or with a blast of the ship’s horn. Eventually, Florence started greeting the ships arriving in the dark by waving a lantern.

Legend has it the Waving Girl fell in love with a sailor who promised to return for her, but never did. Florence spent years waving to passing ships hoping her love would return. Florence Martus continued her waving tradition for 44 years and it is estimated that she welcomed more than 50,000 ships during her lifetime.

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(912) 629-2647

PO Box 9941
Savannah GA 31412

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The River Street Market Place opens 7 days a week at 10 am. Our closing time is 7pm Sunday through Thursday and 8pm on Friday & Saturday.

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Sun-Sat: 10am – 8pm

*The only time we will deviate from these hours is during extreme weather conditions. ie Low temps, extreme winds etc.
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