Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes To Savannah

September 21st, 2012
by Byron Bennett

Shoeless Joe Jackson was born in South Carolina in 1887. He began his professional baseball career in 1908, playing first for the Greenville Spinners and then for the Philadelphia Athletics later that season. In 1909 Shoeless Joe started the year with the Savannah Indians, before once again being called up by the Athletics.

Shoeless Joe Jackson as a Member of the Savannah Indians in 1909

After being banned from baseball in 1921, Jackson and his family moved back to Savannah in 1922, where he established a dry cleaning business known as Savannah Valet Service. One of his company’s two shops was located at 119 Drayton Street.

Former Site of Savannah Valet Service - 119 Drayton Street, Savannah, GA

On a recent trip to Savannah I went looking for the building that once housed the Savannah Valet Service, only to discover that it had been torn down and in 2001 made into a parking lot for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

Entrance to Parking Lot for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension itself is located next door to the former site of Jackson’s dry cleaners business.

Former Site of Jackson's Dry Cleaners Business With Church of the Ascension Visible in Background

Luckily, there is better news regarding two places where Jackson lived while in Savannah. The apartment building where he first lived after moving to Savannah after leaving baseball remains at 143 Abercorn Street .

Apartment Building Where Shoeless Joe Jackson Lived In Savannah, GA

A stucco, three story, center hall walk up, the building was constructed in 1914.

Front Entrance To 143 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA

Renovation of the building in the mid 2000’s won an Historic Preservation Award by the Historic Savannah Foundation.

Historic Preservation Award For 143 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA

Jackson later moved to a single family home at 1411 East 39th Street, which is located just four blocks north of Historic Grayson Stadium, current home of the Savannah Sand Gnats.

Shoeless Joe Jackson's Former Home At 1411 East 39th Street, Savannah, GA

Jackson’s former home is a two bedroom, one story bungalow. In front of the house next door to Jackson’s former home is a oak tree draped with Spanish moss, undoubtedly dating back to Jackson’s time living there.

Tree From The Time Of Jackson, 1411 East 39th Street

Should you find yourself in Savannah, Georgia, take a moment to see places where Shoeless Joe Jackson lived. Those buildings are a link to the past and help give fans a little better appreciate of Joe Jackson’s life after he was banned from baseball.

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Posted in Georgia ballparks, Shoeless Joe Jackson Savannah | Comments (3)

  • […] and the Chicago White Sox. ¬†After being banned from baseball in 1921, Jackson and his family¬†moved to Savannah in 1922 where he started a valet service. Jackson left Savannah, returning to Greenville in 1929 to take care of his mother. Former Location […]

  • Avatar Brent Ingram says:

    The house in Savannah that you state Shoeless Joe lived in, was built in 1939. Are you sure you have the correct location?

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Brent

    I am confident the address is correct. (here are a couple sites that back this up, ). I believe I also read it in a book on Jackson. If I remember correctly (it has been a couple years since I wrote the blog) I do recall seeing reference in a real estate listing that had a similar 1930’s date for the house at that location. However, I was able to determine that the reference to that date was most likely incorrect. I cannot remember specifically what it was that allowed me to conclude that the date for the building of the house was incorrect, however, I have a vague recollection of speaking with someone (perhaps the owner of the house) who told me the house was the Jackson House and was older than 1939. LIke I said, I cannot recall specifically. What I have found in researching such things is that often times one real estate site gets the date of the house wrong and then other real estate sites pick it up and perpetuate the error. If you find otherwise, or are able to confirm I have it correct, please let me know. David Stinson

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