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Project Administrators

Robin B. Williams, Savannah College of Art and Design
Project Director and Coordinator of Historical Research

Williams is Chairman and founder of the Architectural History Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania focused on the architectural and urban history of the modern period (18th-20th centuries) in America and Europe. He has been analyzing the transformation of cities during the modern period for over a decade, with his dissertation on Rome, Italy (Rome as State Image: The Architecture and Urbanism of the Royal Italian Government, 1993), and for the past five years, that of Savannah.  In fall 2000, he served as guest co-curator for "Jewels in the Crown: The Architecture of the Savannah Plan,” a photographic exhibition at the AIA Gallery in Washington, DC.  Williams was appointed to the Georgia National Register Review Board in fall 1999 and served as its Chairman for 2001-2002.  As Project Director, he guides the scope and orientation of the project and more specifically oversees all historical research and the incorporation of historical content.


Greg Johnson, Savannah College of Art and Design
Production Director and Coordinator of Technical Development

Johnson is a Professor of Computer Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he developed and headed up the Game Development program.  With a background in graphic design, he focused his Master's degree work on computer animation and 3-D modeling.  More recently, a pair of professional internships with major production companies (EdEFX and Dreamworks Interactive) augmented his technical expertise.  He is proficient in a number of 3-D modeling programs and computer languages, most importantly that of VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language, the 3-D language of the Internet), and has extensive computer programming experience.  Johnson coordinates the overall technical development of the project, involving all of the website programming and management of the various components involved.  He also directly supervises the production of all of the 3-D computer models, the development of the graphic interface design, and the carrying out of data input.


Léon Robichaud, Université de Sherbrooke
Database Supervisor

Robichaud is coordinator of the Master's program in History and Multimedia at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada.  Robichaud holds a Master's Degree in history from McGill University.  He has worked with multimedia content since 1991, more specifically in the modeling and representation of historical urban environments.  His experience involves extensive research on the property, buildings and people of Old Montréal, integrating time-based relational database structures with geographic information systems or three-dimensional models, and creating search engines for the world wide web.  Having participated in projects within museum and academic settings and as a consultant, he is familiar with the various processes related to research, data-entry, and multimedia development.  Experienced on different platforms, he has specialized in open-source solutions for the past four years.  As Database Supervisor, Robichaud is responsible for designing, maintaining and optimizing a database model that conforms to current practices while being adapted to the needs of the Virtual Historic Savannah Project. 


Christopher Hendricks, Armstrong Atlantic State University
Social History Content Assistant Supervisor

Associate Professor of History at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, he is an authority on the history of the south especially during the 18th and 19th centuries with a keen interest in urban history.  Receiving his Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary, he focused his dissertation on “Town Development in the Colonial Backwater of Virginia and North Carolina”.  He also has considerable experience as a historical consultant for research and historic preservation projects.  He has served as a consultant for the Virtual Historic Savannah Project since summer 2000. 

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Current Project Staff

From left to right: Robin Williams, Greg Johnson, Robyn Wilsbach, Brian Jolley, Renée Hutter, Darin Ostrom, Betsy Pate, Abhijit Athalye, Carrie Jones, Jesse Kretschmer, Michael Wagler and Léon Robichaud.

Abhijit Athalye, a graduate student in Architectural History, has served since fall 2002 as the principal research assistant on the project. He has conducted a thorough survey of building footprints of all buildings throughout the whole district, correcting errors in the GIS source footprint data used as a starting point for modeling. He has also assisted with the processing of slide and digital photographs of buildings, compiling a master image table of data, including the recording of specific data about each image. In 2003, he compiled a master list of lost buildings, working from building inventories and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. Since January 2004, he has compiled pre-1897 addresses for relevant existing buildings, expanded address ranges and secondary addresses for all existing buildings; he has also compiled the main physical characteristics for existing buildings, and assisted in compiling the architects’ data.
In summer 2005, he conducted a systematic survey of the Bldg permits at the Savannah City Hall archives. He is currently working on expanding the lost buildings master list in terms of assigning pre-1897 addresses, building modifications and archival images.

Marisa Gomez, an undergraduate student in Architectural History, is assisting with the processing of people data from city directories since summer 2005.

Carrie Jones, a graduate student in Visual Effects, has assisted since fall 2003 with redesigning the html-based web pages.

Angelina Long, a graduate student in Public History at Armstrong Atlantic State University, has served as a research intern during spring semester 2004, compiling people data from the 1920 U.S. Census.

Darin Ostrom, an undergraduate in Architecture at SCAD, has assisted with the modelling of buildings since October 2001, taking over as the principal 3D modeller for the project in fall 2002; he has also assisted with compiling survey data on buildings and with data verification and formatting of digital photographs.

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Past Project Staff

Kevin Adams, a graduate student in Architectural History, has assisted since March 2004 with the compiling of building function data and the processing of people data from city directories.

Duck Ki Ahn, an undergraduate student in Computer Art, created detailed models of buildings outside the Jasper Ward prototype from April 2001 to March 2003.

Rebecca Andersen, a graduate student in Architectural History, served as the principal research assistant from September 2000 to December 2001, carrying out most of the primary research on City Directories and the census data for 1900, compiling a complete list of occupants in Jasper Ward in ten-year intervals.  She compiled and entered data on owners and occupants in Jasper Ward, as well as carrying out research on lost buildings in Jasper Ward.  She compiled a preliminary building-by-building survey of half of Savannah’s historic district.

David Begley, a graduate student in Graphic Design, reformatted photographs from summer 2003 to winter 2004.

Marc Belanger, while a graduate student in Architectural History, worked on the project from October 2000 to May 2002.  He compiled a preliminary building-by-building survey of half of Savannah’s historic district.  He organized the documentary information needed for creating detailed models of buildings in Jasper Ward, as well as researching lost buildings and the Jasper Monument in Jasper Ward.

Won Young Byon, a graduate student in Computer Art, served as the principal computer modeller on the project from February 1999 to December 2001.  Most of the detailed models of buildings in the Jasper Ward prototype are his work.

Emily Cozen, while an undergraduate student in Computer Art, served as the principal modeller of buildings from fall 1998 to fall 1999. She also designed the graphic interface of the project used from winter 1999 to winter 2001.

Jim Gaczkowski, a graduate student in Computer Art, created a second generation of low-resolution models of all buildings within the downtown district during 2002.

Lucie Ghioto, a graduate student in Architectural History, has worked on since spring 2002, correlating legal lot information to buildings throughout the downtown district; assisting with the checking and recounting of information on the master list of existing buildings; sorting photographic slides of buildings and shooting new digital photographs of buildings; and assembling data from Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.

Jason Harlow, a graduate student in Computer Art, built the first set of low-resolution computer models of buildings throughout the historic district outside of Jasper Ward.

William Hart, a graduate student in Architectural History, worked on the project from fall 1998 to fall 1999.  He performed a wide range of important tasks early in the development of the project, including compiling bibliographic sources and finding historical images.  He also carried out a systematic research of buildings in Percival Ward in an older part of Savannah’s historic district to determine the availability of information on earlier buildings.

Haley Harter, a graduate student in Architectural History, has worked on the project since March 2004, processing people data from city directories.

Erica Howard, a graduate student in Architectural History, surveyed the Hartridge collection inventory of the Georgia Historical Society in winter 2005.

Renée Hutter, a graduate student in Architectural History, has assisted since fall 2003 with the processing of people data from city directories. Beginning in March 2004, she has been taking pictures of some buildings, reformatting and resizing digital photographs. She also worked on the building permits and tax digests at the Georgia Historical Society.

Sonchia Jilek, a graduate student in Architectural History, worked on the project during summer 2003, surveying the Wilson and Cordray-Foltz photograph collections of Georgia Historical Society, compiling an inventory of all images relating to downtown Savannah.

Brian Jollie, a graduate student in Photography at SCAD, served as the principal architectural photographer for the project from April 2003 to June 2004, taking digital photographs of approximately 1500 buildings.

Carmie Jones, a graduate student in Architectural History, began work on the project in January 2004, surveying the GHS and Girard photograph collections of Georgia Historical Society, compiling an inventory of all images relating to downtown Savannah.

Jesse Kretschmer, an undergraduate in Interactive Design and Game Development at SCAD, managed the VRML building model files using perl scripts and MySQL from summer 2003 till May 2004.

Brian Kronenberg, while an undergraduate in Photography, took slides of approximately 700 buildings in downtown Savannah from March to June 2001, as the first part of a comprehensive photo-documentation of all standing buildings in the area covered by the project.

Patricia Kuhn, while an undergraduate student in Architectural History, worked on the project during winter and spring 2000.  She carried out a systematic research on the history of pavement in Jasper Ward based on records published in annual Mayoral Reports.

Donna Lindsey, an undergraduate student in Historic Preservation, assisted with the project from July 2002 to February 2003, checking and recounting information on the master list of existing buildings, sorting photographic slides of buildings and shooting new digital photographs of buildings.

Katheryn Osgood, a graduate student in Photography, served as the principal architectural photographer for the project from fall 2004 to spring 2005.

Betsy Pate, a graduate student in Architectural History, has since fall 2002 served as the principal research assistant focused on the compiling of people data from city directories, involving OCR-scanning data from the directories and organizing and distributing exported information to other assistants for processing, as well as processing some data herself. She has also assisted with the compiling of pre-1897 building addresses and the changes to existing buildings. She has surveyed the Gamble collection at the Bull Street Library, Savannah.

Arthea Benita Perry, a graduate student in Computer Art, carried out the preliminary research compiling the complete list of occupants in Jasper Ward in ten-year intervals during summer 2000.

Kathryn Rowe, a graduate student in Historic Preservation, compiled data on property owners in Jasper Ward during fall 2001.

Julia Banta Schwarz, a graduate student in Historic Preservation, compiled data on property owners in Jasper Ward during fall 2001.

Dara Vance, a graduate student in Fashion, compiled information on the history of fashion in Savannah as part of her master’s thesis work.

Michael Wagler, an undergraduate student in Historic Preservation assisted with the processing of people data from city directories, fall 2003 to May 2004.

Caroline Warner, an undergraduate in Architectural History, worked on the project from May 2001 to March 2003 as one of the principal research assistants.  She assisted with the preliminary building-by-building survey of Savannah’s historic district by compiling the street addresses and approximate dates for all properties; she compiled and entered data on the complete set of over 800 street segments for the whole district.  She also synthesized data on most existing buildings in Jasper Ward, as well as sample biographical data on prominent people from that ward, in preparation for data entry.  From summer 2002-spring 2003, she assisted with the checking and recounting of information on the master list of existing buildings, sorting and scanning of photographic slides of buildings and compiling of people data from city directories.

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Other SCAD students who have made valuable contributions to this project include the following, listed in alphabetical order:

Kevin Adams – processing data on people from city directories
Teddy Gongaware – graphic interface and project logo design
Mary Hagan – computer modelling of buildings
Jaime Izuriata – surveying of street and sidewalk measurements in Jasper Ward
Elaine Jones – computer modelling of buildings
Steven Kody – computer modelling of buildings
Daniel Koster – photography of buildings in Jasper Ward
Megan Masana – preliminary research on buildings in Jasper Ward
Stephanie Mitchell – preliminary research on bibliographic sources on Savannah
Lauren Nason – preliminary research on buildings in Monterey Ward
Shylah Smithey – data entry on building lots
Alex Shopov – computer modelling of buildings
Jill Spears - web site design
Suthee Theerachulkae – computer modelling of buildings
Vessela Valtcheva – preliminary research on newspaper sources
Christoph Weiss – slide scanning
Harriet Wijgul – preliminary research on bibliographic sources on Savannah
Robyn Wilsbach – processing data on people from city directories
Jason Wilson – computer modelling of buildings
Dave Zaleski – building footprint assessment survey in Davis Ward

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Further Acknowledgements

David Beddingfield, professor of Graphic Design at SCAD, for assisting in supervising the graduate field internships focusing on this project performed by his students Teddy Gongaware and Hugo .

Graham Clark, former Chairman of Computer Art at SCAD, whose interest in the project concept and willingness to establish a collaboration between his department and Architectural History, was essential to the beginning of the project in 1997.

David Gobel and E.G. Daves Rossell, professors of Architectural History at SCAD, for their on-going assistance with the coordination of student in-class research on Savannah buildings.

Lawrence Shum, former professor of Architecture at SCAD, for directing the efforts of model building by Architecture students in 1998.

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Advisors, Consultants, and Participating Institutions

ADVISORY BOARD 2002-2004

  • Susan E. Dick, Director of Library and Archives, The Georgia Historical Society
  • Dr. Harrison Eiteljorg II, Director, Center for the Study of Architecture, Bryn Mawr
  • T. Jerry Lominack, AIA, practicing architect in Savannah; president of local AIA chapter
  • Beth Reiter, Preservation Officer, Metropolitan Planning Commission, City of Savannah
  • Dr. Crandall Shifflett, Project Director of “Virtual Jamestown” and Professor of History, Virginia Polytechnical and State University
  • Dr. John Michael Vlach, Professor, Folklife / American Studies Program, George Washington University

PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS 2002-2004

  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Armstrong Atlantic State University
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Georgia Historical Society
  • Historic Savannah Foundation
  • Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

CONSULTANTS 2000-2001

  • Harrison Eiteljorg, II – Director, Center for the Study of Architecture [at Bryn Mawr College] and Director, the Archaeological Data Archive Project – data preservation; database design
  • Christopher Hendricks, Associate Professor, Department of History, Armstrong Atlantic State University – southern history
  • Léon Robichaud, Coordinator, History and Multimedia Master’s Programme, Université de Sherbrooke – database design and management
  • Howard Robinson, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Armstrong Atlantic State University – African-American history in the South
  • Crandall Shifflett, Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institution and State University, and Director of “Virtual Jamestown” – project design and management; southern history
  • John Michael Vlach, Professor, Department of American Studies, George Washington University – vernacular architecture and folklife


ADVISORS 2000-2001

  • Stan Deaton, Georgia Historical Society
    Hugh Golson, history teacher, Savannah Arts Academy; member, Historic Savannah Board of Review
  • Kay Gunkel, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Savannah
    Jerry Lominack, AIA, Lominack and Associates
  • Beth Reiter, Preservation Officer, City of Savannah
  • Roger Smith, Georgia Historical Society (formerly at Massie Heritage Interpretation Center)


PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS 2000-2001

  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Beach Institute African American Cultural Center
  • Georgia Historical Society
  • Historic Savannah Foundation
  • Massie Heritage Interpretation Center
  • Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

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