The ongoing construction near the corner of DeRenne and White Bluff has brought forth a new Parker’s convenience store along with incoming Starbucks and Chick-fil-A franchises. But all the development has led locals to wonder about what’s going to happen to the massive globe. In short, it isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s getting a facelift.
On Jan. 25, 4th District Alderman Nick Palumbo and Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker gathered in front of the globe on a windy Wednesday morning to share some exciting updates about the sizable Savannah landmark.
“Today is a dream come true,” began Palumbo. “This Savannah icon [is being] celebrated in a way that Savannahians will be able to enjoy for generations,” he expressed.
The City of Savannah partnered with Parker’s to restore the globe, which had fallen into disrepair over the years.
“It’s wonderful to partner with an organization like this that recognizes these historical Savannah landmarks. Not only are they going to preserve it but enhance it. . . I’m so proud and honored that they’ve utilized [the globe] not as an impediment but as a feature of this new site,” Palumbo beamed.
For years, the globe had been blocked off by a chain-link fence, but now locals and tourists alike will have ample opportunities to experience the globe like never before. Drivers will be able to quite literally travel around the globe as they make their way through the Starbucks drive-thru. And Palumbo anticipates the globe will be a popular photo op.
“I expect to see it on the Gram, on SnapChat, TikTok, whatever you’ve got. Do your TikTok challenge right here at the globe,” he said.
The landmark was originally built in the late 1950s by Savannah Gas Co. as an emergency holding station for natural gas. More than sixty years later, the globe is still standing. And it’s been given new life with a fresh repaint by the original muralist, Eric Henn, who first painted the structure almost 25 years ago.
The steel globe has a 65-foot diameter and weighs a gargantuan 576,000 pounds. It’s one of only two structures like it in the United States — the other is near Washington, D.C. — and Henn painted them both. Based in Ohio, he was honored to have been invited back to the Hostess City to restore the globe.
“I see the pride here. This tank could’ve been discarded, but it was opted to restore it because it was a landmark. And it’s an honor to be able to have done this landmark,” said Henn.
The repaint won’t be too different from the original mural. Henn’s plan is to intensify the colors so it lasts another 25 years. He’s also correcting an error in the original painting.
“The hurricane was a very funny thing I’ll never forget. I had it going the wrong direction originally. Even though I knew what direction it turned, the way I painted it was wrong. So this time, I double and triple checked,” Henn explained.
The mural is expected to be complete within a week, and construction on the site is ongoing. According to Parker, the Chick-fil-A is anticipated to open in mid-February, with the Starbucks following shortly thereafter in March. This development project is breathing new life into this once-neglected Savannah site.
“We’re thrilled to be able to take this eyesore that was a gateway entrance to Savannah and create something we could all be proud of,” said Parker.