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The First Girl Scout Juliette Gordon was born in 1860, one of six children of wealthy Savannah lawyer, mayor and statesman William Washington Gordon II and Eleanor Kinzie, of a prominent Chicago family. A daughter of privilege, Juliette—or Daisy, as she preferred to be called—completed her education in Eastern boarding schools. At age 20, she was formally presented to Savannah society.

In 1886 Daisy married William Mackay Low, the son of a Georgia-born mother and a successful British merchant with significant Savannah holdings. The couple would travel to England within a year, and Daisy discharged her list of things to do as lady of the manor with great ease and aplomb. She was even presented at court. The Lows separated in 1902, and William died before divorce proceedings could be finalized, leaving the bulk of his estate to a mistress and just a token pension to his lawful wife. The rightful Mrs. Low, however, sued and won her inheritance, which included the Low family house in Savannah.

Single and independently wealthy, Daisy traveled the world for several years. While in England in 1911 she became friends with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a British military hero and founder of the Boy Scouts, and quickly got involved with the group's female counterpart, the Girl Guides. Convinced that she had found what to do with her life, Daisy returned to Savannah the next year and—at age 51—assembled the first troop of Girl Guides in the United States. The name was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.

Even before her marriage failed, Daisy was well acquainted with adversity. In her early 20s she suffered permanent hearing damage in one ear after receiving poor treatment for an infection. Then, on her wedding day, a grain of rice thrown by a well-wisher lodged in her good ear, resulting in more injury. Daisy went through the rest of her life with diminished hearing. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1923, she continued to work tirelessly for the cause dearest to her heart—the Girl Scouts. Her closest associates were not even aware of her illness until very near the end. Daisy died on January 17, 1927. Ever the scout, she was buried in uniform.

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Although Juliette Gordon Low had no children, she nurtured thousands—168,000 in fact, at the time of her death. She left her wealth and an enduring legacy to her beloved family, the Girl Scouts of the USA. To learn more, take a trip to both the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and the Andrew Low House during a vacation to this vibrant destination.

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Savannah, GA

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Travel Information

City Population

136,286

Elevation

41 ft.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate for Savannah is 7%. The state of Georgia adds a $5 per night fee on all hotel-motel stays less than 31 days.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(912) 652-6500

Hospitals

Candler Hospital (912) 819-6000; Memorial Health (912) 350-8000; St. Joseph’s Hospital (912) 819-4100.

Visitor Information

301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Savannah, GA 31402. Phone:(912)944-0455

Air Travel

Some major carriers serve the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), 15 miles from the historic district.

Rental Cars

Hertz, (800) 654-3080, is at the airport and offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

The Amtrak train station, (800) 872-7245, is at 2611 Seaboard Coastline Dr.

Buses

Service is provided by Southeastern Stages, (912) 232-2135, and Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, at 610 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

Taxis

Cab companies include Yellow Cab of Savannah, (912) 224-3298 or (912) 236-1133 (base fare is $2 with a rate of $1.92 per mile), and Chatham Cab, (912) 691-4466 (base fare is $2.28 with a rate of 38c per 1/6 mile).

Public Transportation

Bus service is provided by Chatham Area Transit (CAT); phone (912) 233-5767 for information about routes and schedules.

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