Local family to preserve tugboat sandbox on Savannah’s Riverfront

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A local family is working to save a piece of history on Savannah’s Riverfront.

The tugboat has been around for decades but was removed two years ago for repairs. WSAV News 3 spoke with the creators’ daughter to see how she’s working to preserve it.

Eric Meyerhoff, 91, was a partner in the architectural firm whose legacy included Savannah’s Riverfront project. Meyerhoff and his late partner, Robert Gunn, were Savannah’s signature architectural duo for more than 40 years, involved in 74 projects in the Historic District alone.

The tugboat was designed by Meyerhoff and Robert Gunn. It was their vision to recreate River Street and this was a piece of it.

The red and blue tugboat is something Margot Meyerhoff likes to call her own especially because it was created by her father.

“Unfortunately, it was removed in 2019 due to construction, the wear and tear, and the Savannah heat just took a weathering on it,” Meyerhoff said.

Mr. Meyerhoff envisioned the tugboat for the riverwalk because it’s something he enjoyed watching float by on the Savannah River.

“He would literally sit on the bench and just watch everybody, all the kids and he’d just smile,” Meyerhoff said.

River Street is usually an attraction for adults, but Mr. Meyerhoff and his partner wanted to create an area for children. Mr. Meyerhoff once said that the tugboat that used to be on the Riverfront used to bring a smile to everybody’s face and now his daughter wants to restore that smile.

“My father passed away about a year ago this week and it just meant so much to him and with my family and the support of the city of Savannah we just want to bring it back,” she said.

So she started a fundraiser on Go Fund Me to create a replica of the tugboat that would last. The goal is to raise $10,000. As River Street continues to expand, Meyerhoff said it’s just missing one thing.

“I think my dad would be proud of that as well but you know there’s just nothing for the kids,” Meyerhoff said.

The tugboat was originally made of wood so they’d rebuild it to withstand the Savannah heat and the wear and tear of all the kids climbing on it.

Meyerhoff says there is still no word on when plans with the city will be finalized to bring back the tugboat. So far the Go Fund Me has raised more than $6,000.

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