A Mr. Martus was the keeper of the old lighthouse on Elba Island which helped guide the ships into and out of the port of Savannah; his sister Florence lived there and helped him in what would otherwise have been a pretty lonely life. Florence kept a little garden, weather records, and became quite accurate at predicting the weather and forecasting storms approaching off the Georgia coast. Their only company was a dog which they always kept.
One day Florence had gone into Savannah for supplies, and while there she met a handsome young sailor from a distant port (some say Greece or Italy), and it was love at first sight. During the few days the sailor had to spend in Savannah, he and Florence saw as much of each other as possible (this was in the 1880's)...he asked her to marry him upon his return to Savannah, then sailed off into the horizon. She never saw him again, but took up the practice of waving her long apron to greet each ship which entered Savannah's harbor. This went on for years, and in all types of weather.
The lighthouse became fully automated in 1931, and Mr. Martus retired; he and his sister moved into the city. The Propellor Club presented Florence a plaque of gratitude and named her "Savannah's Sweetheart" at a testimonial dinner in 1938. Death came to Florence Martus in 1943...but that's not the end of the story.
To this day, on occasion, as ships entering the Savannah River pass the old lighthouse, they are sometimes greeted by a woman (sometimes she only appears as a fluttering cloth) waving an apron and with her dog at her side. A statue of Florence Martus was erected on the Riverfront on River Street in Savannah. This story is very well-documented.
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