Thunderbolt, Georgia is a small, quirky town located about 5 miles southeast of downtown Savannah. The town of Thunderbolt runs along the western shore of the Wilmington River, a tidal river that is part of the U.S. Intracoastal Waterway. The town is important to Georgia’s shrimping industry, with scores of docks for shrimping trawlers. It’s picturesque atmosphere and seafood restaurants draw many local visitors.
The town owes its name to an Indian legend of a lightning strike that created a freshwater spring on the Wilmington River bluff. Native Americans were found to be among the first inhabitants. Thunderbolt was a settlement which evolved into a shipping point for local plantation needs and also serviced the river traffic of the mighty Savannah River. It was in Thunderbolt in 1890 that Georgia State College was founded for the education of African Americans. This college continues to be a historically black institution and is known today as Savannah State University.
In 1939, yacht racing became popular and saw the construction of a yacht basin which is still in use today as are several local marinas. Annually, the “Blessing of the Fleet” was celebrated until recent years and shrimping evolved into the primary seafood product. Today, the Town of Thunderbolt remains a unique community with a distinct personality all of its own. Families dwell in this town for many generations and become a part of the town’s rich history.
Small wooden frame cottages and homes are the standard housing stock though newer condos and townhomes are positioned along the water here as well. The town is in close proximity to Downtown Savannah as well as the Islands. It is also home to Savannah’s most beautiful and famous cemetery- Bonaventure -which gained modern popularity/notoriety thanks to the book ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’
Victory Drive is a direct route into Midtown Savannah as well as Tybee Island. The nearby Victory Drive/Skidaway corridor is the retail lifeblood of this area and offers everything from Starbuck’s to yoga to Krispy Kreme and much more.