Lost Spirits: A One-Night Adventure Through Prohibition-Era Savannah
Lost Spirits is a themed scavenger-hunt-meets-bar-crawl, designed as a one-night event taking place across four distinct locations in the Historic District of Savannah, GA.
Premise and Introduction
Savannah during Prohibition was known as the “Spigot of the South,” as its riverfront locale and longstanding drinking culture led to Savannah becoming a distribution hub of alcohol to larger cities like Philadelphia and Chicago.
Major players in Savannah’s Prohibition operations included:
- Local Bootleggers: They knew the land, and ran Caribbean liquor from cargo ships parked in the Savannah River through the marshes via speedboat to shore.
- The Fed: Local spies, corruption, and tapped telephone wires meant that bootleggers were rarely arrested until a major raid in 1923, where 120 people were indicted.
- The Chicago Mob: Al Capone was known for stopping in on his way from Chicago to Miami, and for having a favorite Savannah mechanic who could fix up his cars without asking too many questions.
In Lost Spirits, guests are invited to join one of these three parties and investigate the few speakeasies that are still operating after the Major Raid of 1923. Tickets includes entry and a free drink at each of 4 speakeasies.
The marquee and check-in stand for Lost Spirits was based on a 1920s-era news stand, to be located in the busy pedestrian-only area of City Market in Savannah’s Historic District. At this stand, guests are given maps showing each location, wristbands to denote guests’ team and if they are 21+ or not, and given their mission: to gain entry to each speakeasy and find out who is operating it, and report to their superior who will be waiting for them on the Canary Riverboat, the fourth and final stop of the night.
The map book provided to each participant details each speakeasy’s location, which are each about a 5-10 minute walk apart, located in downtown Savannah with nearby bus lines and car parking available as alternative modes of transportation. Help is also available if participants need assistance with clues, via an attended phone line at the check-in stand, and from any of the actors or employees at each location.
Each speakeasy was designed to fit into an existing space that, as of January 2023, was available for sale or rent in Savannah, GA.
Guests’ maps also function as a ticket book to be stamped when free drinks have been redeemed at each location.
Stop 1: The Garage
The Garage at 120 Whitaker St isn’t exactly glamorous. It’s dingy and full of car parts, the drinks are unassuming, and a guy in a trench coat with a Midwestern accent is sitting at the bar looking slightly suspicious.
Talking to this guy reveals that he’s a lackey for the out-of-town Mob, and he’s waiting for his car to be fixed up by the mechanic and owner of The Garage. However, the Mob Lackey is pretty low on the totem pole and doesn’t actually know the name of the mechanic.
Participants playing as the out-of-town Mob get a nod and a wink from the Mob Lackey; they’re part of the same Outfit, after all. He’ll give participants a hint to listen in near the bathrooms to find out more information. To participants playing as the Fed or Local Bootleggers, the Mob Lackey will get irritated after too many questions.
Exploring near the bathrooms reveals an unmarked door left ajar, which leads to a dark hallway with a locked door at the end. Motion sensors will trigger a recording. Participants listening in will overhear a conversation between the mechanic and a higher-up member of the Mob about how much repairs on his getaway car are going to cost. The Mob Higher-Up drops the name of the mechanic during this conversation.
Throughout the Garage are other useful clues: a note left on a workbench reveals the password needed for the next location, and if participants haven’t made the Mob Lackey too suspicious, he can verify the mechanic’s name or reveal the next place’s password as well.
The Garage was designed to fit into an open restaurant space at 120 Whitaker St.
Below: Elevation detailing decor and lighting inside The Garage.
Stop 2: Greenwall’s Drugstore
After collecting the required password, participants follow their maps to the next stop, the basement-level Greenwall’s Drugstore at 300 W Broughton St (no relation to the Walgreen’s on the floor above). The doorman to the basement speakeasy will show guests downstairs if they ask him for a prescription.
Downstairs, bartenders will tell participants that Doc Greenwall owns the place, but also that he was recently arrested in the Major Raid. They imply he was sold out but dodge any further questions.
Aside from the bartenders, there are two other roaming characters at Greenwall’s. One is Maisie, a local gossip who will freely share some information with participants playing as Local Bootleggers. She mentions that someone over at The Hidden Gem sold out Doc, and that his wife Elsie has been running things without him.
The second character, Elsie Greenwall, is more reluctant to trust anyone and will deny allegations that she’s operating the place. Eager to move guests along, she’ll reveal the password to the next stop, The Hidden Gem, and tell them to ask Frank for anything they want to know.
These tips can also be found by investigating clues in Greenwall’s decor, including ledgers showing someone named “Jatsby” and his generous “remedial ethanol” prescriptions, newspaper clippings with handwritten passwords, and a note that says “ask Elsie if you need a fix + Doc’s not around.”
Greenwall’s menu is full of scientific reactions and nods to medicinal fads of the time, like the glowing Radium Therapy (does not actually contain radium), the steaming Angel’s Share, and the color-changing Blood Purifier.
Greenwall’s was designed to fit in the for-sale basement space of 300 W Broughton St, underneath a Walgreen’s pharmacy. Doc Greenwall operated his family pharmacy out of the main floor, until the expanding Walgreen’s (est. 1901) priced him out. He moved all his remaining supplies down to the basement and began selling ethanol “prescriptions” to keep the lights on.
Elevation of the bar at Greenwall’s Drugstore:
Stop 3: The Hidden Gem
The Hidden Gem at 412 Williamson St is elegant, with live musicians playing on a small stage, and a balcony overlooking the River Street area. The bartenders and doormen don’t want much to do with guests, but they will direct anyone who asks towards Frank, one of the musicians.
When he’s not onstage playing, Frank will engage with guests. He is easily panicked and will let slip that his sister Elsie Greenwall is furious with him, after Frank tipped off the Feds and had Doc Greenwall arrested in the Major Raid out of fear that The Hidden Gem would get shut down. Frank will be extra afraid of participants if they reveal they are part of the out-of-town Mob, and will say something along the lines of “Don’t tell Al I’m down here, that’s all behind me. I’m doing music now!”
Another character at The Hidden Gem is an undercover Fed Agent, who will be particularly friendly to those playing as the Fed (“I didn’t see the drink in your hand… and you didn’t see mine”). He will imply that The Hidden Gem’s owner is part of a crowd of old-money Savannahians, and can point guests towards the back office if they have questions.
The specialty drink offerings at The Hidden Gem are likewise elegant and refined.
Curious guests will find a back room that has been left unlocked, which proves to be the owner’s study. Its walls are crammed with photographs of prominent politicians and local celebrities, and autographed toasts to someone named Jimbo Jatsby. Further investigation relays Jatsby’s current financial troubles.
Below is an elevation of the owner’s office.
Guests can also overhear in the bathrooms conversations between the bartenders gossiping about the fact that their owner is broke, or Frank’s family troubles, or speculation that Frank may or may not be the lone survivor of the Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago…
Participants will be told to get out of The Hidden Gem if they’re overheard saying Jimbo Jatsby’s name, or that they know he owns the place. On the way out, the doorman points participants towards the Canary Riverboat that is moored out on the river (“Just be careful of those historic steps…”).
Finale: Canary Riverboat
Participants who make it to the Canary Riverboat, and can successfully relay all requested information, have completed their goal! They are free to spend the rest of their night enjoying the upper and lower decks of the boat.
The Canary’s upper deck is refined and designed in an Art Deco style:
Meanwhile, the lower deck features live music for a more energetic crowd:
The riverboat itself has weighed anchor in the Savannah River off of River St, a short walk from the nearby Hidden Gem.
- Alanoud Aldbian – Revit modeling, layout and schematics
- Isabella Christy – Concept art, menu and costume design
- Nicolette Culver – Concept art, menu and costume design
- Madison Demberg – Revit modeling, layout and schematics
- Valerie Smetanka – Concept art, menu and costume design
Academic level: We are all first-year Themed Entertainment Design graduate students at SCAD.
All story writing was a collaborative effort between team members.
Please see here for the full project pdf, including additional elevations, material boards, and more.
Thank you so much for your time!