Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Squares of Savannah

Savannah's founder, James Edward Oglethorpe, decided to design Savannah around a series of "town squares" where the citizens could come together for social occasions and everyday interaction.

The Four Original Squares

Johnson Square
The first square in Savannah was established by the city's founder, James Edward Oglethorpe in 1733.

Ellis Square
Recently restored after fifty years as a parking garage, this square has a fun water feature for kids!

Telfair Square
Most squares in Savannah are named for individuals.  This Savannah square is named for the Telfair family for their many contributions to the city and state of Georgia.

Wright Square
Before the Revolutionary War, the last Royal Governor of Georgia for England was James Wright. This square bears his name since 1763, although it was originally named Percival Square. It is the burial site of Tomochichi.

18th Century Squares

Columbia Square
Once the far southeastern border of the young City of Savannah, Columbia Square is now a beautiful square bustling with tourists year round. The center features the "Wormsloe Fountain" and on the edges of this square is Davenport House, who's planned demolition in the 1950's sparked the birth of Savannah's Historic Preservation efforts.

Greene Square
General Nathaniel Greene was a Revolutionary War hero in command of all forces in the southern colonies. As one of George Washington's key players, he was instrumental in the the United States achieving independence from Britian.

Franklin Square
This Savannah square was established the same year Benjamin Franklin died (1790). This square is the most northwestern of all and it adjacent to City Market. A monument honoring Hatian immigrants was dedicated in 2007.

Liberty Square
In 1799 this square was created to honor the American victory in the Revolutionary Way. It is one of Savannah's lost squares that no longer exists.

Oglethorpe Square
Named for Georgia's founder, Oglethorpe Square is one of the few squares without a monument at the center. It's an open square with lots of grass for tourists to enjoy a picnic or locals to walk their dogs.

Reynolds Square
Captain John Reynolds served as the Governor of Colonial Georgia. One of the last two original squares was renamed for him. The original name of this square was "Lower New Square." Today a monument to John Wesley is at the center of this Savannah square.

Warren Square
Many of Savannah's squares are named for famous generals. Warren Square is named after General Joseph Warren who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Washington Square
President Washington visited Savannah during his first term.  In 1791, Washington came to our city and presented two cannons captured from the British.  The "Washington Guns" are on display on Bay Street, about one half mile from Washington Square.

19th Century Squares
The last square laid our was in 1851, 118 years after James Edward Oglethorpe founded the colony and laid out the four original squares.

Chatham Square
Both this square and the county in which Savannah is located are named for the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt. Chatham Square is on Barnard Street and it was one of Savannah's last squares to be established.

Chippewa Square
Once the center of nightlife in Savannah, this square showcases the monument to General James Edward Oglethorpe. It was also where the scene of Tom Hanks sitting on a bench with a box of chocolates was filmed in the movie Forrest Gump.

Calhoun Square
Savannah's Calhoun Square was laid out in 1851. It is named for John C. Calhoun. Massie School and Wesley Monumental Methodist Church are on this square.

Crawford Square
More locals enjoy this square than visitors as its the site of a basketball court and playground. There are no monumnets in the square, however there is an old Fire Fighter's Cistern from the 1800s that was used to battle fires.

Elbert Square
Laid out along the western border of the city, Elbert Square was mostly removed to make room for the Savannah Civic Center in the 1900s. Preservationists hope to restore it one day.

Layfayette Square
More than 100 years after the first squares were laid out in Savannah, Layfayette Square was built in 1737.  Today it features a beautifully ornate fountain and sits in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  It is the sight of many outdoors weddings.

Madison Square
The fourth President of the United States, James Madison, is honored with this square.  At the center of the square is a very large monument to Sergeant William Jasper, who fought heroically at the Siege of Savannah.

Monterey Square
This Savannah square commemorates a famous battle from the Mexican-American War.

Orleans Square
The Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815 and under the command of General Andrew Jackson, the American forces defeated the British.  This was one of the final engagements of the War of 1812.  On Barnard Street, between Perry & Hull Street, a new square was established a named to honor this important victory. The square is home to the German Memorial Fountain.

Pulaski Square
Count Casimir Pulaski is honored with this square. He sacrificed his life in 1779 during the Siege of Savannah. The monument to Pulaski is actually located in Monterey Square. Fort Pulaski, the site of a major Civil War Battle, near Tybee Island is also named for Count Pulaski.

Troup Square
Georgia Governor George Troup is honored with this square, originally created in 1851. At the center is a large Armillary Sphere. It is a locals favorite.

Whitefield Square
One of the last of Savannah's squares, Whitefield Square is named for the Rev. George Whitefield, founder of Savannah's Bethesda Orphanage. 

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