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Savannah’s 24 Squares
The city of Savannah, Georgia was established in 1733 and laid out around the four original squares: Ellis Square, Johnson Square, Telfair Square, and Wright Square; all originated by the coordination of James Oglethorpe, the founder of the Georgia colony and the city of Savannah. Originally, these four squares were named for each ward, Johnson, Percival, Ellis, and St. James. Later, Percival was renamed to Wright Square and St. James was renamed to Telfair Square. By the late 1851, there were 24 established squares in the City. These squares served as the original foundation to the architecture of the City, and space for military camps. Today, they serve as historical landmarks, recognizing many figures in Savannah history, along portraying the beauty and essence of Savannah.
Here they are, all 24, in chronological order...
1 | Johnson Square was the first of Savannah's original squares and was laid out in 1733. Today it remains the largest of the 24 squares in the City. This square was named after Robert Johnson, a close companion to James Oglethorpe. Many of the cities banks are located on Johnson Square, creating the common nickname, "Banking Square."
2 | Wright Square was laid out in 1733 originally named Percival Square, after Lord Percival (who named the colony of Georgia after King George II). It was not until 1763, that it was renamed Wright Square after the royal Governor of Georgia, James Wright.
3 | Ellis Square was commonly called the Marketplace Square, due to the large number of market houses and the amount of commerce that took place regularly. Georgia's second Royal Governor, Henry Ellis was the inspiration of the name of this square.
4 | Telfair Square was originally named in honor of a green space in London, England and called St. James Square. It represented the most appealing and coveted neighborhood in early Savannah. In 1883, it was renamed the Telfair Square in honor of the Telfair family.
5 | Reynolds Square was laid out in 1734 and named after Captain John Reynolds, one of Georgia's governors. In the center of the square, a bronze monument of John Wesley honors the founder of Methodism. Did you know that John Wesley founded the first Sunday School in America, here in Savannah, Georgia?
6 | Oglethorpe Square was named in honor of Georgia's founder, General James Edward Oglethorpe, a few years after it was originally laid out in 1742. While visiting this square, you should check out the Owens-Thomas House, which has been considered by many to be the finest example of Regency architecture found in the United States.
7 | Washington Square was named after the very first United States President, George Washington. Fun Fact: For years, this square hosted one of the biggest New Year's Eve bonfires, often taller than many of the houses surrounding the square. While visiting Washington Square, be sure to see the Mulberry Inn. Originally the structure was a cotton warehouse built in the 1860s, and later became a Coca-Cola bottling plant, before becoming the Mulberry Inn.
8 | Franklin Square was coined it's name after Georgia's Colony Agent to London during the colonial period, Benjamin Franklin. Visit the First African Baptist Church and City Market, which are both located on this square.
9 | Warren Square was laid out in 1791 and named after General Joseph Warren who was killed in the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. On the West side of the square, check out the Spencer House which was built the same year the square was founded.
10 | Columbia Square features the "Wormsloe Fountain." which was added to the square in 1970 to honor the DeRenne family. Originally laid in 1799, Columbia Square is located between State Street and York Street. Be sure to see the Davenport House, saved in 1955 by the Historic Savannah Foundation preservation movement started by seven local women.
11 | Green Square is named in honor of General Nathaniel Greene, second in command to George Washington in the Revolutionary War. A monument was built in the center of the square in recognition of this war hero. General Greene and his son are actually buried at nearby Johnson Square.
12 | Liberty Square honors the Sons of Liberty with its name. Recognition of the victory in the Revolutionary War is evident at this square. Unfortunately, only a small portion of this square remains, in which you can find the "Flame of Freedom" statue in the square. The square was paved over years ago to make improvements to Montgomery Street.
13 | Elbert Square was the first square of the 19th century, laid in 1801. It was named for the Sheriff of Chatham County and Governor of Georgia, Samuel Elbert. Due to damage on Montgomery Street, this square (like Liberty Square) was paved over to help improve the street.
14 | Chippewa Square is named for the famous battle fought during the War of 1812 with Great Britain. Laid out in 1815, Chippewa Square became a favorite social hangout. The monument in this square is to honor the founder of Georgia and the city of Savannah, General James Edward Oglethorpe. He was a great soldier, philanthropist, and leader. Fun Fact: The "park bench" scene in the film Forrest Gump was filmed in Chippewa Square. The actual bench Forrest sat on during the scene is not found in the square, but rather was a prop used for the film.
15 | Orleans Square was laid out in 1815 and named to recognize General Andrew Jackson's victory in the Battle of New Orleans; it honors the heroes of the War of 1812. Across the square is the Savannah Civic Center, which was completed in 1970. Must See: In 1989, a fountain was built to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Georgia and the city of Savannah.
16 | Lafayette Square in 1846, was the location of the City jail. Now, it is famous for the Andrew Low House which was built in 1849 on the West side of the square. The Battersby-Hartridge House, Hamilton-Turner House, and the Flannery O'Connor House are also located on this square. Must See: The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is breathtaking inside and out.
17 | Pulaski Square is named after war hero, General Casimir Pulaski, who died due to wounds received in the Siege of Savannah. This square is recognized for it's beautiful live oaks. To see Pulaski's statue, visit nearby Monterey Square.
18 | Madison Square was laid out in 1837 and named in honor of President James Madison. Madison Square is the home of St. John's Episcopal Church, the Green Meldrim House, and the Sorrel-Weed House. Find: Where on this square was the original location of the DeSoto Hilton Hotel?
19 | Crawford Square was erected in the 1840's and later named in 1851 to honor William Harris Crawford, who was believed at the time to be a future Presidential candidate. His greatest accomplishment he achieved was Treasury Secretary under President James Madison. Fun Fact: Crawford Square is the smallest square, but it anchors the largest ward. (The territory of Colonial Park Cemetery is included in the Crawford Ward.)
20 | Chatham Square was one of the last squares laid in Savannah in the year of 1847. It is named in honor of William Pitt, the First Earl of Chatham. Fun Fact: William Pitt never visited Savannah, Georgia.
21 | Monterey Square is surrounded by buildings that originated on this square, with the exception of the United Way building. The center monument is dedicated to General Casimir Pulaski and the unique design has an intriguing tale. Laid in 1847, and named to commemorate the Battle of Monterey, the square is the site of the Mercer House which was featured in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Fun Fact: This square has been seen in several motion pictures including the film version of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
22 | Troup Square is a great site to bring your pet! The Myers Drinking Fountain is located here in Troup Square, which is known for hydrating thirsty pets. The fountain was a gift from Savannah Mayor Herman Myers, originally located in Forsyth Park, and reinstalled in the 1980s.
23 | Calhoun Square was laid out in downtown Savannah in 1851 and named in honor of John Calhoun, South Carolina statesman and Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Vice-President under President John Quincy Adams and President Andrew Jackson. The Massie School and Wesley Monumental Methodist Church are located on this square.
24 | Whitefield Square was the last square built in Savannah and was named for Reverend George Whitefield, the founder of the Bethesda Home for Boys. The square was laid in 1851, while the Bethesda Orphanage was completed over 100 years prior in 1740.
There you have it, all 24 squares and a brief description of their uniqueness. It is actually possible to walk all 24 squares in one day, so use this list as a guide to get you started on an adventure. Be sure to let us know of some of the intriguing things you find.
BTW: Traffic in squares always flow counterclockwise, to the right. Vehicles in squares have the right of way. Vehicles must yield to pedestrians and should treat cyclist as other vehicles. Driving in a square is very similar to driving in a traffic circle.
By: Brianne Baggett