Explore Savannah’s Squares

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When I researched Savannah, Georgia for my trip, I immediately discovered that the historic downtown was built around 24 squares. Intrigued, I added “explore Savannah’s squares and photograph each one” to my things to do in Savannah list.

More than just parks for recreations, these squares are each uniquely beautiful, full of historical significance and they are important components of the Savannah community.

Explore Savannah's Squares title

Explore Savannah’s Squares

The Squares of Savannah are rightly called the “crown jewels” of the city. This grid of squares across the historic district contributes historical value and beauty to Savannah.

The grid system, established by founder General James Oglethorpe in 1733, was originally designed to serve the needs of a growing city and support military operations. Troops initially used the squares for training grounds and meetings. Public buildings, churches and residential homes surrounded each square, creating natural communities.

Of the original 24 squares, 22 remain today. I enjoyed visiting each square, sitting or walking within them, and taking photos.

Here are the Savannah Squares, listed in alphabetical order.

Chatham Square

Location: Barnard and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1847

Chatham Square is named in honor of William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. Although the Earl never visited Savannah, he was an early supporter of the colony. The square contains a sundial dedicated to African American politician Louis Burke Toomer. This quiet green space is popular for weddings and photos.

Point of interest: Gordon Row, 15 four storied townhouses, each 20 feet wide.

Explore Savannah's Squares Chatham
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Chatham

Chippewa Square

Location: Bull and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1815

Chippewa Square commemorates the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812. In the center of the square stands a bronze statue of the colony’s founder, General Oglethorpe. He faces south to “protect Savannah from the Spanish in Florida”.

Points of interest: First Baptist Church, the Savannah Theatre and the Eastman-Stoddard House. This square is also called the “Forrest Gump Square” because this is where the bus stop scenes from the film were shot.

Explore Savannah's Squares Chippewa
Chippewa Square where scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed.

Columbia Square

Location: Habersham and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1799

This square is named “Columbia” as the female personification of Christopher Columbus. In the center is a water fountain from Wormsloe Plantation, an early Savannah settlement.

Points of interest: The Davenport House and the Kehoe House

Explore Savannah's Squares Columbia
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Columbia

Crawford Square

Location:  E Hull and Houston Streets

Designed in 1841

Crawford Square is named to honor William Harrison Crawford, Minister of France during the reign of Napoleon. Crawford was said to be the only politician with any influence over the French emperor. There is a pretty gazebo in the center of the square, which is the only one that is fenced.

Points of interest: basketball court and nearby antique stores

Explore Savannah's Squares Crawford
The gazebo in the middle of Crawford Square.

Ellis Square

Location: Bryan and Barnard Streets

Designed in 1733

Once lost to urban sprawl, this old square was restored thanks to a partnership between the City of Savannah and area developers. The restored square features underground parking and vast green spaces. It is surrounded by hotels and retail stores.

The square is named in honor of Henry Ellis, the second Royal Governor. It was once the location of the Old City Market where merchants sold crops and wares.

Points of interest: the square features a splash pad for summer fun and the current City Market is nearby

Explore Savannah's Squares Ellis
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Ellis

Franklin Square

Location: Bryan and Barnard Streets

Designed in 1791

Named for Benjamin Franklin, this square originally housed the city’s water tower and was nicknamed “water tower square”. In the middle of the square is the Haitian Monument, honoring the Haitian soldiers who fought for American independence during the Siege of Savannah.

Points of interest: First African Baptist Church and the square forms the west end of the City Market.

Explore Savannah's Squares Franklin
Franklin Square was the first square that I visited.

Greene Square

Location: Houston and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1799

This square honors General Nathanael Greene, a Revolutionary War hero who fought against the British in Savannah. This square was a central hub for the African American community.

Points of interest: Second African Baptist Church and the Cunningham House, lived in by the founding pastor of the Second African Baptist Church

Explore Savannah's Squares Greene
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Greene

Johnson Square

Location: Bull and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Named for Robert Johnson, the Royal Governor of South Carolina when Georgia was founded, this square is one of the oldest in the city and it is the largest. It originally served as a commercial hub for the community. Now it is frequently inhabited by artists selling their work. The square has two fountains and a 50 foot monument honoring Nathanael Greene. His remains were placed beneath the monument in 1901.

Points of interest: Christ Episcopal Church and City Hall

Explore Savannah's Squares Johnson
I loved walking by busy, beautiful Johnson Square every day.

Lafayette Square

Location: Abercorn and Macon Streets

Designed in 1873

This square honors the Marquis de Lafayette, who aided Americans during the Revolutionary War. There is a fountain in the center dedicated to the Colonial Dames of American.

Points of interest: The Hamilton-Turner House, Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Low Colonial Dames House and the childhood home of author Flannery O’Connor

Explore Savannah's Squares Lafayette
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Lafayette

Madison Square

Location: Bull and Macon Streets

Designed in 1837

Named to honor the fourth president, James Madison, this square features a monument dedicated to Sergeant William Jasper. He fell during the Siege of Savannah in 1779. There is also a granite marker for the southern line of the British defense during the 1779 battle.

Points of interest: St John’s Episcopal Church, the Green-Meldrim House, The Gryphon and the Sorrel-Weed House

Explore Savannah's Squares Madison
The monument in the center of Madison Square.

Monterey Square

Location: Bull and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1847

Monterey Square commemorates the 1846 Battle of Monterey during the Mexican American War. A Savannah unit of the Irish Jasper Greens fought there. The square’s monument honors Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman who was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah while fighting for the Americans.

Points of interest:  Mickve Israel Temple, Comer Jefferson House and the Mercer-Williams House, made famous by the book and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”

Explore Savannah's Squares Monterey
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Monterey

Oglethorpe Square

Location: Abercorn and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1742

This square is named for the founder of Savannah, James Oglethorpe. In the center of the square is a marker honoring the Moravians who arrived in Savannah in 1735, from the current day Czech Republic.

Point of interest: the Owens-Thomas House

Explore Savannah's Squares Oglethorpe
Oglethorpe Square honors Savannah’s founder.

Orleans Square

Location: Barnard and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1815

This square honors the heroes of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. The fountain in the square was dedicated in 1989 by Savannah’s German Society to recognize the contributions of the city’s early German immigrants.

Point of interest: the Champion-McAlpin House

Explore Savannah's Squares Orleans
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Orleans

Pulaski Square

Location: Barnard and Macon Streets

Designed in 1837

This square is named after Count Casimir Pulaski of Poland, the highest ranking foreign officer to die in the American Revolution. He fell during the Siege of Savannah in 1799.

Point of interest: Francis S Bartow House

Explore Savannah's Squares Pulaski
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Pulaski

Reynolds Square

Location: Abercorn and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Named for Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, this square features a monument dedicated to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and the Anglican minister to the colony in 1736.

Points of interest: Lucas Theatre and The Olde Pink House

Explore Savannah's Squares Reynolds
I enjoyed sitting in this park while waiting for my reservation time at The Olde Pink House.

Taylor Square

Location: Abercorn and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1851

Formally known as Calhoun Square, it was originally named after John C Calhoun, a South Carolina statesman and Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. It has been renamed Taylor Square in honor of Susie King Taylor. She was born enslaved and she was secretly educated by her freed grandmother in Savannah. Susie became the first black teacher to educate African Americans in Georgia and served as a nurse during the Civil War. She later opened a school in Savannah for African American children and published a memoir about her experiences with the 33rd United States Colored Troops.

This is the only square that still has all of its original historic buildings.

Points of interest: Massie School and Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church

Explore Savannah's Square Taylor
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Taylor

Telfair Square

Location: Barnard and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1733

Originally named St James, this square was renamed in 1883 to honor Edward Telfair, a three time governor of Georgia and patron to the arts.

Points of interest: Trinity United Methodist Church, Telfair Museum of Art and Jepson Center for the Arts

Explore Savannah's Squares Telfair
Benches in Telfair Square

Troup Square

Location: Habersham and McDonough Streets

Designed in 1851

This square is named in honor of George Michael Troup, a senator and governor of Georgia. In the center stands the Armillary Sphere, an astronomical device that shows the relationship among the celestial circles.

Points of interest: the Unitarian Universalist Church and the McDonough Row Houses

Explore Savannah's Squares Troup
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Troup

Warren Square

Location: Habersham and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1733

Warren Square honors General Joseph Warren who was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.

Point of interest: the Spencer-Woodbridge House

Explore Savannah's Squares Warren
Pretty Warren Square.

Washington Square

Location: Houston and St Julian Streets

Designed in 1790

As you might guess, this square honors our first president, George Washington. Some of Savannah’s oldest houses reside on this square. The land was once the site of the Trustees’ Garden.

Points of interest: International Seamen’s House, The Brice, A Kimpton Hotel

Explore Savannah's Squares - Washington

Whitefield Square

Location: Habersham and Wayne Streets

Designed in 1851

Whitefield Square, also pronounced and spelled “Whitfield Square”, was the last of Savannah’s squares. It honors Reverend George Whitefield, founder of the Bethesda Orphanage, the oldest orphanage in the US. A gazebo sits in the center of the square.

Points of interest: the First Congregational Church and Victorian architecture houses

Explore Savannah's Squares Whitefield
Whitefield Square is one of my favorites.

Wright Square

Location: Bull and Presidents Streets

Designed in 1733

This square is named for Sir James Wright, Georgia’s third and last colonial governor. The monument in the square honors William Washington Gordon, an early mayor of Savannah who established the Central of Georgia Railroad. A large boulder marks the grave of Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Chief who welcomed General Oglethorpe and the first colonists to the area.

The square is also the site of Savannah’s most infamous hanging, of Alice Riley who supposedly murdered her husband. Her ghost is said to haunt Wright Square.

Points of interest: Lutheran Church of the Ascension and Old Chatham County Courthouse

Explore Savannah Squares Wright
Explore Savannah’s Squares – Wright

The Two Lost Squares

Liberty Square, located at Houston and McDonough Streets, was designed in 1801. It was named to honor the Savannah patriots “Liberty Boys”.  They set the stage for Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution. The square was paved over during the construction of the new Chatham County Courthouse.

Elbert Square, located at Houston and McDonough Streets, was designed in 1801. It honored Samuel Elbert, a Revolutionary War hero and Georgia governor. A small grassy section of this square remains. (See photo at end of post.) The remainder disappeared under the Savannah Civic Center and its parking lot in 1974.

How many squares have you seen?

I loved my daily strolls, finding the beautiful and interesting Savannah Squares. One could dedicate half a day to finding all of them at once. However, I planned my four days in Savannah around the squares, visiting them and points of interest in the area and eating at restaurants nearby.

The Illustrated Map of Savannah that I used has all of the squares clearly marked and I used that map frequently to keep track of where I was. (Read my post on my other blog: Walk with a Map.) Set up on a grid, the squares are not hard to find. Once you discover one, you can map out the rest.

How many of the squares have you seen?

Elbert Square
What remains of Elbert Square

 

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Best Picture Nominations 2024

 

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With the Oscars airing on March 10, 2024, it’s officially awards seasons! And for me, that means watching each of the nominated films before that magical night. I love watching these movies, which are typically very diverse. This year is no exception.

Here are the best picture nominations 2024, with a brief synopsis of each.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 title

Ten Best Picture Nominations

Ten amazing films are nominated this year. Three are foreign films. Four are based on true stories. All kept me engaged. Some made me laugh out loud. Some brought tears to my eyes. And one caused my blood pressure to raise!

Here they are, as usual, in the order that I watched them.

Barbie

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 54 minutes

Screenplay by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach. Directed by Greta Gerwig. Nominated for 8 Oscars.

Stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera.

Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful, perfect world of Barbieland. Barbie feels especially proud about the impact she’s surely had on young girls, showing them that they can be anything and go anywhere they desire. However, when they go to the real world, they discover the perils and joys of living among humans. And Barbie is discouraged to learn that her impact is not as great as she thought.

Fun fact: Barbie is 23% larger than everything in Barbieland to mimic the disproportionate scale that real Barbies and Barbie activity sets are produced in.

Barbie is streaming on MAX and available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Barbie
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Barbie

Maestro

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 9 minutes

Screenplay by Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer. Directed by Bradley Cooper. Nominated for 7 Oscars.

Stars Carrey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper, Sarah Silverman and Matt Bomer.

This film chronicles the lifelong love story of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre. The complex story spans 30 years as Leonard reaches great heights in his career all while his marriage and homelife struggles.

Fun fact: Bradley’s interest in Bernstein started with watching Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons and observing them conduct. He asked Santa for a baton when he was eight years old.

Maestro is steaming on Netflix.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Maestro
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Maestro

Poor Things

Rated R  Run Time: 2 hours 21 minutes

Screenplay by Tony McNamara, based on the novel by Alasdair Gray. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Nominated for 11 Oscars.

Stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe.

This fantasy tale is about the growth and evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by Frankenstein-like scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter. Hungry to discover the world, Bella runs away with slick lawyer Duncan Wedderburn, on an adventure across continents. (Warning: Bella has matured without prejudice or inhibitions. Therefore, there is a LOT of sexual content in the film.)

Fun fact: Mark Ruffalo felt he was too old to play the role of Duncan Wedderburn. He writes, “To play that character, to do all the physical comedy and the language, and to make the arc that he made, it was so crazy and so exciting. It’s one foot on a banana peel and the other in a grave.” Mark is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Poor Things is currently playing in theaters across the US.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 Poor Things
Poor Things

Oppenheimer

Rated R  Run time: 3 hours

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, based on the book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Nominated for 13 Oscars.

Stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr,

This is the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his sometimes reluctant role in developing the atomic bomb. And it is the continued tale of his trial for supposed ties to communism while he struggles to come to terms with changing the history of the world.

Fun fact: Matt Damon was on a break from acting, as a promise to his wife, with one condition: if Christopher Nolan called, the break was off. Nolan offered Damon the role of Leslie Groves and the break went on hold.

Oppenheimer is available to rent on Prime HERE and has returned to theaters across the US.

Oppenheimer
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Oppenheimer

American Fiction

Rated R  Run time: 1 hour 57 minutes

Screenplay by Cord Jefferson, based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett. Directed by Cord Jefferson. Nominated for 5 Oscars.

Stars Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander and Sterling K. Brown.

Monk is an author, frustrated by culture’s obsession with reducing people to stereotypes. He is especially fed up with those who profit from Black entertainment that relies on tired tropes. To prove a point, he writes his own “black” book, under a pen name, and finds himself in the heart of hypocrisy when the book is a huge success.

Fun fact: most of the fictional book titles of the Literary Award finalists are the names of bands whose members were friends with Cord in middle school and high school.

American Fiction is playing in theaters across the US.

Best Picture Nominations 2024 American Fiction
American Fiction

Killers of the Flower Moon

Rated R  Run time: 3 hours 26 minutes

Screenplay by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese based on the book by David Grann. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Nominated for 10 Oscars.

Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons and John Lithgow.

When oil is discovered in 1920s Oklahoma, on Osage Nation land, the Osage People become wealthy. The sudden wealth attracts oil companies, friends of the People and foes. Osage people begin to die mysteriously as violence, greed and conspiracy surround a family of four Osage sisters and their elderly mother.

Fun fact: the investigation into the happenings in Osage County was the first by the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), headed by J. Edgar Hoover.

Killers of the Flower Moon is steaming on Apple+ TV or available to buy on Prime HERE.

Killers of the Flower Moon
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Killers of the Flower Moon

The Holdovers

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 13 minutes

Screenplay by David Hemingson. Directed by Alexander Payne. Nominated for 5 Oscars.

Stars Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa.

A cranky ancient history teacher, unliked by students and faculty, is chosen to remain on the campus of a boys’ school over the holidays with those unable to join their families. After a few days, only one holdover remains, a troubled young man whose good grades but bad behavior threatens him with expulsion. The teacher, the boy and a cook, who just lost her son in Vietnam, form an unlikely family for Christmas. Mishaps ensue along with the real journey of learning to understand each other…and themselves.

Fun fact: on the day the scene was shot of the boy calling home, the actor flubbed the take because he didn’t know how to use a rotary phone. It had not occurred to anyone that he had never used one before.

The Holdovers is streaming on Peacock or available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nomination 2024 The Holdovers
The Holdovers

Anatomy of a Fall

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 31 minutes

Screenplay by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari. Directed by Justine Triet. Nominated for 5 Oscars. The language in this film is French with some English. English subtitles are available.

Stars Sandra Huller, Swann Arlaud and Milo Machado Graner.

A woman is suspected of her husband’s murder after he falls from an upper balcony in their home. The couple’s son, who is partially sighted, is the primary witness. The film follows the investigation and resulting trial and the straining of the relationship between mother and son.

Fun fact: an instrumental version of 50 Cent’s P.I.M.P, featuring Snoop Dogg, opens the film as the first character to appear is a dog named Snoop.

Anatomy of a Fall is available to rent on Prime HERE.

Anatomy of a Fall
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – Anatomy of a Fall

The Zone of Interest

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Screenplay by Jonathan Glazer based on the book by Martin Amis. Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Nominated for 5 Oscars. The language in this film is primarily German, with English subtitles.

Stars Sandra Huller, Christian Friedel and Freya Kreutzkam.

Commandant Rudolf Hoss and his wife Hedwig build a dream life for themselves and their children in a spacious house with a lovely, extensive garden. The wall of their garden is shared with Auschwitz Concentration Camp, during the Holocaust. The film tightly focuses on the family and their seemingly idyllic life. Life…or rather death…within Auschwitz is never seen. However background noises of shouting, screams and gunshots remain constant throughout the movie as does the distant sight of smoke and fire pouring from the camp chimneys.

Fun fact: a much longer score was recorded for the film but the director decided to do without music for most of the movie, relying instead on the sounds of the off screen horrors occurring in Auschwitz.

The Zone of Interest is playing in theaters across the US. The indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema, made it available in my town.

The Zone of Interest
Best Picture Nominations 2024 – The Zone of Interest

Past Lives

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Screenplay by Celine Song. Directed by Celine Song. Nominated for 2 Oscars. The language in this film is English and Korean, with English subtitles available.

Stars Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro.

Childhood friends Nora and Hae Sung are separated at age 12 when Nora and her family immigrate to Canada. Twelve years later, Hae Sung uses social media to track down his old friend, who now lives in New York City while he remains in Seoul. Although they share a strong connection still, the friends agree to stop talking to each other so that they can focus on their lives and careers. Another 12 years pass before Hae Sung finally makes the trip to NYC to meet Nora again. She is now married. They spend a week catching up and discussing fate, connection and love.

Fun fact: writer/director Celine Song kept the actors Greta Lee and Teo Yoo separated as much as possible so that their scenes together, when they finally meet again in person, felt authentic.

Past Lives is available to rent on Prime HERE.

Best Picture Nominations 2924 Past Lives
Best Picture Nominations 2924 – Past Lives

My Prediction

What a selection of films. Barbie took me back to my childhood. I laughed the most during American Fiction, Poor Things and The Holdovers. And I teared up over scenes in Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and Past Lives. Maestro, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Zone of Interest are all based on true stories.

And the Zone of Interest caused my blood pressure to spike. When I realized where the family lived I felt the telltale pressure build in my head. That was a first for me. My blood pressure eventually settled back down. I think it is an extremely important film to see. We must never forget what happened then and what can happen again unless we are vigilant.

The Holdovers turned out to be my favorite film. It is a feel good movie that shows personal growth among the main characters. That’s my favorite type of film.

However, I predict Oppenheimer will take home the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s a weighty, complex film, with excellent character development. Another possibility is Poor Things for its crazy outrageousness.

How many of these Best Picture nominated films have you seen? Which film do you predict will win?

 

 

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