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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