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Franklin Square

Laid out in 1790, Water Tank Square was later renamed to honor Benjamin Franklin, who served as the colonists' agent in London from 1768-1775. It was Franklin that sent seeds of the Chinese tallow tree to Noble Wimberly Jones in Georgia, with a note saying that he hoped they'd flourish. Flourish they did, and now this tree even grows wild in the woods, with leaves like Chinese lanterns and "popcorn" seed pods for flower arrangers to harvest in autumn. Neglected a while, Franklin Square has recently been recreated and reinstated, bringing Savannah's squares to a total of twenty-one.

Franklin Square
1. City Market
309 West St. Julian Street. Formerly seed and feed warehouses, now a bustling beehive of restaurants, shops, and artists' studios.
2. First African Baptist Church
(1859) Montgomery Street on Franklin Square. Oldest African-American church in North America; building constructed by slave hands.

  Johnson Square

Courtesy of Best Read Guide

Johnson Square is notable for being the first square laid according to General James Oglethorpe's design, which today includes 21 preserved squares and the fragments of two others. Located on Bull Street between Bryan and Congress streets, Johnson Square is the center of Savannah's financial district and a setting for many civic and historic functions, including a reception for President James Monroe in 1819. The square is named for Robert Johnson, the Royal Governor of South Carolina at the time of Georgia's founding. General Oglethorpe named the square in the governor's honor for his invaluable assistance to the colonists in the first days of their settlement.

In the center of the square is an obelisk memorial to General Nathaniel Greene. General Greene was George Washington's second-in-command during the American Revolution and, in 1782, he was sent to Georgia to oversee its liberation from the British. Most of the city's Loyalists fled for the friendlier climes of England and five years and one week after the signing of the Declaration of Independence (which had first been read to Georgians in Johnson Square), American forces retook Savannah.

For his heroism in the Revolution, Greene was given nearby Mulberry Plantation, where, within a dozen years, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, a device that transformed the South. Greene died prematurely in 1786 and was buried in Colonial Cemetery. His monument in Johnson Square was dedicated by the Marquis de Lafayette during his triumphant visit to Savannah in 1825 and Greene's remains were exhumed and re-interred beneath the monument in 1902. Christ Episcopal Church is located on the eastern side of the square. Known as Georgia's "Mother Church," it dates from its initial service on February 12, 1733, the day the first English settlers arrived on the high bluff above the river. Christ Episcopal stands on the site reserved by General Oglethorpe for the colony's first house of worship. Here, John Wesley, the subsequent founder of Methodism, began the American tradition of Sunday School. The current structure was built in 1838 and designed by James Hamilton Couper, a planter from St. Simons Island and a scholar in the field of tabby construction. The building resembles a Roman temple, with a simple portico supported by six Corinthian columns.

On the square is also a sundial dedicated to Colonel William Bull. Bull was a South Carolinian who came with Oglethorpe to find a suitable site for the new colony and it was he who suggested the city's current site, after Oglethorpe rejected Tybee Island as being too marshy. Bull also helped implement Oglethorpe's design for the city and Bull Street, the Historic District's east-west dividing line, was named for him as well.

Many thanks to Roulhac Toledano, author of The National Trust Guide to Savannah, to Ron Freeman, author of Savannah: People, Places, & Events, and to Preston Russell and Barbara Hines, authors of Savannah: A History of Her People Since 1733. Their books can be purchased in stores throughout the Historic District.

Johnson Square
1. Christ Episcopal Church
(1733), Bull Street on Johnson Square. First church in Georgia (The Mother Church of Georgia). This is the third building on t


Reynolds Square

Mapped out in 1734 as Lower New Square, Reynolds Square was home to the Filature, where cocoons were brought and silk woven.  Hopes for a flourishing silk industry were dashed when fire destroyed the Filature in 1758.  The square was renamed for John Reynolds, first Royal Governor of Georgia.  The statue, by sculptor Marshall Daugherty, is of the Rev. John Wesley and was dedicated by the Methodist Church in 1979.  Mr. Wesley wears clerical vestments of the Church of England.

Reynolds Square
1. Lucas Theater
(1921), corner of Abercorn and Congress Streets. A 1920s movie palace now being restored.
2. Christ Church Parish House
18 Abercorn Street. Fourteen arched windows on a former cigar factory at the corner of Abercorn and Bryan Streets.
3. The Pink House
(c.1789) 23 Abercorn Street. One of the few buildings to survive the inferno of 1796 when over 200 houses were destroyed.
4. Oliver Sturges House
(c.1818) 27 Abercorn Street. Masterful masonry with earthquake rods, dolphin downspouts.
 


Warren Square

This square was named for General Joseph Warren, Revolutionary War hero, who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren and neighboring Washington Square comprise the first extension of Oglethorpe's original four, then six, squares. They were added in 1790.

Warren Square
1. John David Mongin House
(1793) 24 Habersham Street. Research by William Charlton Hartridge tells that Mr. Mongin was a planter of Sea Island cotton whose father-in-law lived at Bloody Point on Daufuskie Island.
2. 22 Habersham Street
(1790). Mustard-toned frame house; escaped terrible fire of 1796.


Washington Square

Added in 1790 with Warren Square, Washington Square once bordered the Trustees' Garden in those early days and was known as Eastern Common. The square was named to honor General George Washington, the first president of the United States.

Washington Square
1. Hampton Lillibridge House
(c.1796), second house from the square, 507 East St. Julian Street. Widow's walk atop gambrel roof on a grey frame house, rumored to be haunted.
2. International Seaman's House
25 Houston Street. Shady front porch with American flag; a welcome sight to seamen.
3. Trustees' Garden Village
Beginning at East Broad and Bay Streets. Originally ten acres of experimental gardens for the colonists - now a residential delight.


Greene Square

This square was named for General Nathaniel Greene, aide to General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. General Greene is also honored by the obelisk in Johnson Square, where he and his son are now buried. In gratitude for his service, General Greene was given Mulberry Grove Plantation, where he died at 44 of sunstroke. It was at Mulberry Grove in 1793 that young Eli Whitney took time out from tutoring the Greene children to invent the cotton gin, with the help of Catherine Littlefield "Caty" Greene, widow of the brave General.

Greene Square
1. 24 Houston Street
(1815) Clapboard house believed to be built for Isaiah Davenport, a builder himself, who came to Savannah from Rhode Island.
2. 536 East State Street
(1845) A red frame house built for John Dorsett.
3. Second African Baptist Church
Houston Street on Greene Square. Sherman and Stanton met here with newly-freed slaves just after the end of the Civil War.


Columbia Square

Columbia Square, laid according to Oglethorpe's plan in 1799, is named for the mythical female figure whose spirit is believed to look over the fortunes of our country. In paintings, she takes on an appearance similar to that of the Statue of Liberty in New York, or of the Goddess of Liberty who stands atop the Pulaski Monument (currently under restoration, the Goddess can be seen in the Savannah History Museum at the Visitor's Center).

The square is home to the Isaiah Davenport House, which is significant to Savannah's history for two reasons. First, the house, built by alderman and contractor Davenport in 1821, it is one of the city's finest examples of Federalist architecture. This style is marked by its use of symmetry; the house has a central front hall, dual sweeping staircases to the street, the fanlight above the front door, and a modest, stolid rectangular shape. Its architectural significance leads to its second and greater role in Savannah history.

After being neglected for many years, having declined into status as a tenement, the home was scheduled for demolition to make way for a parking lot for the funeral parlor across the street. The nascent Historic Savannah Foundation, guided by Anna Hunter, quickly raised funds to purchase the house; the deed was transferred just before the house was to fall. In the next four years, the foundation completely renovated the house and assumed it as its headquarters. The success of the foundation in saving and refurbishing the home led to a renewal of interest in the historic downtown area, and over the years the foundation has been instrumental in saving hundreds of buildings that otherwise would have made way for parking lots or architecturally unimportant edifices.

 Columbia Square also has a fountain from the old Wormsloe Plantation.  Wormsloe was one of the first plantations in Georgia. Its founder, Noble Jones, came from England with Oglethorpe to settle the colony, and on the site he proposed to cultivate silkworms with which to give Savannah material to trade with England.  The fountain was presented to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Wainwright Roebling, descendants of Jones.  Opposite the fountain stands the Kehoe House. Today it is one of Savannah's finest historic inns, originally constructed by ironworks magnate Ivan Kehoe for his family home. Of particular note on the Queen Anne structure are the balustrades and railings along the verandas; Kehoe believed that anything that could be made of wood could be made just as well with iron from his foundry.

Columbia Square is located on Habersham Street between President and Congress Streets.



Columbia Square
1. Francis Stone House
(1821), 402-404 East State Street. High-stooped, white, frame house with black trim; built for city alderman Francis Stone.
2. Isaiah Davenport House
(1815-1821) 324 East State Street. Here's the linchpin of historic preservation in Savannah. It was the threat of destruction of this house that prompted seven strong Savannah women in 1955 to band together in outraged opposition.
3. The Kehoe House
(c.1890) 123 habersham Street. Red brick and terra cotta, built for William J. Kehoe, founder of Kehoe Iron Works. DeWitt Bruyn, architect.


Oglethorpe Square

Oglethorpe Square was laid out in 1742 and named for James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony. No central monument here, but there is a memorial to the pacifist Moravians who arrived in 1736 on the same ship that brought John and Charles Wesley to Savannah. (The Oglethorpe monument is in Chippewa Square.)

Oglethorpe Square
1. Cluskey Buildings
(1830) 127 Abercorn Street. Brick office building with leafy ironwork, blue-green shutters.
2. Richardson-Owens-Thomas House
(c. 1819) 124 Abercorn Street. Renowned Regency house, designed by William Jay.



Wright Square

When General James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah, arrived in 1733 he had in mind a plan to create a city around a grid of squares.  Wright Square, on Bull Street between President and York, was the second, laid the year that the colony was established.  The square originally was named for Lord Viscount Percival, who headed the Trustees that supported the adventure to the New World.  However, the square took its permanent name in 1763, in honor of Royal Governor James Wright, a man who took the Savannah stage at a turbulent time in her history.

The governor came to Savannah in 1760 and was met with a mixed response.  The records of the time show him to have been an effective and popular governor, but, though he was born on American soil, his first duty was to king and England and he upheld the crown's controversial tax policies.  As a result, he drew the ire of Georgia's Liberty Boys, a patriot group that advocated immediate secession from England.  The revolutionaries arrested Wright, but he escaped and made his way to England.

Two years later the British took Savannah by force and Wright returned in 1779, only to depart once more when the Americans triumphantly entered Savannah at war's end.  Wright is now interred at Westminster Abbey.

If Johnson Square is the banking center of Savannah, then Wright Square is her nexus of government.  On the west side of the square is the Federal Courthouse and Post Office.  William Aiken designed the building, which was constructed in 1898.  Widely considered one of Savannah's grandest structures, it's constructed of Georgia marble (even the curs in front are marble) and is distinguished by a series of arching windows and terra-cotta ornamental flourishes. Its exterior can be seen in such movies as the original Cape Fear and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Across the square stands the old Chatham County Courthouse.  Constructed in the Romanesque Revival style and completed almost 10 years before the Post Office across the way, it shares certain superficial features with the Federal building.  The courthouse boasts arched entryways and windows and has a bell tower.  Unlike the Post Office, however, the courthouse is constructed of yellow brick, a feature rarely seen in Savannah.

Next to the old courthouse is the Lutheran Church of the Ascension.  The congregation descends from Austrian Salzburgers, who came to Savannah in 1734 to join the colony.  Many of them moved northwest and established the town of Ebenezer.  Those who stayed prospered under the leadership of the Reverend Johann Bolzius.  The current structure was completed in the late 1870s and serves as a legacy to the Salzburgers, who were so diligent, thrifty and temperate that Oglethorpe asked the Trustees to send more to his fledgling colony.

The monument at the center of the square is in honor of William W. Gordon, a former mayor of Savannah, who founded the Central of Georgia Railroad. The railroad, initially stretching from Savannah to Macon, opened a corridor to the interior and Gordon's vision made him a wealthy and celebrated man. The Gordon family remained illustrious. Gordon's son, Willie, served in the Civil War and as a general in the Spanish-American War. Granddaughter Juliet Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts and the family home, one block south of the square, is now a museum.

Gordon's daughter-in-law, vivacious Chicago socialite Nellie Kinzie Gordon, arranged to have the granite monument to Tomochichi placed in the square. Tomochichi was the chief of Yamacraw Indians who lived on the site when Oglethorpe arrived to establish the colony and he befriended the English.  In time, the chief traveled across the Atlantic to be presented to the royal court and it's believed that he was buried in Wright Square.

Many thanks to Roulhac Toledano, author of The National Trust Guide to Savannah, and to Ron Freeman, author of Savannah: People, Places & Events. Their books can be purchased in stores throughout the Historic District.

Wright Square
1. United States Post Office
(1898) 127 Bull Street. Massive Georgia marble and granite building with intricate friezes under eaves.
2. Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center
(Wayne-Gordon House Museum, c.1818). An imposing Regency mansion in shades of brown; birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low.
3. Old Chatham County Courthouse
(1889) 124 Bull Street. Romanesque yellow brick and terra cotta on granite base.
4. Lutheran Church of the Ascension
(1879) Bull Street on Wright Square. Soaring French Gothic spires; founded by the Lutherans from Salzburg, Austria.



Telfair Square

The original name of Telfair Square was St. James Square after the square in London. It's the fourth of oglethorpe's original four squares.

Telfair Square
1. Telfair Museum of Art
(building 1818) 121 Barnard Street. Regency mansion designed by William Jay; statues in front of Phidias, Raphael, Rubens, Michelangelo and Rembrandt.
2. Trinity United Methodist
(c. 1848) Barnard Street on Telfair Square. Oldest Methodist Church in Savannah; two Corinthian columns in front.



Orleans Square

Orleans Square was named for the 1815 victory of General Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, during the War of 1812. The fountain was given in 1989 by Savannah's German heritage organizations, one of the many groups included and treasured in Savannah's ethnic diversity. Orleans Square was added to the city plan in 1815.

Orleans Square
1. Savannah Civic Center
Built on the site of the Bulloch-Habersham House, designed by William Jay (c.1820) and razed by the city of Savannah in 1914.
2. Champion-McAlpin-Fowlkes House
(1842) 230 Barnard Street. Two-story Corinthian columns on a masterpiece of Greek Revival architecture.
3. 114 and 116 West Hull Street
(1817), at the corner of West Hull and Barnard. With tin roofs and twin dormers, these houses were designed in 1817 by John Ash.


  Chippewa Square

Chippewa Square, located on Bull Street between Hull and Perry Streets, is at the very center of Savannah's famed Historic District.  Established in 1815, it takes its name from the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, in which American forces under Major General Jacob Jennings Brown defeated the English (irreverently known by the victors as "lobsterbacks" for their bright red tunics).

In the middle of the square is a statue of General James Oglethorpe.  Oglethorpe, born in 1696, founded the colony of Georgia in 1733 with the intention of creating a utopian haven for debtors, a place for adventurers to make a fresh start in the New World.  When the general landed on what is today River Street, he was met by a small tribe of Yamacraw Indians led by Tomochichi.  Oglethorpe and Tomochichi quickly forged a strong friendship and the settlers were made welcome by the Indians.

Oglethorpe's plan for the colony was ambitious and he quickly devised the unique design of neighborhoods centered around squares that remains, two-and-a-half centuries later, remarkably and beautifully intact.

Under his guidance, Savannah cultivated mulberry trees to create raw silk for export to England.  Of more far reaching significance was his role in delivering North America to the English.  In the Battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island, about 75 miles south of Savannah, Oglethorpe and his soldiers defeated the Spanish who had come north from Florida.  A small battle, it secured the lower Atlantic coast for the English when the Spanish retreated to Florida.  The statue in Chippewa Square, sculpted by Daniel Chester French in 1910, faces south, in the Savannah tradition of placing monuments toward their historic enemies.

 There were very few restrictions in the colony and Oglethorpe welcomed nearly everybody who came to settle in Savannah. Initially, his only proscriptions were against slavery, Catholics (because of the Spanish threat) and lawyers.  Though officially denied permission to offer sanctuary to any Jews, Oglethorpe granted land to Portuguese Sephardic Jews who helped quell an outbreak of fever that ravaged Savannah.  When Austrian Salzburger Lutherans arrived, Oglethorpe helped them establish the small community of Ebenezer northwest of Savannah.

The most famous of the early colonists were the Wesley brothers.  John and Charles ministered to the faithful of Savannah, but their rigorous doctrines were met with little enthusiasm and they shortly returned to the Old World and founded Methodism.

Oglethorpe spent ten years in developing and establishing "his" colony.  In 1743 he returned to England to answer to fiduciary charges brought by one of his men.  The trial ended in acquittal and the general remained in the King's service, but he never returned to Savannah or the New World.  He died in 1785 after living a remarkable life that included friendships with James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, noted philosophers and writers of the age.

The general's statue includes a remarkable amount of detail.  Oglethorpe is clad in the soldier's dress of the time, including light body armor and a tricorn hat resting atop curls.  The base of the monument was designed by Henry Bacon and is inscribed with excerpts from the original Georgia charter.  Each of the lions on the pedestal bears a shield with a seal: one each for the city of Savannah, the colony of Georgia, the state of Georgia and James Oglethorpe's coat of arms.

Many thanks to Ron Freeman, author of Savannah: People, Places & Events, and to Roulhac Toledano, author of The National Trust Guide to Savannah. Their books can be found in stores throughout the Historic District.


Chippewa Square
1. Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Administrative Offices
208 Bull Street (Formerly Chatham Academy and Savannah High School.)
2. Independent Presbyterian Church
Corner of Bull and Oglethorpe. A soaring steeple with clocks on all four sides, topped by a gleaming brass weathervane.
3. First Baptist Church
Bull Street on Chippewa Square, (1833). Church in Greek temple design with six massive columns.
4. Savannah Theater
222 Bull Street. Live theater in an art deco building on the country's oldest theater site in continuous operation; a Greek Revival building by William Jay once stood here.


Online Virtual Tour of Savannah

Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Cemetery, located at the corner of Oglethorpe and Abercorn streets, is Savannah's oldest city burial ground and contains monuments to some of the colony's most notable figures.  Among those buried there are two of Georgia's early heroes, Button Gwinnett, one of the three Georgia signatories to the Declaration of Independence, and General Lachlan McIntosh, whose interests crossed Gwinnett's with fatal consequences during the American Revolution.

A dispute arose between the two men concerning the abortive Georgian invasion of Florida in 1777, which was an attempt to wrest the colony from the English while their attention was diverted by the American uprising.  Gwinnett designed a plan for the Georgia militia to move south, surprise the English and take Florida.  However, Gwinnett's plan was flawed and resulted in the militia's commanders, including General McIntosh, losing themselves in south Georgia swampland.

When the mission failed, Gwinnett and McIntosh were brought before a tribunal to offer their accounts of the disappointing and embarrassing events.  In the end, Gwinnett won a modest vote of confidence from the tribunal, which dealt rather more harshly with the general.

McIntosh responded with heated words that included unpardonable insults and the code duello was invoked.  The exchange is believed to have taken place in the city dueling grounds, propitiously located behind Colonial Cemetery.  At a distance of approximately one dozen feet, the men faced each other and fired.  Each shot struck its target in the thigh and Gwinnett fell, though he was game enough to offer another round.  However, their seconds ended the duel and Gwinnett was removed for treatment.  The wound was severe, however, and he died within three days.

McIntosh was brought to trial for murder, but was acquitted of the charge, as the dispute was freely entered by Gwinnett, a fact substantiated by Mrs. Gwinnett, who refused to condemn McIntosh for her husband's death.

Nevertheless, public feeling ran strongly against the general, who subsequently headed north for a command under George Washington. He redeemed his reputation by leading troops at the Battle of Savannah in 1779 to lift the English siege of the city and, in his later years, became one of the city's most esteemed citizens.

The two combatants are buried near each other in Colonial Cemetery, which today is a public park and the only place in the Historic District where you may walk your dog without a leash.

Many thanks to Barbara Hines and Preston Russell, whose book Savannah: A History of Her People Since 1733 can be found in stores throughout the Historic District.

Colonial Park Cemetery
1. Mary Marshall Row
(1855) East Oglethorpe Avenue, facing south, ending at Lincoln Street. Four houses that were within hours of being demolished in 1960 for their valuable Savannah grey bricks and marble steps.



Troup Square

The astronomical centerpiece and the square are named for Georgia governor ( 1823-1827) George Michael Troup.  In the center, poised on six turtles, is an armillary sphere, an "astronomical model with solid rings, all circles of a single sphere, used to display relationships among the principal celestial circles."  Laid out in 1851, this square commemorates Governor Troup, who welcomed the Marquis de Lafayette to Savannah in 1825, and later served as a United States senator.  A unique water fountain for animals has two low-slung bowls for lapping, plus a filling mechanism.

Troup Square
1. Unitarian Universalist Church
Habersham Street on Troup Square. Why is this Gothic church called the "Jingle Bells Church"?



Lafayette Square

Lafayette Square honors the Marquis de Lafayette, whose full name was Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert de Motier.  Aide to George Washington in the War for American Independence, the Marquis visited Savannah in 1825 and spoke to cheering Savannahians.  Lafayette Square dates from 1837.  The fountain was given by the Savannah Town Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia. Colonial Dames headquarters, overlooking Lafayette Square, is the Andrew Low House Museum.

Lafayette Square
1. Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Abercorn Street at Lafayette Square. Oldest Roman Catholic Church in Georgia.
2. Andrew Low House Museum
329 Abercorn Street. Headquarters of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia.
3. Battersby-Hartridge-Anderson House
(1852) 119 East Charleton Street. A brick residence in a design that's typical in Charleston, rare in Savannah.
4. Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home
(c.1855) 207 East Charlton Street. High-stooped house museum with a schedule of lectures and readings.
5. Hamilton-Turner House
(1873) 330 Abercorn Street. Outstanding example of Second Empire architecture with four iron balconies; house museum and gift shop.



 
Madison Square

Madison Square, on Bull Street and the fourth square south from the river, was created in 1837.  Its name honors the fourth president of the United States, James Madison.  In keeping with the Savannah custom of placing monuments to Savannah's historic and military heroes along the Bull Street corridor, the square features a statue to Sergeant William Jasper, a hero of the Battle of Savannah in 1779.  Sergeant Jasper, an Irish national who was offered a commission for bravery at the Battle of Fort Moultrie in Charleston in 1776 - he refused the commission because he could not read or write - led the American charge at Spring Hill, just west of town, to pierce the British line.  The assault on the British line ended in defeat for the Americans, and Jasper was buried in a mass-grave with the other Continentals, French, and Irish who were killed that day.

The city remained under British rule until 1782, when forces directed by General "Mad Anthony" Wayne and Lieutenant Colonel James Jackson liberated the city.  On Madison Square there is a marker denoting the British southern line of defense, and two cannons which commemorate the first two highways built in Georgia, which today are the Augusta Road and the Ogeechee Road.

 In addition, the square is ringed by the Green-Meldrim House, most notable for hosting General William T. Sherman after Savannah fell during the Civil War, the Sorrel-Weed House, home to Confederate General G. Moxley Sorrel, and the former Savannah Volunteer Guards armory, which now houses offices and a gallery of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Also on the square are the St. John's Episcopal Church and the Scottish Rites Building.

Many thanks to Ron Freeman, whose book Savannah: People, Places & Events can be found at bookstores throughout the Historic District. Madison Square Bull Street between Macon Street and Charlton Street, fourteen blocks south of the river.

Madison Square
1. Sorrel-Weed House
(c.1841), 6 West Harris Street. Stuccoed building with welcoming-arms stairs at entrance.
2. St. John's Episcopal Church Parish House
(1863), 14 West Macon Street, also known as the Green-Meldrim House Museum. Medieval-styled architecture with unusual oriel windows.
3. St. John's Episcopal Church
Bull Street on Madison Square. Gothic church with connecting garden to parish house.
4. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
342 Bull Street. Romanesque red brick with up-ended cannon flanking the entrance, built as the Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory.
5. Eliza Jewitt House
(1843), 326 Bull Street, on Madison Square. Classical residence with bookstore on street level.
6. DeSoto Hilton Hotel
15 East Liberty Street. Modern hotel-office complex.


Pulaski Square

Named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, hero of the Revolutionary War, this square is shaded by nineteen majestic oak trees and was laid out in 1837.  Idealistic young Count Pulaski fought on the side of the patriots in the War for American Independence.  On October 12, 1779, he was knocked from his horse by a bullet during the Siege of Savannah.  He died a few hours later.  A monument to Count Pulaski stands in Monterey Square on Bull Street.  He was also honored in the naming of Fort Pulaski.

Pulaski Square
1. Margaret Murphy House
(1992), 200 West Harris Street. Handsome blue corner building; compatible, new construction in the historic district.
2. Pulaski House
(1915) 328 Barnard Street. Massive red brick structure with green awnings.
3. Francis Bartow House

Monterey Square

Monterey Square commemorates the capture of Monterey, Mexico by General Zachary Taylor in 1846. Here stands the monument to that gallant Polish officer, Casimir Pulaski. The sculptor was Robert E. Launitz.

Monterey Square
1. Congregation Mickve Israel
Historic synagogue with Gothic architecture. One of the oldest Jewish congregations in the south, and the third oldest in the nation.
2. Thomas Levy House
(1867;1896) 12 East Taylor Street. Exuberantly baroque residence and print shop with Georgia marble steps, curved windows above the main entrance.
3. William Hunter House
(c. 1872), 10 East Taylor Street. Side galleries on two stories, golden yellow stucco.
4. Hugh M. Comer House
(1880), 2 East Taylor Street. This Victorian home was occupied for four days by the former Provisional President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, and his daughter Winnie in the spring of 1886.
5. 10 West Taylor Street
(1852) Sunset pink stucco with cast iron entrance stairs.
6. 423 and 425 Bull Street
(1858) Exquisite ironwork, reminiscent of Gramercy Park.
7. Mercer House
(1860-1871) 429 Bull Street. Red brick, framed by a handsome iron fence.
8. Noble Hardee House
(1860-69), 3 West Gordon Street and 441 Bull Street. Residence and antiques shop at corner of Bull and Gordon; wraparound cast iron balcony.
9. George Ferguson Armstrong House
(1920) White brick mansion. Built for shipping executive who served in the Spanish-American War.
10. Oglethorpe Club
(1857) 450 Bull Street. Private Club established in 1870.
11. Scudders' Range
(c.1852) 1-9 East Gordon Street. Outstanding row of townhouses overlooking Monterey Square.


  Calhoun Square

Calhoun Square, named for South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun, lies on Abercorn Street between Taylor and Gordon Streets.  The square is also notable for being the only one in the Historic District with all its original buildings intact.

The two most significant structures on the square are the Massie Heritage School and the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.  The Massie School was first endowed in 1841 by a Scotsman planter named Peter Massie, who believed in offering poor children an education equal to that of their wealthier peers.  The school building was designed by noted architect John Norris, whose local extant works include the Green-Meldrim House on Madison Square, the Andrew Low House on Lafayette Square, and the Mercer House on Monterey Square.  Norris designed primarily in the Greek Revival style, and the Massie School, completed in 1856, features that style's distinguishing characteristics of a temple facade - three of them, in fact, which gives the building the appearance of housing three separate structures in one. In addition, the columns are set into the wall but appear in relief.

 During Savannah's occupation by Northern troops it was used as a military hospital, but was returned after the war to its intended use and remained in operation until 1974.  Today one of its classrooms has been restored and the building may be toured by the public.

Catercorner to the Massie School stands the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, an edifice that lives up to its extraordinary name.  Constructed in the Gothic Revival Style, the church stands in honor of brothers Charles and John Wesley, who came individually to Savannah in the early years to minister to the needs of the population. Their history need not be recounted here; suffice it to say that they were dismayed by the astounding lack of spiritual progress evinced by Savannah's citizenry, who, in turn, came to cordially dislike each of them in turn.  Each returned to England, where Charles gained fame as a hymnist, and John broke from Anglicanism to become the leader of the nascent Methodist movement.  The church itself features two tall and elaborate cupolas, as well as richly detailed windows. Of note is the church's stained glass, which was designed and installed by Louis Tiffany.

John C. Calhoun, for whom the square was named, was a famous statesman and firebrand of the first half on the nineteenth century.  Today Calhoun Square is rather more tranquil, a fine place to read the paper, share a picnic, or to sit and ponder the myriad people who have created Savannah's rich, varied history.


Calhoun Square
1. Massie Heritage Center
(c. 1855-56), 201-213 East Gordon Street. Rosy-beige school buildings with connected walkways, named for Peter Massie, Scottish planter who came to Georgia.
2. 202 East Taylor Street
(Mid-19th century). Side garden with a view through a cast iron gate; flower beds outlined with up-ended ale bottles from the brewery of the first owner, William Rogers.
3. Wesley Monumental U.M.C.
Abercorn Street on Calhoun Square. Soaring spires and Gothic arches on a church named for English clergy brothers John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism.


Whitefield Square

Practice pronouncing Whitefield to rhyme with Pittfield, in honor of the Reverend George Whitefield, who in 1742 succeeded the Reverend John Wesley as Church of England minister to the Georgia colony.  He is also remembered as founder (in 1740) of Bethesda Home for Boys, America's oldest orphanage in continuous operation.  The gazebo in the center of Whitefield Square is a favorite spot for exchanging "I do's".  Frame houses with wide porches and Victorian "gingerbread" abound in this neighborhood.

Whitefield Square
1. First Congregational Church
Habersham Street on Whitefield Square. White Gothic church building with tin roof.

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Last Update: 08/19/15

 

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