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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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