Because there is so much to see and do in Savannah, my exploration of city #2 on the “America’s Friendliest” list will extend beyond one post…I can’t see how to do it justice otherwise! I will begin with a look at Savannah’s signature squares…
When James Edward Oglethorpe (and his band of 113 English colonists) arrived in Georgia in 1733, he laid out the unique city plan that is still in existence today. Beginning with four initial squares—Johnson, Wright, Ellis, and Telfair—historic Savannah eventually grew to include twenty-four such squares. Twenty-two of those remain to this day. When visiting Savannah, I suggest that you pick up a good guidebook (I recommend Paul Bland’s The Savannah Guidebook Including 4 Unique Walking Tours, which you can purchase at Parker’s Market for about seven bucks) and make your way through as many of the historic squares as possible. Below are photos of the fourteen squares that I visited…
Johnson Square: Named for Robert Johnson, who was the Royal Governor of South Carolina when Georgia was founded in 1733, this was the first square built in Savannah.
Calhoun Square: Named for South Carolina native and U. S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, this is the only square with all original buildings intact.
Chippewa Square: Also known as Forrest Gump Square, it was named for the Battle of Chippewa—an American victory over the British during the War of 1812.
Columbia: Named for America, this lovely square centers around a fountain from Savannah’s historic Wormsloe Plantation.
Ellis Square: For a time, this square—one of the original four—was swallowed up by a parking lot. It was reclaimed a few years ago and is the most “modern” of the squares.
Franklin Square: This square was named for Benjamin Franklin. The monument above was erected to honor Haitian veterans of the American Revolution.
Lafayette Square: Named for the Marquis de Lafayette, a wealthy Frenchman who assisted the U.S. during the American Revolution, this square contains a fountain dedicated by the Colonial Dames of America.
Madison Square: This square was named for the fourth U. S. president, James Madison.
Monterey Square: Possibly best known as the scene of the crime in “The Book,” this square commemorates the Battle of Monterey during the Mexican-American War. It is considered by many to be the most luxurious of the city’s squares.
Orleans Square: This square commemorates the heroes of the Battle of New Orleans. The fountain was erected in honor of Savannah’s German immigrants.
Reynolds Square: Originally named Lower Square, the current moniker honors John Reynolds, the first Royal Governor of Georgia.
Telfair Square: One of the original four squares in Savannah, it was first called St. James’ Square after the royal residence in London. It was later renamed in honor of Edward Telfair, philanthropist and governor of Georgia.
Troup Square: Named in honor of George Michael Troup, a Senator and Governor of Georgia, this square contains an unusual sculpture—an astronomical device known as an Armillary Sphere.
Wright Square: The last of the original four squares, it has also been called Upper Square and Percival Square. It’s current name honors the last Royal Governor of Georgia, Sir James Wright.
These squares are now lovely parks in the heart of historic Savannah. Each has its own unique character, but all are tranquil and beautiful. Sadly, Elbert and Liberty Squares have fallen victim to urban sprawl and no longer exist. In addition to the fourteen squares I have covered above, there are eight others—Chatham, Crawford, Greene, Oglethorpe, Pulaski, Warren, Washington, and Whitfield. I hope to eventually make it back to Savannah and see those as well! For more information about Savannah’s historic squares, or to learn more about visiting the city, click here.
Coming up next…What to See and Do: My Savannah Top Ten