In our previous post, we talked about the first 12 of Savannah’s Historic Squares. Here, we will continue the history of these beautiful and interesting open spaces.
All of Savannah’s squares are a part of the historic district and surrounded by some of the city’s most beautiful and iconic architecture, including churches, homes, museums – and huge, live oak trees.
Savannah’s squares allowed for the ease of growth for Savannah and, as she grew, more squares were added. This process continued until the 1850’s and Savannah’s Squares numbered 24. At this time, the plan was abandoned for a different approach. Forsyth Park was created as an open-space replacement for new development south, sans squares.
Savannah’s Historic Squares – Part 2
Elbert Square – located at Houston and McDonough Streets
Elbert Square, now lost to urban sprawl, was created in 1801 and named in honor of Samuel Elbert, a Revolutionary War hero and Georgia Governor. You can find remnants of this square – a small swath of green – across the street from from the Savannah Civic Center.
Chippewa Square – located at Bull and McDonough Streets
One of the most famous of Savannah’s historic squares, Chippewa Square is smack dab in the center of the action, surrounded by such notable buildings as the First Baptist Church, the Savannah Theatre, and the Eastman-Stoddard House. The square was named to commemorate the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812 and contains a bronze statue of the colony’s founder, General James Edward Oglethorpe. Chippewa Square was also visited by Forrest Gump, in the Oscar-winning film of the same name, during the bus stop scenes and, for this reason, is also known as “Forrest Gump Square.”
Orleans Square – located at Barnard and McDonough Streets
Dating from 1815, Orleans Square is dedicated in honor of the heroes of the Battle of New Orleans. The square contains the German Memorial Fountain, dedicated to the contributions made by early German immigrants to Savannah.
Lafayette Square – located at Abercorn and Macon Streets
Lafayette Square is easy to find – just check the skyline for the highest twin steeples in all of downtown: the ornate Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Directly adjacent Lafayette Square, created in 1837, honors the Marquis de Lafayette and contains a fountain dedicated by the Colonial Dames of America.
Pulaski Square – located at Barnard and Macon Streets
Also designed in 1837, Pulaski Square is named after Count Casimir Pulaski of Poland. Count Pulaski has the dubious honor of being the highest ranking foreign officer to die in the American Revolution, killed in the 1779 Siege of Savannah. While it boasts no monument, this square is known for its beautiful live oaks, thick ivy ground cover, and adjacent house of Confederate hero Francis S. Bartow.
Madison Square – located at Bull and Macon Streets
Named after U.S. President James Madison, Madison Square was the third of Savannah’s historic squares laid out in 1837. Containing a monument of Sergeant William Jasper, killed in the Siege of Savannah in 1779, and cannons from the old Savannah Armory, Madison Square is surrounded by many excellent restaurants and shops.
Crawford Square – located at Houston and McDonough Streets
Unlike other downtown squares in Savannah offer the amenities of Crawford Square: basketball courts, a gazebo, and other park-like features. Honoring William Harrison Crawford, Minister of France during the reign of Napoleon, Crawford Square was created in 1841.
Chatham Square – located at Barnard and Wayne Streets
Chatham Square, designed in 1847, is named for a man who never visited Savannah – William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. An early supporter of the colony, Pitt is also honored with Chatham County. Unique Gordon Row is located on Chatham Square: 15 four-storied townhouses, each only 20 foot wide and identical in design with notable ironwork and unusual doorways.
Monterey Square – located at Bull and Wayne Streets
Monterey Square commemorates the 1846 Battle of Monterey, which took place during the Mexican American War and included Savannah unit of the Irish Jasper Greens fought. Oddly enough, this square contains a statue of Casimir Pulaski – even though Pulaski Square was named and exists for this hero, as well. Monterey Square is considered one of Savannah’s most picturesque squares and is home to The Mercer House, made famous in the book and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
Troup Square – located at Habersham and McDonough Streets
Created in 1851, Troup Square is named in honor of a Senator and Governor of Georgia: George Michael Troup. This square contains the Armillary Sphere, a astronomical device designed to show the relationship among the celestial circles – very fascinating!
Calhoun Square – located at Abercorn and Wayne Streets
Calhoun Square was also designed in 1851. Named in honor of John C. Calhoun, Vice President under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Calhoun Square is unique in that all of the buildings surrounding it are the original, historic buildings.
Whitefield Square – located at Habersham and Wayne Streets
The last of Savannah’s historic squares to be designed, Whitfield Square is named in honor of Reverend George Whitfield, founder of the Bethesda Orphanage, the oldest orphanage in the United States. Whitefield Square is a popular place for weddings, with its Victorian gazebo and lovely azaleas.
This is only the latter 12 of Savannah’s 24 historic squares. Part 1 of our series on Savannah’s Squares is here.
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