This is our fourth visit, Yeah, we love the mood swings!
On our first trip, we had no idea what to expect, EXCEPT we had heard about the incredible Southern Cuisine. We couldn't wait to get to the Shrimp & Grits; Collards; Sweet Tea and Mint Julips--
We also love to visit historic districts, and Savannah has one of the largest such areas in the USA!
There are many ways to explore this charming Southern gem, but for "The Savannah Squares" get on those walking shoes and set the pace at:
S- L- O- W.
The remarkable city plan for the Savannah "squares" was created by James Oglethorpe in 1733. Small beautiful parks and walkways laid out in a grid design.
As Urbanist author and architect, John Masengale puts it "The most intelligent grid in America, perhaps the world"
Each square is typically 200 feet north to south and 100 to 300 feet east to west. There were 24 squares, now 22.
Originally, Oglethorpe implemented the design not only for public use within the square, but for military training and drills.
Today, the squares create a calming affect within the neighborhood.
Traffic is slowed by the design and the aesthetics of green space draws you in and takes you to a different time in history.
>> Most squares have fountains or historic markers.
>> All squares have plenty of benches. So, relax and take in the beauty of the ubiquitous moss dangling from the oaks, the Azaleas, Magnolias, and artistically designed gardens.
>> All squares have stories of triumph and tragedy.
Hey, you don't need to walk to every square, really, even if you visit just one or two, you won't be disappointed!
Ready? Here's our trail. First, check out the interactive map below!
Started At: Franklin Square, then > Ellis> Johnson> Reynolds> Warren>
Washington> Greene> Columbia> Oglethorpe> Wright> Telfair> Orleans> Chippewa> Crawford> Troup> Lafayette> Madison> Pulaski>
Chatham> Monterey> Calhoun> Whitefield.
Below, is a bit of information about the other 10 squares not featured in the video.
At the end, the Haunted Squares and our Favorite Square!
ELLIS SQUARE at Barnard St. and W. Congress St.
If you drive, this is a great place to start. There is a parking garage right under the square. This square is quite different from the rest, due to restoration and redevelopment. It has a visitor center; a bronze statue of well known songwriter, Johnny Mercer (Moon River), interactive fountains that children (and adults) love, and a large round cement seating area-perfect for people watching.
You are at the entry of the City Market (W. Julian Street side). Head any direction for for some of the best restaurants in the south! You are also 5 blocks away from River Street for MORE shopping; restaurants and historical landmarks.
WASHINGTON SQUARE at Houston and St. Julian St.
Named after General George Washington. This green space is where the colonists experimented with a variety of plants. It was reported that hemp plants, mulberry trees (for silk worms), ginseng, snakeroot and sassafras were planted in around this square.
You are now 2 blocks from beautiful Emmet Park where you'll find historic monuments, artifacts and walkways leading to River Street. Also just 3 blocks to the Waving Girl Monument. See her statue, with her dog, along East River Street. She is famous for greeting ships as they arrived in the harbor-- for over 44 years!
WARREN SQUARE at Habersham & and Julian St.
A small, quieter square. Local musicians often grace this square. Named after General Joseph Warren who died at the battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.
You are only 4 blocks away from the best ice cream ever!! Leopold's Ice Cream-there is usually a line, but it moves pretty fast.
GREENE SQUARE at Houston & President St.
Probably the least visited square. Named after General Nathanael Greene. Check out the Second African Baptist Church 123 Houston Street. Open to the public M-Fri.
The Tiniest House also can be found at this square, look for a small red frame house with yellow trim and fence.
You are 1/2 block away from OUR FAVORITE B&B in Savannah! Breakfasts to die for! The Green Palm Inn. See information here: Green Palm
ORLEANS SQUARE at Barnard & McDonough St. This square features the beautiful German Memorial Fountain, which commemorates the contributions of the early German immigrants. General Andrew Jackson is also honored at this site for the victory in the Battle of New Orleans. Don't miss the Harper Fowlkes House on the corner of Barnard and Perry. The dramatic design illustrates the Greek Revival architecture. It is now open for public viewing.
You are now just 4 blocks to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (Girl Scouts Founder)
CHIPPEWA SQUARE at Bull & McDonough St.
This is where the beginning of the movie Forrest Gump was filmed. The actual bench was a movie prop, and is located in the Savannah History Museum. The Statue of James Oglethorpe reins over the park and the historic Savannah Theater is on the corner.
You are just one block away from the Foley House Inn, not only haunted but Pet Friendly too! You can even bring your Rottweiler to scare away the ghosts, no breed discrimination at this Inn! If you decide to stay elsewhere, make sure you hear the story of the Foley House! Here is the link: Haunted Foley
CRAWFORD SQUARE at Houston & McDonough St.
Another quiet, but charming square. The only square with the original fence still intact. It has a very sweet Gazebo and it is the location of the first basketball court laid out for residents.
You are now approximately 4 blocks from Webb Military Museum.
MADISON SQUARE at Bull & Macon St.
You will find SCAD, art college of Savannah on the corner of Bull & W. Charlton Street. Visit the impressive headquarters of General Sherman/Green-Meldrim house (shown below). Tours are available or you can walk around the outside.
You are now in close proximity to the Sorrel-Weed House one of the most actively haunted buildings in Savannah~ So the ghost chasers say!
PULASKI SQUARE at Barnard & Macon St.
No monument here, the Pulaski monument resides in Monterey Square (yeah, this interchange happens a few times in the squares). Quiet, relaxing, lovely. As with the other squares, impressive architecture surrounds you.
You are now approximately 3 blocks from Jones Street, voted one of the prettiest streets in Savannah and Crystal Beer Parlor, still popular with the locals, established in the early 1900's.
at Abercorn & Wayne St.
This is one of the few squares surrounded by structures that survived the devastating fires and re-developments, therefore you'll get the best look and "feel" of a square, in the 18th and early 19th century.
You are now at the best viewing area for the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church- So Impressive, with its Gothic architectural style with spires rising 136 and 196 feet into the air! Also, just 2 blocks north, is one of the best breakfast joints "Clary's Cafe", ~If you remember, it's in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil-
Remember the crazy guy with the flies?
Whether you believe in GHOSTS or not, there have been some unsettling stories of hangings, burial, suicide, disease and murder in and around the squares. There are plenty of Ghost tours you can take OR we suggest a walking, carriage or an historic home tour. Here is a great place to start with looking at Savannah tours, we use this company worldwide! HERE: GetYourGuide
Why do the spirits stay and why are they everywhere?
Savannah simply couldn't keep up with the devastation! From Yellow Fever and Cholera to devastating fires to hurricanes and bloody battles.
The colonists often buried soldiers where they died, even if it was around houses. Yellow Fever victims and even slaves were only wrapped in sheets and buried.
Along with the mass burials, many graves have been moved and disturbed as the city grew and new construction began.
The spirits were not amused.
You will understand the descriptions more, when you learn about the history for each square.
Here is a link that gives you more details about the dreadful events that led up to the ghostly activity-and much more! Haunted Savannah
Our Favorite square is....... CHATHAM SQUARE
There are no fountains or large monuments in Chatham Square, but nature draws you in.
The old Southern Oaks are mesmerizing and there is a slight fragrance in the air.
As seen in the picture, there is a dramatic canopy over the flowers revealing the stress, struggles and victories of days gone by......if only these trees could tell the stories..........
Want more Info on Savannah?! You got it! Read: "The Sweet Seduction Of Savannah Georgia" Videos and More! Click HERE
One more thought about "slowing it down" when you reach Savannah.....
Annoy a Southerner and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death
― Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star
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