Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 Plus 2 Special Savannah Squares

Savannah started with four original squares today known as 
Johnson, Wright Ellis and Telfair. 
They have also increased in number to 22 beautifully landscaped landmarks in history.

1. Johnson Square (1733) was the first square created in Savannah and the central gathering spot for the towns people. It contains a plaque marking the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark award received in 1975.  In the square today you can find reminders of many historic people and events. In the center of the square you will find a monument to Nathaniel Greene, of which the cornerstone was laid by the Marques de Lafayette at the dedication ceremony. The revolutionary war hero was originally buried in Colonial Cemetery in Savannah but his remains are now interred under the monument. William Strickland prominent architect of the day designed the memorial.  He also designed one of my favorite building in Philadelphia, the Merchant's Exchange and the reconstructed center tower of Independence Hall. Johnson Square was named for Robert Johnson, colonial governor of South Carolina.

Nathaniel Greene Monument and sundial in the forefront dedicated to Colonel William Bull. You can see Savannah City Hall in the background.

Merchants Exchange, Philadelphia, PA (NRHP August 7, 2001)
Strickland is also responsible for the design of the tower and steeple at Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green in New Castle, DE. (NRHP December 24, 1967).

2. Wright Square, originally called Upper Square was laid out in 1733 served as the pub;ic market square until 1763 when the market moved to Ellis Square. At this time the square was renamed for the last royal governor of Georgia, Sir James Wright.

William Washington Gordon Memorial

Herein lies a story. The monument built for William Washington Gordon by the Georgia Central Railroad to honor him, became a touchy subject. The location originally marked the grave of Tomo-Chi-Chi that was honorably located in the center of the square and the building of this monument desecrated the grave of the exalted peacemaker of colonial times. William Gordon's daughter in law Nellie Gordon, mother of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, had another monument made for Tom-Chi-Chi and it sits in the southeast corner of the square. It may not be as big as high in the sky as the Gordon monument but your eyes can't help but miss it as it draws your attention over to read its significance.

3. Chippewa Square was laid out in 1813 and named for the Battle of Chippewa where the American forces defeated the British forces in the War of 1812. A bronze stature of Oglethorpe stands in te center. The statues was designed by Daniel Chester French in 1910. French is also credited for designing the Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial. Chippewa is also the site where Forrest Gumpsta with his box of chocolates waiting for the bus in the movie Forrest Gump. The bench is now located at the Savannah Visitor's Center History Museum.

The man, the myth, and the mystery Oglethorpe. I had never heard of him before. After visiting Savannah, Georgia. I will never forget him. Oglethorpe is to Georgia what Penn is to Pennsylvania. Georgia however is named for King George.

Many have passed through but Oglethorpe was the founder therefore, he deserves rock star status, maybe that is why they moved the bench that sat right next tot the Chippewa Square sign to the Savannah History Museum. If you saw the movie Forrest Gump and remember the box of chocolate scene, it took place right there.

4. Madison Square laid out in 1837 is named for James Madison, fourth President of the United States. In the center of the square is erected a monument to Sergeant William Jasper of the 2nd Continental regiment of South Carolina. Jasper an Irish immigrant is honored each year the night before the Annual St. Patrick's Parade in Savannah with a wreath laying ceremony.

5. Monterey Square was laid out in 1837, it commemorates the Battle of Monterey  where American forces captured the Mexican City of Monterey during the Mexican-American War. The Pulaski Monument (1852) is situated in the center. Pulaski's charge is credited for saving the life of George Washington at Brandywine. Pulaski died from an infection suffered from a wound he received at the Siege of Savannah in 1779.  It is believed that Pulaski's remains are interred underneath the monument. The only parade I was ever in was the Annual Pulaski Day Parade in Chester, Pennsylvania when I was a girl scout. We marched up Edgemont Avenue.  How is that for a Georgia connection?

6. Warren Square is named for Dr. Joseph Warren of Revolutionary War fame.

7. Troup Square was laid out in 1851 and named in honor of former Governor of Georgia, George McIntosh Troup. The Armillary Sphere represents an ancient device used to calculate the movement of the stars in the sky and acts as a sundial. Behind the sundial you can see the Unitarian Universalist Church.

8.Whitefield Square laid out in 1851, it was the last square.  It is named for Rev. George Whitefield.

9. Calhoun Square laid out in 1851 was named for South Carolina statesman John C, Calhoun,  It is the only square with all its original buildings in tact. The Massie Common School House is one of those buildings

10. Washington Square was created in 1790 and named for George Washington after his visit to Savannah in 1791.  It was a testing site for experimental crops. I happened across this design in the square. Someone is feeling the love and sharing its beauty.

11. Reynolds Square, originally Lower Square was laid out in 1734 was later named for Captain John Reynolds, governor of Georgia. A statue of John Wesley, founder of Methodism is in the center of the square that marks the spot where it is believed Wesley lived while he was in Savannah

12. Franklin Square named for Ben Franklin was laid out in 1790 the year Ben Franklin died.  Franklin had served as an agent for the colony of Georgia from 1768 to 1778. In the center of the square is the Haitian Monument. The monument is paying tribute to the soldiers of African descent that fought in the American Revolution, "Les Chasseurs Volontaires of Saint Dominque" from Haiti.  Free men who volunteered to capture Savannah from the British.

More squares will be shown in the Fountains of Savannah photograph blog to follow.

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