Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Savannah Squares

 300 years ago James E. Oglethorpe and his band of 120 colonists left England to establish a colony in the New World. He named it “Georgia” after the king who granted him the charter. Georgia was to be the last of the 13 original colonies.
On arrival, he laid out the city of Savannah in 8 block “wards” --each having a small park (square) in its center. The original 4 squares grew to 24 by 1851. Today, visitors can enjoy each one as unique with it’s own special charm.

Forsythe Park:
One of the bigger parks in the historic district of Savannah, Forsythe Park covers 30 acres. Its fountain dates from 1858, and you may recognize it from the movie “Forrest Gump.” Stroll around the 1-mile perimeter to see some of the prettiest restored houses in town.

Wright Square:
Girl Scouts young and old visit this square to see the Gordon Monument (1883). It honors William Gordon who founded of the Central Georgia Railroad. 

But it’s his granddaughter they celebrate. Juliet Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts here in Savannah (1912).

Curiously, this monument sits atop the burial mound of a Creek Indian Chief named Tomochichi. He built peace between the two groups facilitating the success of the colony.

Monterey Square:
Flanking one whole side of Monterey square is the exquisite Williams-Mercer house. It’s in this very house that the shooting of Danny Hansford took place in John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The story is true, and visitors can tour the house and gardens.

The square’s name refers to General Zachary Taylor’s victory in Monterrey, Mexico (1846). Yet in the center of the square there is also monument to General Casmir Pulaski, killed in the Revolutionary War during the Siege of Savannah.

Telfair Square:
This square is surrounded by the Telfair Art Museum, the oldest art museum in the Southeast. It is the original site of the royal governors residence. Trinity United Methodist Church and the more modern Jepson Center for the arts surround the other sides.

Strolling through these shady open centers visitors can enjoy a cool breeze, read the historic plaques, admire the beauty of the local architecture, or sit on a park bench and enjoy a snack, or simply people watch.

What’s your favorite square?

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