We have 24 squares to explore during our time in Savannah, and decided to start with the oldest and largest. Johnson Square was established in 1733, and named in honor of South Carolina’s colonial governor Robert Johnson.
It’s an impressive square, thanks both to its excellent location near the river as well as its monuments. The most noticeable is a tall, white, 50-foot obelisk erected to the memory of Nathaniel Greene, the Revolutionary War hero from Rhode Island who retired to a farm near Savannah. His remains, along with those of his son, are buried underneath.
Johnson Square also features two fountains and an interesting sundial dedicated to the memory of William Bull, who helped General Oglethorpe both choose Savannah’s location and design its unique layout. The time was off a little when we visited, but sundials can’t be expected to cope with daylight savings. Another curious monument is the Johnny Mercer bench, dedicated to the city’s Academy Award winning songwriter.
While the colony was still in its infancy, Johnson Square is where colonialists would meet to check the time, fetch water, make use of public ovens, and go to church. The Christ Church, found on the eastern side of the square, is known as the “Mother Church of Georgia”. Since 1773, it’s been an Anglican place of worship — the oldest in all of Georgia.
One down, twenty-three to go!
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November 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm