Lafayette Square, on the intersection of Abercorn and Macon, is named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. That fancy French aristocrat was a major Revolutionary War hero who made a big splash in Savannah with a speech delivered from the balcony of the Owens Thomas House.
Surrounding the square are a number of interesting buildings, including 1873′s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the biggest Catholic church in the region. The Cathedral’s proximity means Lafayette Square is subject to the madness which grips Savannah during St. Patrick’s Day. The water in the square’s fountain, built in memory of Georgia’s 250th anniversary, is dyed green.
On the western side of the square is the Andrew Low House. Andrew’s feisty daughter-in-law Juliette would found the Girl Scouts in this property’s carriage house, unwittingly releasing the horror of Thin Mints on future generations. Directly across the square we find the Hamilton-Turner Inn, a supremely elegant hotel with individually named and decorated rooms. It was the first house in Savannah with electricity, and gained infamy after falling under the care of Joe Odom — the party man so colorfully depicted in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Another house of note is the Flannery O’Connor childhood home, on 207 East Charlton Street where she spent her first 13 years of life. It’s hard to imagine that Savannah’s strange, Southern atmosphere didn’t have a major influence on her strange, Southern writing. A Flannery O’Connor story smells like Spanish Moss.
So much history is found in every pocket of Savannah, it’s astounding. And Lafayette Square certainly has its share.
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December 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm