Ellis Square

Ellis Square

Laid out in 1733, Ellis Square has the distinction of being one of Oglethorpe’s original four squares, along with Johnson, Telfair and Wright. It also has the distinction of being the most singularly ugly of all Savannah’s squares.

Ellis Square

In 1954, before the historic preservation movement really got going, Ellis Square was sold to business interests that demolished it and built a parking lot. It’s actually an ironic twist, that Ellis Square might be sold off and lose its dignity. Before the Civil War, this was the site of Savannah’s slave market. Karma can be tough.

The parking company’s 50-year lease ended in 2004 and Savannah wasted no time in redeveloping the square. But from an aesthetic viewpoint, there’s little doubt they did a poor job with the development. Perhaps they wanted something more modern and daring, but Ellis has none of its siblings’ charm. With plain cement in a circular shape and a total lack of vegetation, most tourists don’t even realize they’re in one of Savannah’s most historic spots.

The chintzy tourism zone of City Market sprouts off to the west of Ellis Square, where a statue of Johnny Mercer leans happily against his fire hydrant, And Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons is nearby. But unless you’re desperate for a bench to stretch out on, after consuming too much greasy food, there’s not much reason to spend time in Ellis.

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Mercer Statue

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Ellis Square Laid out in 1733, Ellis Square has the distinction of being one of Oglethorpe's original four squares, along with Johnson, Telfair and Wright. It also has the distinction of being the most singularly ugly of all Savannah's squares.
For 91 Days

6 Comments

  • Kristi

    It looks much better than when I was at SCAD. It was a fenced off hole in the ground!

    January 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm
  • Cathy

    Hey now….. although its not as historic (looking) its still a pretty cool place to hang out…. You can sit with an icecream cones at a little table under one of those pathetic little trees on one of the hottest days of the summer and listen to some fantastic live music right there outside Wild Wings….. And if you just can bare the heat anymore, you can walk, or as most children do, run through the water fountains that come squirting up from the ground….. theyre very cool when lit up at night. So, you see, its not a total wash…. I kinda like that they did something a little different :0)

    January 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm
  • Ruth

    The beautiful thing about the renovation of Ellis Square that might not be evident is that the parking deck is now underground.  http://www.wsav.com/story/20683657/businesses-celebrate-as-renovation-of-ellis-square-nears-completion

    July 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm
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