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Johnson Square

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We had 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.

Johnson Obelisk

The most notable monument in Johnson Square is a 50-foot white obelisk dedicated to Nathaniel Green, 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 the obelisk.

Johnson Square also features two identical fountains, and a 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 ancient sundials can’t be expected to cope with daylight savings. Another monument is the Johnny Mercer bench, which honors the city’s best-known musical artist.

Ever since Savannah’s inception, Johnson Square has been the center of city life. In the very early days, this is where colonists would meet to check the time, fetch water, make use of public ovens, and congregate for worship. The Christ Church, found on the eastern side of the square, is known as the “Mother Church of Georgia.” Built in 1773, it’s the oldest in all of Georgia.

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Johnson Square Fountain
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November 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm Comments (6)

The 24 Squares of Savannah

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At the time of its founding in 1733, Savannah was the first North American city planned around public squares. General Oglethorpe’s grand design for his new capital called for four squares to serve as gardens and meeting areas. The western and eastern sides of each square were reserved for public buildings, such as churches and government offices, while the northern and southern ends were for private residences, called tything blocks.

Savannah was the original capital of Georgia, the last of the original thirteen colonies, and its logical design won it fame around the world. The plan was far-sighted, allowing for over a century of growth, always replicating the square system further outward. By the mid 19th century, there were a total of twenty-four.

From the largest (Johnson) to the smallest (Crawford), each of Savannah’s twenty-four squares has its own history and personality. We made a promise to fully explore each of them during our three months here, and learn their stories and secrets. It was a promise we kept.

1. Franklin
2. Ellis
3. Johnson
4. Reynolds
5. Warren
6. Washington
7. Liberty (lost)
8. Telfair
9. Wright
10. Oglethorpe
11. Columbia
12. Greene
13. Elbert (lost)
14. Orleans
15. Chippewa
16. Crawford
17. Pulaski
18. Madison
19. Lafayette
20. Troup
21. Chatham
22. Monterey
23. Calhoun
24. Whitefield

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November 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm Comments (11)
Johnson Square We had 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.
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