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Madison Square

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Madison Square, on Bull Street between Chippewa and Monterey Square, is possibly the most monumental in Savannah. With a magnificent tribute to William Jasper as its centerpiece, Madison offers a wealth of things to see and do.

William Jasper

South Carolinian revolutionary hero Sgt. Jasper was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah. He had found fame during an earlier battle with the British, when he recovered a shot-down South Carolina flag and held it aloft in the midst of heavy fighting. The statue in Madison Square pays tribute to that event, and includes other scenes from his life.

Madison Sqaure’s southern flank is symbolically protected by defunct cannons from the Savannah armory. And a monument to the ill-fated 1779 siege, which cost both Jasper and Casimir Pulaski their lives, can be found in the square.

Around Madison, there’s enough to occupy an entire afternoon. You can visit the Green-Meldrim House, where General Sherman famously stayed during his sojourn in Savannah. With its cast-iron fence and extended covered porch, this National Historic Landmark from 1861 is a stunning example of the Gothic Revival style, and is connected to St. John’s Episcopal Church. According to legend, the ladies of the congregation, offended by the next-door presence of the enemy Yankee, rang the bells through the night, without pause. Sherman responded by having the bells removed.

Green Meldrin Garden

On the northwest corner of Madison is one of Savannah’s most famous residences: The Sorrel-Weed House. One of Savannah’s best examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture, the house is the subject of numerous ghost stories.

Across Bull Street is of Savannah’s most unfortunate buildings: the Hilton DeSoto. An ugly, towering blight on the city’s skyline, the Hilton has loomed over the middle of Savannah since 1966, when it replaced the lovely red brick DeSoto hotel. Continuing clockwise around the square brings you to the most popular independent bookshop in Savannah, E. Shaver’s, where Jürgen and I stocked up on Savannah literature, during our first week in the city.

On the southeast corner of Madison is the SCAD shop, which is the perfect spot to hunt for unique gifts. And should you need a break while touring the houses and shops of Madison Square, you can stop in at the popular Gryphon Tea Room. With its high ceilings, cozy furniture and classy interior, this former pharmacy is a great place to relax tired feet.

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January 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm Comment (1)

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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November 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm Comments (6)
Madison Square Madison Square, on Bull Street between Chippewa and Monterey Square, is possibly the most monumental in Savannah. With a magnificent tribute to William Jasper as its centerpiece, Madison offers a wealth of things to see and do.
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