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Telfair Square

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Originally called St. James Square after the famous London park, Telfair Square was renamed in 1833 in honor of Savannah’s VIP-iest family. It was one the city’s original four squares and, for a long time, its most fashionable district.

Telfair Square

The four walking paths which cut through Telfair Square create a tic-tac-toe pattern in the grass. In the northeastern quadrant, there’s a curious monument in the form of a nautilus shell, and a tribute to the Girl Scouts in the southeast. The Girl Scouts, I can understand, since they were founded in Savannah. But the shell monument is a total mystery.

The Telfair Academy sits along the western side of the square. Done in Regency style by William Jay, the Telfair is the oldest public art museum in the South, housing both classic European paintings and regional art. The museum is gorgeous but rather small, so the Jepson Center, on Telfair Square’s southern border, was opened in 2006 to accommodate modern works. Between the two art museums is the Greek Revival-style Trinity Methodist Church, built in 1847.

In stark contrast to the classically beautiful buildings of the western side and the modernist audacity of the Jepson Center, two tiled government buildings occupy the eastern end of Telfair Square. When I say “tiles”, I mean “bathroom tiles”. These are ugly buildings, which really stick out in this otherwise gorgeous corner of Savannah.

Location of Telfair Square

Visit all 24 Squares of Savannah

Telfair Square
Telfair Square
Telfair Square
Telfair Square
Telfair Square
Telfair Shell
Savannah Fall
Girl Scouts Savannah
Government Savannah
Mercedes Oldtimer
Mercedes USA
Savannah Trees
Visit Savannah
Savannah Jungle
Telfair Bird
Lonely Tree
Telfair Flower
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November 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm Comment (1)

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)
Telfair Square Originally called St. James Square after the famous London park, Telfair Square was renamed in 1833 in honor of Savannah's VIP-iest family. It was one the city's original four squares and, for a long time, its most fashionable district.
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