Alright, Savannah, what’s going on here? The obelisk in honor of Nathanial Greene isn’t in Greene Square, as might be assumed, but Johnson. The statue of James Oglethorpe isn’t in Oglethorpe Square, but in the middle of Chippewa Square. And although Chippewa Square is named after the Battle of Chippawa, the name is misspelled ever-so-slightly. Are you trying to confuse us? Or are you just confused yourself?
Regardless, Chippewa is one of Savannah’s most impressive squares, thanks mainly to the statue of Oglethorpe. The colony’s founder strikes an imposing figure, with his sword drawn and facing South, toward his hated enemy Spanish Florida. The statue was erected in 1910, and is the work of Daniel Chester French, who was also responsible for the Lincoln Memorial in DC.
There’s a lot to see around Chippewa Square, including the Savannah Theater which opened in 1818 and has welcomed stars such as W.C. Fields, Oscar Wilde and Tyrone Powers. This is the oldest still-active theater in the USA. And on the square’s western side is the First Baptist Church, which is Savannah’s oldest standing place of worship, built in Greek Revival style in 1833.
But what am I doing describing Chippewa Square? You’ve already seen it. Everyone has. The opening sequence of Forrest Gump was filmed here, where Forrest sits on a bench and eats from his box o’ chocolates. Gump-fans who journey to Savannah are always surprised to learn that there is actually no bench here. It was just a prop for the film, and can now be found in the Savannah History Museum.