Laid out in 1791, Warren Square was named in honor of General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary hero from Massachusetts who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Warren Square itself looks like a battlefield, in the eternal fight between the forces of preservation and development.
I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think "Savannah," Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.
A weathered memorial stone in Savannah's Emmet Park pays tribute to a group of Lutherans from Salzburg, Austria, who immigrated to Georgia in the 18th century to escape the persecution of their Catholic homeland. Under General Oglethrope, Georgia had become known for its religious tolerance, and welcomed the the Lutherans with open arms. Along the banks of a river to the north of Savannah, they settled a town which they would name Ebenezer.
Orleans Square, on Barnard Street, might as well be called Parking Lot Square. It's one of the spaces which has been most negatively impacted by the development boom of the mid-20th century.
Before we moved to Savannah, me, Jürgen and four-year-old Xiao Liang of Taiwan were the only three people on Earth who hadn't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt. And now, noble Xiao stands alone. Jürgen and I have buckled down and read "The Book."
Laid out in 1841, Crawford is the only of Savannah's squares with recreational equipment: a basketball court, won by the neighborhood after a 1946 tournament. Found on Houston Street, the square was named after native son William Harris Crawford, who was Secretary of the Treasury and who unsuccessfully ran for President in 1824.
As 2011 rolled in, we had some things to celebrate... mainly, the fact that we still had another month in Savannah! We'd been having a great time, and were in no hurry to leave. Our New Year's celebrations had been just like Savannah itself: weird, hilarious, a little disturbing, and unforgettable. And as we stumbled home after a wild party, the city showed us a new trick: a dense fog had settled in on the streets. Oh Savannah, stop being so gorgeous!
Built in 1851, Troup is one of Savannah's smaller squares. It was named after George Troup, a former governor known his strident support of slavery and anti-Indian policies. It might be because of these unappealing views, that the square's central monument is not a statue of Troup, but a strange, archaic globe.
On New Year's Eve, we were invited into the home of an old-school Savannahian. Our soft-spoken host, Alvin, was a true southern gentleman, as gracious as possible, and both his character and his house seemed to be straight from the pages of some Victorian Gothic novel.
After Johnson, Savannah's second square was laid out in 1733 and named after the Irish politician John Percival, who was involved in the founding of Georgia. Later, however, Percival Square was renamed in honor of Georgia's last royal governor James Wright.
In 1808, with relations between Britain and our fledgling country quickly deteriorating, President Thomas Jefferson ordered the construction of Old Fort Jackson to protect the important port city of Savannah. Named for revolutionary hero James "Left Eye" Jackson, it was ready in time for the War of 1812, but never needed.
The only square on Montgomery Street to survive into the present day is Franklin Square. Like the lost squares of Liberty and Elbert, Franklin Square had been a victim of urbanization, but was fortunately restored in the 1980s.