At the top of Abercorn Street is Reynolds Square, originally laid out in 1734 as Lower New Square, but renamed in honor of the Royal Governor John Reynolds.
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.
One of the most beautiful squares in Savannah is Monterey, named in honor of the Mexican-American War’s 1846 Battle of Monterey. With a memorial to Casmir Pulaski in its center, classic buildings surrounding it, and more than its share of local lore, Monterey is one of our favorites.
Oglethorpe Square was laid out in 1742, the last of the six squares that were originally planned for Savannah. It was originally known as Upper New Square, but that bland name was soon tossed out in favor of a tribute to Georgia’s colonial founder, James Oglethorpe.
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 Oglethorpe Square, but in the middle of Chippewa Square! And Chippewa Square is named after the Battle of Chippawa, but the name is misspelled ever-so-slightly. Are you trying to confuse us? Or are you just confused yourself?
We had been excited to get into the old homes of Savannah, especially after our experience at the Scarborough House. So it was with high expectations that we visited the Owens-Thomas House on Oglethorpe Square. Unfortunately, our high expectations weren’t met, this time.
When he founded Savannah, the capital of his newly chartered colony of Georgia, James Oglethorpe had some utopian ideas. His planned city would be built around four squares and four simple prohibitions. No rum. No slavery. No lawyers. No Papists.
James Oglethorpe is the founder of Georgia. A Briton born in Berlin, he made his name as a soldier and eventually became a member of Parliament, where he successfully lobbied for the creation of a 13th colony, foreseen as a buffer to protect the lucrative Carolina colonies from Spanish Florida.