Periodically Savannah Buzz makes our visitor’s aware of some of the often overlooked attractions (at least to we locals) that attract so many visiting tourists every year – chief among those are our garden squares. Today we will cover three new squares.
Madison Square was named to honor President James Madison and laid out in 1837. On the West side of the square one finds St. John’s Episcopal Church and its parish house, the Green-Meldrim House which is open to the public. On the corner of Charlton and Bull Streets, there is the Scottish Rite Temple designed by Hyman Witcover who was also the architect for the present Savannah City Hall. Directly acoss the street is the Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory, now owned by Savannah College of Art and Design. The present day DeSoto Hilton Hotel off the northeast corner was built in the 1960s after the original structure was torn down. This site was originally the Oglethorpe Barracks, circa 1834, the site of early military parades. The center of Madison Square is the Sgt. Jasper Monument.
Warren Square was laid out in 1791, is located in the front of the historic district on the first lineof squares on Habersham Street. This square was named for General Joseph Warren, killed in the 1775 battle of Bunker Hill. Nowadays, the city parking garage covers the two western Trust Lots. The Spencer House built in 1791 on the westside of the square underwent a total restoration in the 1980′s. A private philanthropist has completely redone the double house on the northwest corner of Habersham Street in 1993. On St. Julian Street between this square and Washington Square there are some of the oldest houses in the historic district.
Located in the northeastern quadrant of the district, Washington Square is found on Houston Street across Broad Street west of the site of the old Trustees Garden. For many years until the mid-twentieth century, this square was the scene of the biggest New Year’s Eve bonfires (recently reported on in The South Magazine) often taller than the houses around the square. The Seaman’s House, operated by the Port Society to serve the needs of visiting seaman, is on the southwest side of the square. The Mulberry Inn, also on this square, was originally a cotton warehouse, built in the 1860′s. Several elegant old homes are available for private vacation rentals through Savannah Getaways off what many consider Savannah’s most beautiful square.