Busy Bees know you’ve got to have a plan. Lots of really great things have come from well laid plans and it’s also one of the main reasons Savannah gets so much Buzz!
Savannah was laid out in 1733 around four open squares. The plan anticipated growth of the city and additional squares were added during the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1851 there were twenty-four squares in the city and fortunately, twenty-two still exist. Most of Savannah’s squares are named in honor or in memory of a person, persons or historical event, and many contain monuments, markers, memorials, statues, plaques, and other tributes.
Johnson Square was the first of Savannah’s squares and remains the largest of the twenty-four. It was named for Robert Johnson, colonial governor of South Carolina and a friend of General Oglethorpe. Interred in the square is Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene, the namesake of nearby Greene Square. Greene died in 1786 and was buried in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery. His son, George Washington Greene, was buried beside him after drowning in the Savannah River in 1793. Following vandalism of the cemetery by occupying Union forces during the Civil War the location of Greene’s burial was lost. After the remains were re-identified Greene and his son were moved to Johnson Square. An obelisk in the center of the square now serves as a memorial to Gen. Greene. The cornerstone of the monument was laid by the marquis de La Fayette in 1825. At that time the obelisk did not yet commemorate any specific individual or event. In fact, due to financial restrictions the unmarked obelisk served for several years as a joint monument to both Greene and Casimir Pulaski. Inscriptions honoring Greene were added in 1886, but the Greenes’ physical remains did not arrive until 1901, following their “rediscovery.
Johnson Square contains two fountains, as well as a sundial dedicated to Colonel William Bull, the namesake of Savannah’s Bull Street. Bull was a South Carolinian who assisted Oglethorpe with the establishment of Savannah and, as a surveyor, laid out the original street grid. The sundial has four panels, one on each side of its square granite base. The dial itself is bronze, set atop a marble shaft. One of the base panels reproduces a 1734 map of Savannah.
Voted one of the 10 Most Beautiful Places in America by USA Weekend Magazine, the squares and parks of Savannah are the community’s most beloved icons. Busy Bee Vacations knows how you can best enjoy this hive of activity. Our historic cottages and townhouses are located near many of the squares and they’re the perfect spots for weekend getaways, Savannah vacations and extended and executive stays. Give us a buzz and we’ll make you a honey of a deal!