The Savannah Preservation Festival is all set to celebrate the beauty and preservation of Savannah, so what better way to kick things off than with a salute to none other than Benjamin Franklin!
Laid out along Montgomery Street in 1790, the square once known as Water Tank Square, Water Tower Square and Water Reservoir Square had once housed the city’s water supply. Benjamin Franklin had been the agent in London for the colony from 1768 to 1778. He passed away in 1790 and the square was officially named in memory of him in 1791.
On the west side of the square at 23 Montgomery Street is the First African Baptist Church, recognized as the oldest black Christian congregation in the country. The church was organized in 1788. Franklin Square was destroyed in 1935 when Montgomery Street became a federal route, but the square and much of the surrounding area were restored in the 1980s to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Georgia. A memorial honoring Haitian volunteers who fought with Pulaski during the Siege of Savannah, created by sculptor James Mastin, was unveiled in Franklin Square on the 228th anniversary of the battle.
The Historic Savannah Foundation protects and preserves Savannah’s heritage through advocacy, education and community involvement. And, it demonstrates the cultural, social and economic benefits of preservation as good public policy by proving that preservation and progress go hand-in-hand.
Savannah is a shining example of what can be saved, restored and protected when we all work together. I hope to see you enjoying our wonderful city and May is a wonderful time to be here. Come help us celebrate the Savannah Preservation Festival!