The History of Chippewa Square
Chippewa Square is one of Savannah’s most popular Squares, for tourists and locals alike. On any given day you can sit on one of the stone benches and watch hundreds of people walking by, half of them looking for the infamous Forrest Gump bench (which isn’t in Chippewa Square by the way). The bus stop scene in Forrest Gump was filmed in Chippewa Square, but the bench never existed. It was a movie prop which now sits in a museum in Savannah.
Chippewa Square was laid out in 1815. The name Chippewa was used to honor the men who fought at the Battle of Chippewa, which was a battle in the War of 1812. In the middle of the Square is the monument to the founder of Savannah, James Edward Oglethorpe. It was Oglethorpe, way back in 1733, who first put boots on the soil on the bluff by the Savannah River. The city of Savannah and eventually the state of Georgia followed.
The James Oglethorpe Statue
In the center of Chippewa Square sits the statue to James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah, Georgia. Many people often walk by, inquiring as to who the ‘pirate’ is. James Oglethorpe was no pirate. He was an English Nobleman who brought the first English people over to settle what would later become Savannah, Georgia.
The Savannah Theatre
The Savannah Theatre is the oldest continually running Theatre in the United States. Built all the way back in 1818 on Chippewa Square, the Savannah Theatre has entertained countless people during it’s almost 200-year history. Today, the large neon sign in front of the Savannah Theatre screams out for your attention but it hasn’t always been that way. The exterior of the Savannah Theatre has changed many times over the years, often due to large fires.
The Savannah Theatre is still in operation today. With shows taking place throughout the year, there is a good chance there will be something to go and see at the Savannah Theatre while you are visiting Savannah. Read more about the Historic Savannah Theatre.
The First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church, on Chippewa Square, is the oldest house of worship in Savannah. Elias Carter was hired by the church to design and build the current structure. Built between 1831 and 1833, this Greek Revival building has undergone many renovations and expansions over the years. The First Baptist Church has a long and interesting history here in Savannah.
The Moses-Eastman House
At 17 West McDonough Street sits the Moses Eastman House. Designed by Charles Clusky, the house was designed and built for John Stoddard in 1847 on Chippewa Square. The house was originally only two stories but a third story was added in the early 1900’s. While checking out the house, which is easily distinguishable by its columns, check out the Iron Fence that surrounds the front of the house. On the fence you will find metal plates with the faces and names of significant men.
The Foley House Inn
Standing opposite The Foley House Inn, one can’t help feel enchanted by its complete Victorian-esque flare, with a raised dormer (window) at the top and a gorgeous bay window on the third floor. Staying at the Foley House is certainly like time-traveling, as it welcomes you to the 19th century and encourages you to stay a while.
This property was built in 1896 by Honoria Foley, the widow of a wealthy Irish immigrant. When the building was constructed, it was actually the first Bed & Breakfast, although it was more commonly referred to as a boarding house, then. Mrs. Foley had built the house so that she might have a bit more living space. However, the property was erected over a previous building that had been consumed by the Great Savannah Fire of 1889.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Foley and her descendants would continue to succeed and welcome people as guests during their lifetimes, and still yet today. The Foley House Inn is a great place to stay, especially if you’re interested in the paranormal.
Legend has it that when the Inn was under construction in 1987, workers found human skeletal remains in the walls.
Want to learn more about the Foley House Inn and its ghostly activity? Click here!
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