Madison Square in Savannah Georgia
Named after the United States’ fourth president, James Madison, this Square was laid out in 1837. But though it might have been named for a US President, Madison Square has quite the place in military history, in that it—more than any of Savannah’s other squares—was directly involved in America’s domestic-based Wars. If you're visiting Savannah, this is one square you don't want to miss out on!
Bull Street, between W. Harris Street and W. Charlton Street
Attractions in Madison Square
The Green Meldrim House
Aesthetically, the Green-Meldrim House which overlooks Madison Square is perhaps one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Savannah. Allegedly it is also was most expensive nineteenth century house still built, costing nearly $93,000 in total.
Designed by New York architect John Norris for Mr. Charles Green, an English transplant who arrived in Savannah in 1833, the property has seen more than just an opulent building. When Green arrived in Savannah, he had done so with nearly empty pockets. Through hard work and a venture into the cotton merchant and ship-owning business, Green slowly grew his fortune until he was able to commission John Norris to build this lovely home.
Understandably, Charles Green loved his home. (Original mirrors with gold-leaf edging from Austria still exist in this house). When news arrived that Union General William T. Sherman was heading toward Savannah in December of 1864, Green was so nervous that his beloved house might be demolished or ruined, that he actually rode out to meet Sherman to offer the house to be Sherman’s headquarters. Sherman arrived in the city, took a look around Savannah and, realizing that Green’s offer was the best one around, took him up on it. For the remainder of Sherman’s stay in Savannah, the Green-Meldrim House were used as his headquarters. A bronze plaque exists near the house today for those keen to learn a little bit more.
Green’s descendants lived in the house until the 20th century, when it was exchanged hands a few times before being purchased by St. John’s Episcopal Church right next door. The former kitchens, servant’s quarters and stable currently function as the rectory for the church. Tours are offered at this grand Savannah estate, so be sure to check it out while visiting Madison Square!
St. Johns Episcopal Church
Though the Church parish was formed in 1840, the Church itself was not completed until later in 1853. It is a fine example of Neo-Gothic architecture and was designed by Calvin Otis. Make sure to take a peek at the Church’s only steeple: a ship’s mast is actually located there!
Today, St. John's property also includes the Green-Meldrim House. It is because of St. John's preservation and restoration efforts that the Green-Meldrim House (also known as the Parish House) is in such a fine shape.
The Sorrel Weed House
This Greek Revival mansion was certainly one of the most architecturally pleasing in the neighborhood when it was erected in 1841 for Frances Sorrel. A Native of the West Indies, Sorrel had immigrated to Savannah in the hopes of amassing a fortune. He did so, as did many others, by entering the cotton merchant business. This imposing home was designed by the Irish architect, Charles B. Cluskey.
Interestingly enough, Frances’ son, Moxley Sorrel, would go on to become the youngest general officer of the Confederate Army at the age of 26! General Robert E. Lee visited Moxley Sorrel at this house in 1861. Today, it is privately owned but open for guided tours.
Before moving on from the Sorrel-Weed House, make sure to notice the color of the paint! When a former owner went to paint the house this yellow-ish, peach, color, the city's preservation council was quick to shut him down. They argued that the color was not one of Savannah's original colors and, as such, the owner could not do so. Only once the owner proved that he had, in fact, peeled back 20 layers of paint to find this particular color was he given the go-ahead.
The Sergeant Jasper Monument
The Jasper Monument is located in the center of Madison Square. Erected in 1888, this monument was created in honor of Sgt. William Jasper, an 18th century immigrant from Germany and also a Revolutionary War Hero. The monument itself displays Jasper with a sword in hand and stands fifteen and a half feet tall.
Sgt. Jasper had committed many acts of heroism during the war of Independence from Britain, including rescuing the flag while he was defending Fort Moultrie. Immediately he was nominated for a commission, but Jasper didn’t feel as though he had earned such a high honor as he was illiterate. He asked, instead, for a sword, and it is that same sword that is replicated in the bronze monument gracing Madison Square.
Jasper would ultimately die during the Siege of Savannah in 1779, when he attempted to rescue the regimental flag from a dying lieutenant.
This siege occurred just north of Madison Square, but it is not the only grand military occurrence to have transpired near this particular square. (As we've already seen, Madison Square became General Sherman's front lawn!)
Don't Miss Out on Visiting These Spots!
Masonic Temple: If anyone is ever heard of the organization called the freemasons, look no further than the Masonic Temple. Formerly known as the Scottish Rite Temple when it was constructed in 1912, the Masonic Temple still welcomes those of similar beliefs. Fun fact: the Scottish Rite group of the freemasons goes all the way back to the templars of 16th century France!
Gryphon Tea Room: Do you fancy a cuppa tea? If so, make a reservation for high tea (afternoon tea) at Gryphon Tea Room, which is located on the first floor of the Masonic Temple. With a Victorian-era atmosphere and even antique-Pharmacy tools and pictures, the Gryphon Tea Room would impress even the most snobbish of tea-fanatics. What are you waiting for? Go book a spot for yourself!
Get to know Savannah's Squares on our Guided Tours
We are soo confident that you'll love your tour that if you don't we'll give you your money back. Seriously!
[button size='extralarge' style='blue' link='https://www.zerve.com/DHATours/Savannah/calendar' linktarget='_self' icon='Default-ticket']Buy Tickets Online[/button]
Or Call our Office at 504-210-8540.