A National Historic Landmark, Savannah's beautiful Historic District is well-known for its grid plan. Bordered by the Savannah River, East Broad Street, Gwinnett Street and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, the historic district was laid out in
A National Historic Landmark, Savannah's beautiful Historic District is well-known for its grid plan. Bordered by the Savannah River, East Broad Street, Gwinnett Street and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, the historic district was laid out in 1733 around four public squares to be used for forums and meetings. By 1851, it had expanded to 24 public squares, 21 of which remain today within the half-square-mile district.
Millions of people visit the Savannah Historic District every year, most notably the five squares located along Bull Street: Monterey, Madison, Chippewa, Wright, and Johnson. Known as Savannah's "Crown Jewels," these five locations serve as grand monument spaces to major events and people who have shaped Savannah's history. Chippewa Square features a bronze statue of Georgia founder General James Oglethrope, while Madison Square features a vintage cannon that marks the starting points of the first highways in the state.
The historic district is marked by buildings and homes built in the Georgian, Gothic and Greek Revival styles. Notable structures include the 1818 Owens-Thomas House at Oglethorpe Square, the 1795 Spencer Woodbridge House on Habersham Street, the 1853 Gothic Revival Greene House at Madison Square, and the 1865 Beach Institute, the city's first African American school, on East Harris Street. The Mercer House in Monterey Square was recently the home of antiques dealer Jim Williams. The home, as well as the square itself, was featured in John Berendt's novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
In addition to historic monuments and stunning architecture, the Savannah Historic District is the location of many of Savannah's most cozy cafes and unique boutiques. Guest can enjoy a traditional tea over scones and jam at The Tea Room, or indulge in fried chicken and Southern sides at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room. Shopaholics can pick up all manner of items, from sheets and linens to French antiques to handmade jewelry, at stores such as Savannah Fine Linens, Paris Market & Brocante, Shop SCAD and E. Shaver, Bookseller.
Self-guided tours of the historic district are available from the Savannah Visitor Center. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM.