Only one square in Savannah has the architectural purity with all its surrounding original buildings still intact -- Calhoun Square. It was one of the last squares created in Savannah in 1851 -- along with nearby Whitfield and Troup Squares. For nearly 120 years, as Savannah expanded southward, new wards were created and Oglethorpe's original four grew to twenty-four. However, no new squares have been established since 1851 when those final 3 were added -- other than restoration of a few that were destroyed in the first half of the 20th century.
Like many others, Savannah's practice of naming its town squares after politicians and military heroes continued with Calhoun Square, which is named for Vice President John C. Calhoun (who served under President John Quincy Adams). He was an accomplished statesmen from neighboring South Carolina before he was elected VP, having held the role of Secretary of War for the United States of America. Much could be written about Calhoun's public service career but most visitors to this Savannah square are more intrigued by the buildings that remain.
One of the most important buildings on the square is Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church. Groundbreaking for the church began in the summer of 1875 and construction took 15 years. In fact, when the church was dedicated in 1890, work was still not complete on the two steeples.
Construction proceeded slowly during this time at the height of Reconstruction. A yellow fever epidemic in Savannah also slowed progress. Finally, the church was dedicated to Charles and John Wesley - both whom spent time in Savannah.
Also facing this square is Massie School -- Georgia's first public school building. Inside you'll learn about early childhood education in Savannah. Interactive exhibits cover the history of the European settlement that became Savannah as well as the history of the Native Americans who lived in the area. There's a 3 dimensional layout of Savannah's Historic District and information about all of the architectural styles you'll find in our city. At Massie School you can step into a nineteenth century classroom and gain an appreciation for how education was approached in prior centuries.
Surrounding Calhoun Square are also several Greek revival style private residences. It's been rumored at least one of these homes is haunted -- if not Calhoun Square itself. In recent years the notion that Calhoun Square was once a burial ground has gained prominence. Although it was illegal to bury bodies within the city limits, Calhoun Square was once outside of Savannah.