Photo courtesy of faungg's photo
Honoring the soldiers who perished in the War of 1812, Chippewa Square was laid out in 1815. Fifteenth in line of twenty six, the square represents the struggle and perseverance of an early Savannah township. Over the years, slight deterioration and overgrowth inspired a recent rejuvenation of the space which was conducted during 2012. Foliage was trimmed, new plants were incorporated and other aesthetics, such as benches were refurbished to provide an enjoyable experience for visitors. Notable of the additions, are the ambrosial Tea Olives which fill the air like no other southern shrub!
Located between Hull and Perry Streets, the Square is perfectly positioned to give travelers a point from which to easily walk to several downtown venues. Because of its location, Chippewa is known for being the “gateway Square” to the booming nightlife for which Savannah is so widely known. Less than one mile away, there are dozens of establishments with options for dining, entertainment and history lessons. The Savannah Theatre, the oldest theatre to have continually been in operation in the United States, entertains thousands of people a year. For nearly two centuries, showings have been offered to Savannah’s inhabitants and its visitors. The Philbrick-Eastman House is a private home and yet another intriguing showcase of Chippewa Square. The intricate iron work surrounding the home is quite famous and it shares the fame with its counterpart located around the fountain in front of the Cotton Exchange on Bay Street. The fence structure is adorned with detailed medallions featuring historical figures from decades past. Another fine example of Savannahs gilded antiquity, The First Baptist Church is corner stoned on Chippewa Square and is the oldest house of worship in Savannah. It was originally chartered in 1800 and blessed with a perpetual charter in 1801, forever promising to locally promote the Christian lifestyle.
As seen in many of the squares, passages from Georgia's founding documents are imprinted among various statues and monuments. The first Georgia Charter is represented in Chippewa on a pedestal underneath the focal point of the square. Center-stage stands the statue of General James Oglethorpe. The man towers stoically, in bronze, facing south with his sword drawn. Because of this looming presence, visitors sometimes mistake the square for the true Oglethorpe Square located just a bit to the northeast. This particular depiction of General Oglethorpe stands nine feet tall and represents the military commander he once was. His military garb is that of the 1740’s and was diligently studied before creation.
Take a walking tour or strike out on your own, several remarkable sights are easily traversable from Chippewa Square. For example, Saint John the Baptist’s Cathedral, ranked as the top sight to see in all of Savannah, the Telfair Museum of Art and City Market which features several restaurants and shops. The Mercer Williams House also stands close by and serves the community as a museum. Tripadvisor declares Chippewa Square “a peaceful square and easy walking distance to many restaurants and attractions”. If you are searching for the famed Forrest Gump bench, however, you will need to stroll a little further to the Savannah History Museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Enjoy!