Photo © 2009, Shannon Burns, All Rights Reserved - Used with permission.
The original formation of Columbia Square occurred in the year 1799. Being square number nine, Columbia shares its birth year with both Greene Square and Liberty Square established during this same time. The namesake is said to have derived, from the name “Colombia” as an effort to represent the ‘poetic personification of the United States’. Columbia Square sits among the Eastern Commons section of Savannah. Historically, this area is notorious for irrefutable behaviors which occurred here throughout most of the nineteenth century. Bordellos, taverns and grog shops were among the most recognized establishments, way back then. Now, possibly because of the vast amount of characters remembered to frequent the area, Columbia is noted as the “most haunted” square.
The Davenport and Kehoe Houses, which still remain in operation on the square, are two of the structures with ghost stories all their own. The Davenport House operates as a museum these days and frequently receives reports of a large cat which slinks around the home. However, the museum does not employ a cat and no one who serves the establishment condones animals in the place. Adding to the mystery, witnesses also see a small child periodically peering through windows and playing in the attic. Aside from the tales of spiritual dwelling, taking a tour of The Davenport House is not to be missed as it is regaled as the home which started the restoration movement in Savannah’s historic district. Its reputation for magnificence is long standing with its many details of its intrigue.
Sitting on a corner between State and York streets, The Kehoe House, now a grand bed and breakfast, also has ghost tales to tell. Spurring these tales is the historical use of the House which served as a funeral home for decades. Though many stories float around, the sounds of children playing are highest on the list of reports. The original inhabitants, the Davenports, suffered many losses including the death of their twin children. Though children rarely stay at the Inn, laughing and running children are frequently heard and seen by guests. No matter, the Kehoe Inn is the thriving as the only 4 Star Bed and Breakfast in Savannah!
Center stage of these structures and all others of Columbia Square lies the glamorous Wormsloe Fountain. Upon first glance, the fountain looks as if it has grown from the very place it stands. In actuality, the fountain was carefully placed in Colombia Square in 1970 as a dedication to Augusta and Wymberly DeRenne. With natural qualities and years of earthy patina, the fountain is most often referred to as the “rustic fountain”. Surrounded by stone benches, the fountain is the perfect place to enjoy a soothing drink, the energizing elements of the outdoors or perhaps a meaningful conversation.
Indicative of its surroundings, this charmed square graces Savannah with low hanging oaks and sweet smelling magnolias. The squares of Savannah each hold treasure and Columbia is no different! Stay on the Columbia Square and traipse to the very near surroundings to find the Sweet Water Spa, Broughton Street and River Street. Add these to the list of places to see and experience while touring in the historic district.