Forsyth Park

Photo © 2008, Shannon Burns. All Rights Reserved - Used with permission.

Forsyth Park is a Savannah landmark located on the south end of the Historic District. The park lies between Drayton Street on the east and Whitaker Street on the west; Gaston Street lines the north and Park Avenue borders the south. This 30-acre commons area showcases the magnificent beauty and charm of Savannah. It’s also a place where locals and tourists both flock to take in the handsome scenery and community of the area.

Photo courtesy of brittreints

Inspired by the French and the beauty of Parisian parks, Fredrick Law Olmstead, along with Savannah’s city planners created the picturesque Forsyth Park. Work on the park began in the 1840s. In 1851, the park was named after one of the generous land donors and Georgia Governor John Forsyth. Since it’s beginning, the park has served not only as a garden and community space, but also as a public meeting place and parade ground for the city. Confederate soldiers used the area as a mustering ground, and Union soldiers camped in here during the Civil War.

You can do today what tourists and locals have done for centuries at Forsyth Park – have a picnic or toss a Frisbee in an open area or sit on a bench in the shade and ponder life. Let your child swing from the monkey bars in the play area. Get married. Go jogging or stroll along the 1.5-mile sidewalk, play tennis, or dribble a basketball on one of the public courts. On Saturdays, you can purchase locally grown produce and handmade goods at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. In the afternoons or evenings, usually in spring and fall, you can catch a public concert or watch a movie.

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

On the north end, you’ll find the famous Forsyth Park Fountain. Modeled after a water feature in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, the fountain was installed in 1858. Just type in the word ‘Savannah’ into any Internet search engine, and you’ll find the Forsyth Park fountain is one of the most photographed areas in the city. Follow the sidewalk a bit south of the fountain, where you’ll find an incomparable picturesque view through the tunnel of live oaks and hanging moss. The fountain is turned green every St. Patrick’s Day during a ceremony to mark the rich Irish heritage of Savannah.

Photo courtesy of jeffgunn

Savannah’s Confederate War Memorial lies in the middle of the park. It was constructed in 1879 to honor the soldiers who served and those who gave their lives for the Confederacy. A sandstone base is the foundation for a statue of a bronze Confederate soldier. An iron fence protects the monument and the busts of two Savannah Civil War heroes.

The Spanish-American War Memorial lies to the south near the corner of Bull St. and Park Ave. It was erected in 1931 to honor Georgians who died in the War of 1812. The monument features a bronze statue of a soldier looking out for the city from his stone pedestal.

Just southwest of the fountain is the Fragrant Garden for the Blind. It was created by the Trustees Garden Club of Savannah and has been around since 1963, but has only recently been opened to the public. Solid cement walls to hold in the flowery aromas surround the garden. A treat for the senses, the plant name plaques also feature Braille writing. The garden is open 9AM to 2PM Monday through Friday.

Neighboring the Fragrant Garden is one of the park’s newest additions – the Forsyth Park Visitor’s Center, which was opened in 2009. The center consists of a stage, fountain and café. The stage, complete with a band shell, is the venue for many of Savannah’s public concerts and events. The café is great for a fresh sandwich or salad, coffee, tea or bottle of water.

Annual Events in Forsyth Park

Picnic in the Park is a Savannah tradition. It features live entertainment and family fun. There are theme-inspired picnic contests and fundraisers for local charities. Bring a cooler and a blanket or set up a real dining table complete with candelabras and fine china. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.

Shakespeare in the Park offers three free nightly performances of Shakespeare-inspired short acts, dances and music, followed by a professional presentation of a classic Shakespearian play. For more information on this year’s event, call (912) 234-9860.

Sidewalk Arts Festival is hosted in the spring by the Savannah College of Art and Design. This festival brings vibrant color to the lush green of the park in the form of chalk art masterpieces. This art is one-of-a-kind and, of course, temporary. So don’t miss it!

Some other annual events in Forsyth Park include SCAD New Alumni Concert and The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival.

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