Photo courtesy of Mambo'Dan
A visit to Franklin Square tells one of those stories that was overlooked for far too long. At its center is the a monument to the Haitian Volunteer Army who took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War. During the Siege of Savannah, a group of Haitians helped fight for American Independence. This volunteer Haitian Army took up arms as colonial forces tried to retake the city from the British, who captured Savannah the prior year in 1778. This effort is one of the more remarkable acts of military assistance by foreigners to the colonists seeking freedom from the crown.
The square's namesake is Benjamin Franklin, one of the most important of the founding fathers of the United States of America. Franklin spent a great deal of time in Europe representing the Colony of Georgia before the British government in the years prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and then later represented the 13 colonies to the French government trying to win financial and military assistance.
Franklin Square is located on Montgomery Street at the west end of City Market. There were once two other squares along Montgomery Street south of Franklin Square. Both were removed to make way for other projects -- something that is unthinkable today with Savannah's strong preservation movement. In fact, due east on the other end of City Market is Ellis Square, which was destroyed in the 1950's but beautifully restored in 2006. Today Savannah is fully dedicated to both preserving its historical parks and squares as well as telling the stories that form our history.
Also while visiting Franklin Square you'll see First African Baptist Church -- which is the oldest black church in North America. Established in 1777, this important congregation has a fascinating history. The original baptismal pool, light fixtures and pipe organ are original to the church building.
After touring the square, you may want to consider lunch at the popular pizza establishment Vinnie Van Go Go's, which is adjacent to Franklin Square.