Large oak trees shade most of Orleans Square from the sun
In 1815, General Andrew Jackson scored the decisive victory against the British in the War of 1812 in New Orleans. The same year in Savannah a new square was being formed on Barnard Street. When news reached Savannah about the victory in New Orleans, it was decided the new square would be named to commemorate the triumph -- and thus named Orleans Square.
At the center of Orleans Square is a fountain dedicated to one of the many immigrant communities of Savannah's earliest days. The impressive German Memorial Fountain celebrates the contributions of the Germans who wanted a new start and chose Savannah as a place to build their lives and contribute to their community. The fountain has been in Orleans Square since 1989.
Orleans Square may have been one of the most beautiful in all of Savannah at one time -- as recently as the middle of the 20th century. However, demolition of several original homes on the square and the construction of the Civic Center with its expansive parking lot to the west has diminished the visual beauty surrounding the square.
Inside the square you'll find natural beauty on display -- lush green grass, magnolias and towering oaks with hanging Spanish moss. The overhang of the oak branches provides shade to most of the square during the day. The square is immaculate. Although the surrounding area has lost some appeal -- there are exceptions. A Greek revival style house on the southeast corner of the square maintains the elegance and charm of centuries past.
Orleans Square is in the western half of Savannah's downtown district, adjacent to the Savannah Civic Center. Originally though, another square lay west of Orleans Sq. In 1801, a square had been formed and named for Gov. Elbert -- but this square was lost with the construction of the Civic Center in the early 1970s. Therefore, Orleans Square is the western-most square along Hull or Perry Streets (which form the northern and southern boundary of the square).
A self-guided walking tour of the western most squares could begin in Ellis Square, where children love to play in the dancing water fountains and continue south through Telfair and then Orleans Square. Only two more squares lay south -- Pulaski and Chatham. Going all the way to Chatham Square would put you very close to Forsyth Park -- perhaps the most popular place in Savannah for a photograph.
Among all the squares in Savannah -- only a few feature a water fountain at their center. Fountains are a great place to make a wish and toss in a penny or use as a backdrop for a memorable vacation photo. For a visit to squares with fountains, visit Columbia Square, Layfayette Square, and Orleans Square.