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Savannah In Squares And Shadows


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tamera Arruda



Welcome to Savannah, the charming and historic city known for its unique blend of Southern hospitality, rich culture, and captivating arts scene. Nestled on the banks of the Savannah River in Georgia, this enchanting city is a treasure trove of history and beauty.


With its cobblestone streets, oak-shaded squares, and stately mansions, Savannah has an undeniable old-world charm that captures the hearts of both locals and visitors alike. It is a city where time seems to stand still, allowing you to immerse yourself in its storied past while being surrounded by the vibrant energy of a thriving arts and culture community.


As you explore the city, you will soon discover the significance of squares and shadows in Savannah. These elements play a vital role in shaping the character and allure of this beloved city, each contributing to its unique atmosphere.


Join me on a journey to uncover the magic of Savannah’s squares and shadows, as we delve into the history, architecture, and artistic allure that make this city an unparalleled destination for artists, culture enthusiasts, and history buffs.


History of Savannah

Savannah, founded in 1733, is the oldest city in the state of Georgia and is steeped in a rich and vibrant history. The city was established by General James Oglethorpe as a strategic outpost in the colonization of the New World and was originally designed as a utopian settlement.


Oglethorpe envisioned Savannah as a place where English colonists could establish a disciplined, egalitarian society. The city’s layout was meticulously planned, with a grid pattern of streets intersecting 24 picturesque squares. This design, influenced by the ideals of the Enlightenment and the principles of urban planning, set Savannah apart from other colonial settlements.


Savannah played a significant role in various chapters of American history. During the American Revolution, the city served as a crucial port for the British, who also used it as a base during the War of 1812. It was in Savannah that the historic Battle of Savannah took place in 1779, marking a pivotal moment in the struggle for American independence.


In addition to its military significance, Savannah has been a hub for cultural and artistic expression. The city has inspired many renowned artists, writers, and musicians throughout its history. It is said that the city’s unique charm and captivating ambiance have provided endless inspiration to creative minds.


Today, Savannah’s historic district is a testament to its storied past. Visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s history by exploring sites such as the Owens-Thomas House, the Mercer-Williams House, and the Telfair Museums, which house a significant collection of art and artifacts.


The historic district, with its meticulously preserved architecture and tranquil squares, draws people from all over the world who come to experience the essence of Savannah’s past. This living museum preserves the city’s history and showcases its architectural and cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.


Squares in Savannah

Savannah is renowned for its 22 picturesque squares, which are scattered throughout the city’s historic district. These squares are not just scenic green spaces, but also serve as community gathering places and are intrinsic to Savannah’s identity.


Each square has its own unique character, featuring beautiful landscaping, stunning monuments, and historic markers that tell stories of the city’s past. Some of the most notable squares include Forsyth Park, Chippewa Square, and Johnson Square.


Forsyth Park, located in the heart of Savannah, is the city’s largest and most popular square. Spanning 30 acres, it is home to the iconic Forsyth Fountain, an impressive landmark that serves as the park’s centerpiece. The park offers a peaceful retreat for locals and visitors, with its tree-lined paths, fragrant gardens, and open spaces perfect for picnics or leisurely strolls.


Chippewa Square holds a special place in popular culture, as it was the filming location for the famous park bench scenes in the movie “Forrest Gump.” The square’s charm and elegance, featuring moss-draped oak trees and beautifully manicured gardens, make it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.


Johnson Square, the oldest and most historically significant square, dates back to Savannah’s founding. With its monument honoring General Nathanael Greene, a Revolutionary War hero, and surrounding historic buildings, Johnson Square offers a glimpse into the city’s past and serves as a gathering point for events and festivals.


Walking through these squares feels like stepping back in time, with the lush greenery, historic architecture, and tranquil atmosphere creating a sense of timeless beauty. They provide a space for locals and visitors to relax, connect, and appreciate the charm of Savannah’s urban landscape.


Beyond their aesthetic appeal, the squares also serve as venues for concerts, festivals, and art exhibitions throughout the year. From music performances to art shows, these squares come alive with cultural events that showcase the city’s artistic spirit and vibrant community.


Whether you’re admiring the architecture, enjoying a picnic, or attending a lively event, the squares of Savannah offer a unique and captivating experience that encapsulates the essence of this historic city.


Architecture and Design

The architecture and design of Savannah’s buildings are a testament to the city’s rich history and diverse influences. As you walk along the streets, you’ll be captivated by the stunning array of architectural styles, ranging from Georgian and Federal to Victorian and Greek Revival.


One of the most distinctive features of Savannah’s architecture is its emphasis on preservation. The city is known for its commitment to maintaining and restoring historic buildings, ensuring that the unique character of the city is preserved for future generations.


Many of the historic homes in Savannah are characterized by their beautiful wrought-iron balconies, intricate moldings, and grand columns. The Owens-Thomas House, for example, showcases an exquisite blend of English Regency and American Federal styles, while the Mercer-Williams House reflects the Greek Revival architectural influence.


Notable architectural landmarks in Savannah include the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows, and the Telfair Academy, an elegant neoclassical mansion turned art museum.


The design of the city itself, with its grid layout and pristine squares, reflects the urban planning principles of the 18th century. This planned design allows for easy navigation and provides a sense of order and harmony throughout the city.


Another notable aspect of Savannah’s architecture is its adaptation to the climate. The city’s unique geographic location and subtropical climate have influenced the design of buildings, with features such as deep porches, shaded courtyards, and tall windows that promote natural ventilation and maximize comfort in the hot and humid weather.


Additionally, Savannah’s architecture often incorporates beautiful landscaping and gardens, further enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the city. Streets are lined with majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss, adding an enchanting and romantic ambiance to the already picturesque surroundings.


Overall, Savannah’s architecture and design showcase a harmonious blend of historical influences, preservation efforts, and adaptation to the natural environment. The city’s commitment to preserving its architectural heritage and embracing its unique character is evident in every corner, making Savannah a truly remarkable destination for architecture enthusiasts.


Shadows in Savannah

Shadows play a fascinating role in the allure of Savannah. As the sun casts its rays over the city, the interplay of light and shadow creates a captivating ambiance that adds depth and mystery to Savannah’s streets and historic buildings.


One of the most mesmerizing phenomena in Savannah is the presence of hauntingly beautiful moss-draped oak trees that cast long, intricate shadows across the city’s squares and avenues. These ancient trees, adorned with Spanish moss, create a unique atmosphere as their shadows shift and dance with the passing breeze.


As dusk settles over the city, the shadows bring a sense of enchantment to the historic district. The soft glow of street lamps and flickering candlelight in the evening adds to the allure, casting long shadows along the cobblestone streets and adding an air of intrigue and romance.


The shadows also have a way of highlighting the architectural details of Savannah’s historic buildings. As the sun moves across the sky, the intricate moldings, ornate balconies, and grand columns cast captivating silhouettes on the facades, accentuating the beauty of their design.


While the shadows enhance the visual appeal of the city, they also evoke a sense of history and mystery. Savannah is known for its rich ghostly folklore, and the shadows seem to breathe life into these stories, creating an atmosphere ripe for tales of haunted houses and restless spirits.


Walking through the shadows of Savannah’s historic district holds a certain allure, with every step revealing glimpses of history and adding an air of intrigue. From the flickering shadows in the dimly lit squares to the spectral silhouettes that appear to linger in the twilight, the city’s shadows stir the imagination and transport visitors to another time.


Artists, photographers, and writers are particularly drawn to these shadows, using them as inspiration for their creations. The interplay of light and dark, the contrast of shadows against the vibrant colors of Savannah’s architecture, and the ethereal quality they lend to the city’s atmosphere provide endless artistic possibilities.


Savannah’s shadows tell stories, add depth to the city’s charm, and invite visitors to explore the hidden corners and secrets that lie within. They are not just fleeting shades, but rather an integral part of the city’s character that enchant and captivate all who wander its streets.



Savannah, with its squares and shadows, is a city that exudes history, culture, and artistic allure. The meticulously planned squares, each with its own character and significance, provide not only scenic beauty but also serve as gathering places for the community. These green spaces, surrounded by stunning architecture, offer a serene setting to relax, reflect, and appreciate the city’s rich heritage.


The architecture and design of Savannah’s buildings showcase a beautiful blend of styles and a commitment to preservation. From the grand mansions to the ornate churches, the city’s structures offer a glimpse into its storied past and captivate visitors with their timeless beauty. The careful attention to detail, incorporation of natural elements, and adaptation to the climate contribute to the city’s harmonious aesthetic.


The shadows in Savannah add an extra layer of enchantment to the city’s streets and historic buildings. Whether it’s the cast of long shadows from moss-draped oak trees or the play of light and dark on the facades at dusk, these shadows create a mysterious ambiance that evokes a sense of history, storytelling, and artistic inspiration.


Together, the squares and shadows create an exceptional atmosphere that sets Savannah apart. The city’s commitment to preserving its unique character, embracing its past, and fostering a thriving arts and culture scene has made it a beloved destination for artists, history enthusiasts, and travelers seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.


So, as you wander through the moss-covered squares, stroll along the shadowy streets, and immerse yourself in Savannah’s history and artistic charm, take a moment to appreciate the significance of these elements. They are what make this city truly special, captivating the imagination and leaving a lasting impression that will stay with you long after you leave.