Monterey Square, centered on the Pulaski Monument, is said to be amongst Savannah’s most beautiful squares. It is certainly amongst its most popular. The fifth and final Bull Street square, Monterey Square was laid out in 1847, along with Chatham Square to its west.
Situated only two blocks north from Forsyth Park and on the path of the Bull Street promenade down to it, the square is also the location of the famous Mercer Williams House, setting of the shooting in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the synagogue of Congregation Mickve Israel, one of America’s oldest Jewish congregations.
The square is located near the center of Savannah’s Historic District, at the intersection of Bull and Wayne Streets. Monterey Ward is bounded by Jones, Whitaker, Drayton and Gaston Streets. See on map
North of Monterey along Bull Street is Madison Square, with its two historic house museums and church; south is Forsyth Park and its beautiful landmark fountain. Eastwards is Calhoun Square and the Massie Heritage Center, a museum of Savannah’s history. West is Savannah’s Downtown Design District, an area of independent boutique stores, and beyond it Chatham Square.
One of Savannah’s most famous historic houses lies to the west of Monterey Square. A highly distinctive red brick building, striking even to those unfamiliar with its history, the Mercer-Williams House occupies the entirety of the square’s southwestern trust lot.
Construction of the house, for Hugh Mercer, began in 1860, and was completed shortly after the Civil War. The house acquired its present fame more than a century later following its restoration by the antiques dealer and preservationist Jim Williams. Not, however, for its architecture or beauty, but as the scene of a notorious shooting, portrayed in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Tours of the house are available.
The Mickve Israel Synagogue on the eastern side of Monterey Square was constructed in the late 1870s. The congregation is the third oldest in the United States, begun by Jewish refugees shortly after the founding of the Georgia colony. The sanctuary and its small museum are open to the public.
Monterey Square was chosen as the site for the Pulaski Monument, erected in honor of the Polish Count Casimir Pulaski in 1853. Pulaski’s monument was designed by the Russian-American New York sculptor Robert E Launitz, and erected at a cost of $17,000.
Launitz himself selected the Monterey Square location. Chippewa Square, the other contender (the corner stone of the monument, in fact, had been laid here in 1825), he rejected on the grounds that the tall buildings overlooking that square would overshadow the memorial. The idea of placing the monument in the then largely unimproved Forsyth Park was rejected out of hand.
The streets around Monterey Square are home to some of Savannah’s best-known antiques stores. On the south of the square is Alex Raskin Antiques (441 Bull Street), located in the historic Noble-Hardee mansion. To the square’s northeast is V&J Duncan (12 East Taylor Street), selling antique books, plus prints and maps.
On Bull Street north of Monterey are two more stores, Arthur Smith Antiques (402 Bull Street) and George Davis Antiques and Interiors (408 Bull Street).
A selection of boutique stores can be found in Savannah’s Downtown Design District, a several-block stretch of independently-owned shops centered around Whitaker Street to the northwest of Monterey Square.
On-street parking is available on the streets near Monterey Square; if you can’t find a spot, there might be one available near adjacent Calhoun (east) or Chatham (west) Squares.
The nearest parking garage is the Liberty Parking Deck on Liberty Street near Bull, seven or so blocks north of Monterey Square. It is not city-owned, so parking passes cannot be used here. City-operated alternatives (a few blocks further away) are the Civic Center lot and Liberty Street garage, north and south, respectively, of Liberty Street near Jefferson.
Several stops on Savannah’s free downtown shuttle are reasonably close to Monterey Square. The first is at Liberty and Bull Streets, seven blocks north of Monterey (with Madison Square in between). The next stop is on Lafayette Square, a similar distance away. The final stop convenient for Monterey Square is on the east side of Forsyth Park, and probably offers the nicest walk, up through the park and then along two blocks of Bull Street.
Paid bus services to within a few blocks (again, none go directly to Monterey Square) are also available. Get public transport directions