Leading from City Hall down through five of the Historic District’s prettiest and most interesting squares to Forsyth Park and its fountain, Bull Street is one of Savannah’s most prominent promenades and thoroughfares.
Bull Street has been one of the most important streets in Savannah through most of its history. Because of this, many of the city’s most significant buildings – commercial, governmental and religious – and its largest and most beautiful historic homes were built along the street and around its squares. Many of Savannah’s monuments, too, are located in the Bull Street squares, again chosen for their importance and centrality.
Johnson Square is one of Savannah’s oldest squares, named in honor of the British-born Robert Johnson (Colonial Governor of the Province of South Carolina) in gratitude for the assistance he gave to James Oglethorpe and his associates in the settlement of Georgia.
Highlights of the square include the Greene Monument, erected in 1830 in memory of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, and Christ Church, an 1840s Greek Revival church that houses the oldest congregation in Savannah.
The second of the Bull Street squares, Wright Square was one of the original four laid out when Savannah was first settled. It is named for Georgia’s last Royal Governor, James Wright.
Points of interest in and around the square include the Tomochichi Memorial, honoring Chief Tomochichi, leader of the Yamacraw and ally of James Oglethorpe; the Gordon Monument, erected in memory of William Washington Gordon I, first president of the Central of Georgia Railroad; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension, established by refugees from the European city of Salzburg.
The third of the Bull Street squares and the city’s second largest, Chippewa Square was laid out in 1815, along with Orleans Square to its west. Both were named for battles fought in the War of 1812: the 1814 Battle of Chippawa (spelled differently to the name of the square), and the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.
Chippewa Square’s highlights include the Oglethorpe Monument commemorating Savannah and Georgia founder James Oglethorpe; the Savannah Theatre; First Baptist Church, which is the oldest surviving church building in Savannah; and the Independent Presbyterian Church.
The fourth of the Bull Street squares, Madison Square was laid out in 1837. It is named for the then-recently-deceased James Madison, fourth President of the United States.
Madison Square’s numerous highlights include the Green-Meldrim House, occupied by General Sherman during the Civil War; the adjacent 1850s St John’s Episcopal Church; the Jasper Monument, commemorating Revolutionary War hero William Jasper; and the reputedly-haunted Sorrel-Weed House.
The fifth and final Bull Street square, Monterey Square was laid out in 1847. Its name commemorates the 1846 Battle of Monterrey, fought during the then-ongoing Mexican-American War.
Points of interest in and around the square include the Pulaski Monument, dedicated to one of the nation’s favorite generals of the Revolutionary War, Polish-born Casimir Pulaski; the Mercer-Williams House, made famous by its appearance in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; and the historic Congregation Mickve Israel synagogue.