Open daily. Free admission. Leashed pets welcome.
Small but historic Emmet Park, in the northeast of Savannah’s Historic District, is a pretty, shaded spot ideally positioned for a rest stop or casual picnic whilst sightseeing or shopping along adjacent River Street or Bay Street.
Emmet Park has historically been a center of Savannah’s Irish-heritage community. Irish laborers – many of them working on the docks and wharves along River Street – often lived in the wards south of the park. Together with their families, they used the space – a continuation of the narrow green that runs along most of Bay Street – for recreation from around the mid-19th century.
In its early years usually known as “Irish Green” the park was formally dedicated and named for the Irish nationalist Robert Emmet (1778-1803) in 1902.
Today, Emmet Park is a repository of several of Savannah’s historic relics and memorials to soldiers and military organizations from the city’s first settlement through to the present day.
There are several other interesting sights near Emmet Park: the old Cotton Exchange building and Griffon Fountain on Bay Street opposite Drayton Street; Factors’ Walk, where bridges join Bay Street to the warehouses of River Street; the Florence Martus (“Waving Girl”) statue in Morrell Park, just north of Emmet Park on River Street; and the quiet and peaceful eastern squares south of East Bay Street.
Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial The Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial is Emmet Park’s largest monument. A reflecting pool with a marble stone in its center showing a map of Vietnam, the memorial commemorates the Chatham County soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. It was dedicated in 1991.
Korean War Memorial This memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 182 soldiers from D Company, 10th Infantry Battalion Marine Reserve unit who served in the Korean War. The memorial was erected in 2006.
Hussars’ Memorial A mounted iron cannon preserved since the Siege of Savannah commemorates the Georgia Hussars, a military organization founded in 1736 to protect the early Colony of Georgia.
Celtic Cross This memorial, sculpted in Ireland, was placed in Emmet Park in 1983 in honor of Georgia’s people of Irish descent.
Chatham Artillery Monument This memorial, dedicated in 1986, commemorates the Chatham Artillery, one of the country’s oldest standing militia units.
The Artillery was founded in 1785 (it was first known as the Savannah Artillery), composed of men who had fought in the Revolutionary War. The company was deployed in the marshes around Savannah, defending the city from enemy attacks; in subsequent wars against the British and the Seminoles; and later in the Civil War.
Old Harbor Light This light at the easternmost end of the park was placed in the mid 19th century as a rear range light, a navigational aid to ships entering Savannah’s Harbor.
City Exchange Bell A replica bell tower, unveiled in 1957, houses this two-centuries-old bell, which once hung in the tower of the City Exchange Building, where City Hall now stands. The bell rang out the end of business hours each day. It also provided notice of fires, meetings and important visits.
In the early 20th century, the City Exchange was replaced with a new City Hall (the current building) and the bell was taken down. It hung in the bell tower of the Rourke Iron Works until 1940, the tower destroyed in that year by a hurricane.