Wright Square, Savannah

The Gordon Monument in Savannah's Wright Square.

Wright Square is one of Savannah’s most appealing squares, both for its own charms and for the beauty and historic interest of its surrounding buildings. Located in the heart of downtown Savannah, the square is an ideal spot to take a break from shopping or sightseeing, in the shade of its mature live oaks.

Points of interest in Wright Square itself include the large monument to Wiliam Washington Gordon I, first president of the Central of Georgia Railroad, and a memorial to the Yamacraw leader Tomochichi, instrumental in the founding of the state of Georgia.

On the eastern side of Wright Square stands the beautiful Lutheran Church of the Ascension; another nearby sight is the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, a block south.

Several restaurants and cafés are located within a block or so of Wright Square, and there are also a variety of shops on and in the near vicinity of the square, with more shopping still to be found on Broughton Street, a block to its north.

See also:
More of Savannah’s must-see sights
More things to do
Free things to do
Where to eat and drink near Wright Square
Bull Street’s squares

Wright Square Things To Do

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

The main tourist attraction in the area around Wright Square is the birthplace of Girl Scouts of the USA founder Juliette Gordon Low. The birthplace is currently operated as a Girl Scout Center and historic house museum, open to the public most days of the week.

The imposing white and brown mansion (located two blocks south of Wright Square) is also known as the Wayne-Gordon House, after its former owners: James Wayne, a mayor of Savannah, and railroad magnate William Washington Gordon I. Gordon, Low’s grandfather, is himself commemorated by the monument in Wright Square.

More about the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and other historic house museums in Savannah

Lutheran Church of the Ascension

The Lutheran Church of the Ascension, on Wright Square’s northeast trust lot, is one of Savannah’s most beautiful historic churches. It was established by Salzburgers who traveled to the new colony as exiles from their native Austria in 1734.

Most of the Salzburgers moved away from Savannah soon after their arrival, founding the settlement of Ebenezer and then of New Ebenezer, when the first town proved to be at an unhealthy and unproductive spot.

Some settled in Savannah, however, building a house of worship for themselves in the city. The current church was built in 1875, on the site of a former building; the Lutherans had acquired this Wright Square trust lot over a century earlier.

Gordon Monument

Wright Square’s principal memorial is the Gordon Monument, one of the very few monuments in Savannah dedicated to a civilian, rather than a military figure.

William Washington Gordon (1796-1842), co-founder of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, later known as the Central of Georgia Railway, was a noted local politician and businessman. The Central had the memorial to Gordon constructed in Wright Square early in 1883.

William Washington Gordon and the history of the Gordon Monument

Tomochichi Memorial

The square’s other memorial is to Creek Chief Tomochichi (c1644-1739), friend and associate of James Oglethorpe and an important figure in the establishment of Savannah and the Colony of Georgia.

Tomochichi was the first person to be memorialized in Wright Square. He had lent considerable assistance to Oglethorpe and the British in the settlement of Savannah, and it was said to be his wish that he be buried within the confines of the city.

Accordingly, upon his death in 1739 Tomochichi was transported along the river to Savannah. He was laid to rest in Wright Square (still Percival Square at that time) in a ceremony attended by General Oglethorpe, the city magistrates and a sizeable crowd of the public. A pyramid of stones was placed to mark the spot.

Chief Tomochichi’s grave was lost at some unknown point over the ensuing decades. Women of the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames erected a replacement monument in his honor in the southeast corner of the square in 1899.

More about Tomochichi and the history of his memorial

Architecture & Historic Buildings

Most of the historic buildings around Wright Square date from the later 19th century, with many of its most significant edifices erected in the 1890s.

The old Chatham County Courthouse, a large yellow brick building in the Romanesque style popularized in Savannah by its designer William Gibbons Preston, was built from 1889. It occupies the entirety of Wright Square’s southeast trust lot.

Another Romanesque building is the striking four-story, red brick Schwarz Building, on the south of Wright Square (136-140 Bull Street). This commercial building was erected by John Schwarz in 1890. It was designed by Alfred S Eichberg, and later remodeled.

From the same period, but not in the same style, is the Tomochichi Federal Building and United States Courthouse spanning both blocks on the western side of the square. The courthouse, built on the same site as an earlier one, was built in the 1890s, and enlarged in 1932. It currently houses a bankruptcy court.

Its history began with plans to provide a new home for the Savannah post office. A building for this purpose was begun on the corner of York and Abercorn Streets, but construction was halted in 1889. Citizens decided that the building was too small and undistinguished for the purpose, and the city would do better to plan a far larger building that might serve other uses too.

They chose as its new site the lots on Wright Square once occupied by the courthouse from which John Wesley had preached in the late 1730s. The current courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and renamed to honor Tomochichi in 2005.

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