Historic District

Georgia was established as a utopian experiment by General James Oglethorpe, with Savannah as its original and oldest city.

Georgia's sage founder guaranteed each male citizen a lot with a 24-by-16-foot frame house, a five-acre garden lot outside of town, and a 45-acre farm lot past the garden lots. Each ward had home lots on the north and south sides and trust lots on the east and west sides for churches or other public buildings and an open green space in the center where each ward’s militia could muster. Originally there were four squares—Johnson, Wright (then called Percival), Ellis, and Telfair (then called St. James)—and there have been as many as twenty-four, but several were lost to development over the years. While some of those have been restored, 22 squares still exist today. The unique Oglethorpe Plan ensured that Savannah's Historic District is the earliest example of urban planning in America; it's also a National Historic Landmark.

Savannah’s Historic District is neatly hemmed in by the Savannah River, Gaston Street, East Broad Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Streets are arrow-straight, and public squares are tucked into the grid at precise intervals. Bull Street, anchored on the north by City Hall and the south by Forsyth Park, charges down the center of the grid and maneuvers around the five public squares that stand in its way. The squares provide shaded, quiet spots to enjoy public art or a picnic lunch, and also serve to slow traffic.

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