columbia square, savannah

Columbia Square


Why You Should Go

This square dates back to the heady days following the Revolutionary War. Laid out on Habersham Street in 1799, this square and many streets around it were given names that reflect the patriotic fervor of the time. Sadly, like many areas on the east side, Columbia Square had fallen into disrepair, and by the 1950’s many of the homes in the area were at risk for demolition. It is here that Savannah’s preservationist movement began, and the effects of this important work can be seen all around the square.
  • KEHOE HOUSE – (West side of square) In addition to the square itself, the Historic Savannah Foundation has saved and restored many other important buildings, some of which are available for tours. The Kehoe House is truly a masterpiece of ironwork. Built in 1892 by William Kehoe, in 1892 the Kehoe House was an advertisement of sorts. Mr. Kehoe was a master ironworker and owner of the local foundry. He was often heard to boast “If you can build it in wood, then I can build it in iron.” All of the home’s fine detail work is actually made of cast iron. The house was built to accommodate Kehoe’s large family. It is said he had ten children, not including stillbirths or children who died in their infancy. After years as a private residence, the building served as a funeral home, and is now one of the city’s finest bed and breakfast establishments. The Kehoe House is yet another Savannah home that is rumored to be haunted by early inhabitants. The story most frequently told is of the young Kehoe twins who died while playing and somehow becoming trapped in a chimney. All of the home’s fireplaces were blocked, and decorated with angels as a memorial. Several people have reported playful encounters with the spirits of the children.
  • FOUNTAIN – The stately fountain that now occupies the center of the square is a reminder of how much work has gone into rehabilitating this area of the city. At one time the fountain graced the entrance to a large plantation outside the city limits. It was moved as a part of the work to revitalize the square in the 1970’s.
  • THE DAVENPORT HOUSE – (Northwest of square) This house was the first project of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which was founded by seven prominent Savannah ladies who were determined to save the home from the wrecking ball. Built in 1820 by master builder Isaiah Davenport, the home served as a showcase for the exquisite craftsmanship of Mr. Davenport and his crew. Sadly, Mr. Davenport was only to enjoy the home for seven years, until he succumbed to the Yellow Fever Epidemic that swept through Savannah in 1827.
Following Mr. Davenport’s death, his wife Sarah rented out rooms to boarders and it remained a boarding house for years after she sold the property. By the 1950’s the house had become a tenement, and plans were made to demolish the building. Due to the dedication and resolve of the Historic Savannah Foundation, the home was saved, restored, and ultimately turned into a museum. It remains a museum today, and a second restoration effort in 2003 has fully returned the home to its original splendor.

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