franklin square, savannah

Franklin Square

DESCRIPTION

Why You Should Go

It was named for Benjamin Franklin, who served as Georgia’s agent in London from 1768 to 1775 in addition to his prominent role as one of the nation’s founding fathers. Established in 1790, Franklin square was home to Savannah’s water tower for many years, and this square was commonly referred to as “Water Tower Square,” “Water Tank Square,” and “Reservoir Square.” This square almost suffered the same fate as other Montgomery Street squares that were lost to development in the 1970’s, but was restored in the 1980s to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Georgia.

  • HAITIAN VOLUNTEERS MEMORIAL – At the center of the Square, a monument honors the Haitian Volunteers, a unit of 500 free black men from Haiti who fought in the failed attempt to drive the British from Savannah during the Revolutionary War. Witnesses credited the Haitians with saving the French and American soldiers by providing cover for their retreat.
  • THE FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH – Located on the west or far side of Franklin Square and was established by the oldest African American congregation in the United States. Built by the congregation, many of whom were slaves, between 1859 and 1861, the building is said to be the first building constructed of brick in Georgia and to be owned by African Americans. The church played an important part in Savannah’s history, providing a hiding place for runaway slaves traveling the Underground Railroad during the dark years leading to the Civil War, and playing a pivotal role as a center of activity during the Civil Rights Movement. The church still serves as an important place of worship today, and is the oldest continuously active African-American Church in North America. The church also houses a museum, which documents the church’s rich history, with documents and artifacts dating back to the 18th century.

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