telfair square history, savannah

Telfair Square


Why You Should Go

Organized in 1733, the last square whose construction was completed under Oglethorpe’s supervision before he returned to England for a visit. Originally called St. James Square, the name was changed in 1883 to commemorate the significant contributions and achievements of the Telfair family. Many members of the Telfair family are remembered for their historic accomplishments. One that stands out is Edward Telfair, who eventually became Governor of Georgia.

  • JEPSEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS – This is a must see for anyone visiting Savannah and a great spot for families. The Center, which opened in 2006, is home to a vast contemporary art gallery, as well as a large auditorium, studio space, and the 3,500 square foot ArtZeum. An interactive galley for children and families, the ArtZeum features more than twenty different activities designed to challenge common perceptions about art.
  • TRINITY METHODIST CHURCH – It was built in 1848 and is the oldest Methodist church in Savannah. John Wesley established the Wesley Church, considered to be Trinity’s predecessor, in 1812. John Wesley and his brother lived briefly in Savannah, and John Wesley is considered to be the founder of the Methodist Church. A fine example of Greek Revival architecture was designed by John B. Hogg of Savannah. Hogg later designed the First Bryan Baptist Church in 1873.
  • TELFAIR MUSEUM – The impact of the Telfair family on Savannah is not limited to the square that bears their name. As the influence of the family grew, so did their accumulated wealth, which eventually was left to Mary Telfair. The family’s last descendent, Mary Telfair is remembered for her unmatched generosity. Perhaps one of her most notable contributions was the gift of the home at 121 Barnard Street for the purpose of establishing a museum. Established in 1886, The Telfair Museum is the oldest art museum in the South. This classical mansion was designed in the English Regency style designed by architect William Jay. Originally built in 1819, a sculpture gallery and rotunda were added in 1883. Today, the museum is known not only as a house museum with impressive antiques and architecture to display but also for its sizeable collection of impressionist paintings.
  • FEDERAL BUILDINGS – Two large federal government buildings with unusual tiled exteriors dominate the east side of the square. Locals, who resent the loss of the historic buildings which once occupied the area, have dubbed them “the bathroom buildings.” These more modern structures stand in stark contrast to the elaborate Regency style Telfair Museum and the Greek revival architecture of Trinity Methodist Church which can be found on this square. Telfair Square is host to some of Savannah’s most attended attractions, so be sure take your time exploring the area.

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