Lafayette Square is home to a variety of unique and beautiful buildings dating back far into the history of Savannah and the United States. The square was laid out in 1873 and named to honor the Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The square itself is one of the most accessible and centrally located portions of the city. It’s less than five minutes’ walk from many of the city’s best attractions and is a beautiful, relaxing spot to spend an hour reading or breathing in the beauty of spring.
The first thing you’ll see – the crown jewel of the square, you could say – is the Semiquincentenary Fountain that the Colonial Dames of America presented to the city in commemoration of the city’s 250th anniversary. The fountain is located in the center of the square where all can enjoy its flow and beauty.
Next, you’ll notice the twin steeples of the ornate Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The church is o the northeast corner of the square, east of Abercorn and Harris streets. The church was constructed between 1872 and 1876, but only two decades later, a fire destroyed the entire church, save the spires and outside walls. The church restoration began the next year and was completed one year later.
Make sure to look out for the Hamilton-Turner House during your time at the park. The house was built for the successful businessman, Samuel Pugh Hamilton, in 1873. A decade later, the mansion became the first residence in the city to have electricity. The house has been turned into a bed and breakfast. Two other houses of significance in the area are those of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the house of author Flannery O’Connor. Both are now museums that you may visit and learn more about these widely-known women of Savannah.
(Cover image by Jeff Gunn, via flickr.com)