Chippewa Square is one of Savannah's most popular Squares, for tourists and locals alike. On any given day you can site on one of the stone benches and watch hundreds of people walking by...half of them looking for the infamous Forrest Gump bench...which isn't in Chippewa Square by the way. The bus stop scene in Forrest Gump was filmed in Chippewa Square, but the bench never existed. It was a movie prop which now sites in a museum in Savannah.
Chippewa Square was laid out in 1815. The name Chippewa was used to honor the men who fought at the Battle of Chippewa, which was a battle in the war of 1812. In the middle of the Square is the monument to the founder of Savannah, James Edward Oglethorpe. It was Oglethorpe, way back in 1733 who first put boots on the soil on the bluff by the Savannah River. The city of Savannah and eventually the state of Georgia followed.
The James Oglethorpe Statue
In Chippewa Square stands General Oglethorpe, in all of his bronze glory. He has never looked better. Many people consider the General Oglethorpe statue one of the most beautiful states in Savannah.
This statue honors General James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah. While Mr. Oglethorpe may get the lion’s share of attention (get it? ha) on the monument, there are four interesting lions sculpted into the monument. Each lion is slightly different. When you’re in Chippewa Square next time, check out the four lions.
On the Oglethorpe Statue, on all four corners, are small sculptures of Lions holding shields. It is one of those touches that help make this a pretty awesome statue in Savannah. Many people walking through Chippewa Square take time to photograph the Oglethorpe Statue, but they usually do not take the time to spend an extra minute or two examining these lions, looking at the details.
The Savannah Theatre
The Savannah Theatre is the oldest continually running Theatre in the United States. Built all the way back in 1818 on Chippewa Square, the Savannah Theatre has entertained countless people it its almost 200 year history. Today, the large neon sign in front of the Savannah Theatre screams out for your attention but it hasn't always been that way. The exterior of the Savannah Theatre has changed many times over the years..often due to large fires.
The Savannah Theatre is still in operation today. With shows taking place throughout the year, there is a good chance there will be something to go and see at the Savannah Theatre while you are visiting Savannah. Read more about the Historic Savannah Theatre.
The Moses Eastman House
At 17 West McDonough Street sits the Moses Eastman House. Designed by Charles Clusky, the house was designed and built for John Stoddard in 1847 on Chippewa Square. The house was originally only two stories but a third story was added in the early 1900's. While checking out the house, which is easily distinguishable by its columns, check out the Iron Fence that surrounds the front of the house. On the fence you will find metal plates with the faces and names of significant men.
The First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church, on Chippewa Square, is the oldest house of worship in Savannah. Elias Carter was hired by the church to design and build the current structure. Built between 1831 and 1833, this Greek Revival building has undergone many renovations and expansions over the years. The First Baptist Church has a long and interesting history here in Savannah.
Gallery Espresso claims to be the oldest continually operating coffee shop in Savannah. Today Gallery Espresso is a great hangout place for artists, SCAD students and anyone else just looking to relax while enjoying one of Gallery's drinks. Whether you're looking for a unique tea blend, a glass of wine or a good ol' cup of joe, Gallery Espresso is a great place to pick it up if you're in the neighborhood of Chippewa Square.
While you are inside, check out the walls. You will find artwork from local artists and students. Much of this work is for sale. Gallery Espresso usually rotates new artwork in on a regular basis so stop back in on your next trip to Savannah.