The only remaining square of the original 24 squares with a partial fence around its borders, Crawford Square was laid out in 1841 and named after William H. Crawford. During the 1830s and 40s, deep water cisterns were built in many of the city’s squares to aid in fighting fires and Crawford Square still contains part of its original cistern.
Amid the Jim Crow era, Crawford Square was the only square to allow African-Americans passage through its grounds and an area for African-American children to play.
William H. Crawford was a notable Georgia politician who served as Judge, State Governor, Senator, Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Treasury under President Madison. As if that laundry list of credentials wasn’t enough, he was also appointed Minister to France and is believed to be the only foreign politician with any leverage over Napoleon. A member of the Democratic-Republican party and significant ally to Senator James Jackson, he ran in the 1824 election against Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, ultimately the House selected Adams.
There are several notable buildings located near Crawford Square and its ward; the Colonial Park Cemetery, former county jail, police department, and police barracks are all residing in historic buildings from the mid to late nineteenth century. Row and townhouses of the same time period are common along the streets near the square, especially Habersham and Liberty Streets.
Habersham Hall is a three-story, 42,884 square foot Moorish Revival style building located at 235 Habersham Street. Once established as the Chatham County Jail, this historic structure and its unique onion-shaped dome were originally built in 1887 by the McDonald brothers. Habersham Hall is now the home of Savannah College of Art and Design’s Athletics Department.
Crawford Square today prides itself in providing a small park-like atmosphere with a basketball court and a gazebo.