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Greene Square Neighborhood

SAVANNAH, Georgia — Savannah affords so many ways to slow down and appreciate a tad of gentility — but not to the extreme — stress free!

Together for some urban exploring and comforts in the Landmark Savannah Historic District’s village-like setting. Green Palm Inn and Greene Square add unpretentious, late 18th- and 19th Century charm for a stress-free vacation in Savannah. Don’t forget the character-rich stories!

“As one walks from square to square, passing each building, discovering a  different nuance of detailing, from the eaves to the railings and stairs, the visual-architectural experience can be as overwhelming to the eye as a symphony is to the ear.” – Eric Meyerhoff, Architect

Established in 1799, Greene Square was named to honor American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene,  second in command to General George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. The square is on Houston Street, between three convening streets — York Street, State Street (originally named “Prince Street”), and President Street (originally named “King Street” prior to the American Revolutionary War).

Ask us about a self-catering State Street Cottage, a 3-bedroom Savannah vacation rental that Green Palm Inn manages.

Like most of Savannah’s parks & squares in the Landmark Historic District, Greene Square can be rented from the City of Savannah for private functions, such as weddings and parties. For more information, City Square rental.

“In such green palaces the first kings reign’d, Slept in their shades, and angels entertain’d; With such old counsellors they did advise, And by frequenting sacred groves grew wise.” ~ Edmund Waller

More About Greene Square

Gen. Greene Savannah Squares On Greene Sq.

Major General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786). Among America’s Revolutionary officers, Major General Nathanael Greene was Chief of Staff and second only to George Washington. Together, they shared the distinction of being the only Continental generals that served throughout the entire War of American Independence.

In 1780 Washington gave Greene the arduous task of leading the feeble Revolutionary army of the South (1780-1783). In 1782 Greene came to the defense of Savannah when he sent General “Mad” Anthony Wayne to successfully push the British out of Savannah and into Charleston, thus ending British occupation of Georgia. By the time British General Cornwallis headed into Yorktown, General Greene had reclaimed Georgia , South and North Carolina.

Greene had willingly given much of his personal wealth to help support the war, even sacrificing his Rhode Island (Potowhommet, Warwick, Rhode Island ) home. To thank him for his service during the war, the Georgia government gave Greene a plantation named Mulberry Grove, outside Savannah in Chatham County near Interstate 95. He lived on the Mulberry Grove estate for less than a year, troubled by insecure finances; because his moral convictions barred the use of slave labor, the plantation did not become profitable. Greene died unexpectedly of sunstroke June 19, 1786, at the age of forty-four.

After Greene’s death, a young Yale University graduate, Eli Whitney, came to Savannah to take a tutoring job. Whitney began working for the brave General Greene’s widow, Catharine Littlefield “Caty” Greene, and it was at Mulberry Grove that Whitney invented the cotton gin, the machine that revolutionized the production of cotton.

Greene’s remains and those of his son, George Washington Greene, lie beneath a fifty-foot tall marble obelisk monument in Johnson Square in Savannah. Greene’s funeral was a Christ Church on Johnson Square. The obelisk, designed by William Strickland, was completed in 1830.  On 21 March 1825, the cornerstone was laid by the Marquis de Lafayette. Photo link and to learn more about Nathanael Greene, click here.

Situated near the Bethesda Gate entrance to colonial Savannah, Greene Square, too, is paired appropriately with our cozy Savannah GA bed and breakfast to offer artful, old world charm in “The County of Savannah“.

As Miss Harty said to John Berendt in Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil, “the thing I like best about the squares is that cars can’t cut through the middle; they must go around them.  So traffic is obliged to flow at a very leisurely pace.  The squares are our little oases of tranquility.” – Source: Project for Public Places, Squares of Savannah by Thomas Erwin

Savannah’s neatly patterned landscape was carved out of Georgia’s coastal forest in the 1700s.

  • The world-famous Landmark Savannah Historic District is organized around a checkerboard of small public squares, 22 in all.
  • Our own Greene Square is one of the 22 Savannah’s parks & squares, called Savannah’s “Crown Jewels”.
  • Green Square can be rented at a modest rate for private functions, such as weddings and parties.
  • Greene Square is where one can soak up a tad of history. Established in 1799 on the east side of the historic district, Greene Square was named to honor Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, the second in command to General George Washington.

INTIMATE PLACES: SAVANNAH’S WORLD-FAMOUS  PATTERN OF PARK “SQUARES”

What has survived from Savannah’s founding may be its most famous design feature: the pattern of “squares,” small commons at even intervals throughout the old part of town.  The squares were part of an urban design promulgated by Oglethorpe himself.  Each square was the center of a “ward,” intended to be as self-sufficient as possible.  A ward was divided into four “tythings,” each consisting of 10 house lots.  The four lots facing the east and west ends of each square were designated “trust lots,” and reserved for public buildings. Source: SAVANNAH by Dr. Thomas Howard, Armstrong Atlantic State University

1. 124 Houston Street (1815). A clapboard house built in 1815 for and/or by Isaiah Davenport, a builder, who came to Savannah from Rhode Island. Another Isaiah Davenport home is now a house museum on Columbia Square.

2. 536 East State Street (1845) A red frame house built for John Dorsett.  Featured as one of Savannah “tiny” houses and painted in the red color often used on 18th Century wood homes in Savannah. It had originally been located on Hull Street but was moved to this location in order to save it.

3. 521 East York Street. On the Southeast corner of Greene Square, Savannah Gray Bricks were used in construction.  A sign on the home notes that the bricks were made at the Hermitage Plantation on the Savannah River.

4. 117 – 119 Houston Street. At the corner of Houston and State streets is the Cunningham House (ca. 1810) built for Henry Cunningham (1759-1842) born a free man in McIntosh County, Georgia in 1759.  This free man of color who engaged in the trade of coopering [barrel making]. He served as pastor of Second African Baptist on Greene Square for 40 years (1802-1842).  First named “Second Colored Church”, the original one-story church was built in an affluent white neighborhood. Henry’s wife, Elizabeth “Betsy”, a mulatto, was a successful seamstress. This home is one of several little-known Savannah dwellings that remind us of African-American life in the 19th century in Savannah, Georgia USA.  Source: Armstrong Atlantic State University, Lane Library | Interesting note: As of March 22, 1833 there were “ten thousand negro Baptists”.  Source: Documenting the American South.

5. Second African Baptist Church (1802). Located on the west Trust Lot of Greene Square. At this church site with Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Major-Gen. William Sherman announced the famous “Forty Acres and a Mule” to the newly freedmen. The occasion followed the surrender of Savannah in December 1864, during the Union Army’s Civil War and Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea”. On January 12, 1865 when black ministers  met with Stanton & Sherman this was reported: “John Cox, aged fifty-eight years, born in Savannah; slave until 1849, when he bought his freedom for $1,100. Pastor of the 2d African Baptist Church. In the ministry fifteen years. Congregation 1,222 persons. Church property worth $10,000, belonging to the congregation.”

At Second African Baptist Church on Greene Square –  – Major General William Tecumseh Sherman announced his Special Field Orders, No. 15 on January 16, 1865. It provided for ”40 acres and a mule” to newly freed slaves.

It was at this modest African church that Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached an early version of his historic “I Have A Dream” sermon prior to the March on Washington DC (1963).  Just off U.S. Highway 17 in Midway, Georgia, Dr. King and other civil rights workers convened regularly during the early 1960s at Dorchester Academy. At that center – built as school for freed slaves (1870) – Dr. King and his instructors trained thousands of teachers and students in voter education and non-violent social change leading to civil rights.

6. 502-512 East State Street were built in 1890.

7. 542 East State Street is the home built for free blacks Charlotte and William Wall (ca. 1818).

8. 117 – 119 Houston Street (ca 1810) is believed to be one of the early paired houses in the city, later used as the Savannah Female Orphan Asylum.

9. 513 East York Street, is a little two-story cottage built in 1853 for the estate of Catherine DeVeaux, a decendant of Jane DeVeauxes.  Jane Deveauxes who was sent to the North for an education, but returned to establish a secret school from her home at St. Julian and Price streets from 1847 until after the Civil War. Along with another teacher of African students, Mary Beasley, Jane DeVeauxes was a member of Second African Baptist Church on Greene Square. Jane Deveaux’s school is generally regarded as having been the longest lived, approaching 30
years, and was in existence when General Sherman arrived in late 1864.

10. 548 East President Street (1897).  Green Palm Inn, built as two seamen’s cottage (a duplex or mirrored townhomes), is now one of Savannah’s top-rated historic breakfast inns.