Growing up in Savannah introduced me to the beauty of the small parks. Later, at college, I enjoyed the study of urban planning. James Oglethorpe played a crucial role in the development of Savannah, a city known for its unique layout and beautiful squares, however, Oglethorpe's work was not done in isolation. He collaborated with Tomo-Chi-Chi, a Native American chief, to create a city that would not only be aesthetically pleasing but also foster a sense of community. Visiting Tomo-Chi-Chi's grave marker was always on the agenda when walking around downtown Savannah.
How did Oglethorpe and Tomo-Chi-Chi shape Savannah's urban planning?
Oglethorpe believed in the importance of green spaces and parks in a city. He envisioned a city that would prioritize the well-being of its residents, and he worked closely with Tomo-Chi-Chi to achieve this goal. Together, they designed Savannah around squares, each with its own park and garden. These squares became the heart of the city, providing residents with a place to relax, socialize, and connect with nature.
What was the significance of these squares?
The squares in Savannah served multiple purposes. They not only added beauty to the city but also provided practical benefits. The squares acted as buffers between the residential and commercial areas, creating a sense of separation and tranquility. They also served as gathering places for the community, hosting events, markets, and celebrations.
Moreover, these squares played a crucial role in the city's resilience. During the yellow fever epidemics in the 19th century, the squares were used as makeshift hospitals and burial grounds. They became a symbol of strength and unity in times of crisis.
Preserving Savannah's history: The Colonial Dames & DAR
Savannah's rich history is not only evident in its urban planning but also in the efforts of organizations like the Colonial Dames and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). These organizations have dedicated themselves to preserving American history, including the historical buildings and landmarks in Savannah.
The Parisian influence on Forsyth Park
One of the most iconic features of Savannah is the fountain at Forsyth Park. This beautiful fountain was actually inspired by a visit to Paris by Savannah residents. Impressed by the fountains they saw in the French capital, they decided to bring a taste of Paris to their own city. The fountain has since become a beloved symbol of Savannah's charm and elegance.
From its early urban planning to its preservation efforts and contributions, Savannah's history is a testament to the vision and dedication of its residents. The city continues to thrive, attracting visitors from around the world who are captivated by its unique charm and rich heritage.