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Lafayette Square

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Take a leisurely stroll through Lafayette Square right before dusk to catch the ethereal glow of the setting sun against the historic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist; it's a little moment of magic that many visitors miss in their rush to dinner. For a serene experience, visit the square early in the morning when the city is just waking up, and you might get the beautiful fountain all to yourself, a rare treat in bustling Savannah."

What is Lafayette Square?

Lafayette Square is one of the charming public squares situated in the historic heart of Savannah, Georgia. Nestled amongst centuries-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss, this picturesque square is named after Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. This verdant space serves not only as a tranquil respite for locals and visitors alike but also as a gateway to exploring some of the richest architectural and cultural offerings in the city.

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Nestled within the layout of the original colony established by James Oglethorpe, Lafayette Square is surrounded by historic homes and ecclesiastical buildings, including the famous Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It provides a snapshot of the Southern Antebellum charm, blending the past and the present, and offers a great starting point for strolling down Savannah's storied cobblestone streets.

History of Lafayette Square

The history of Lafayette Square is deeply intertwined with the origins and development of Savannah itself. Established in 1837, and named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, the square commemorates the French hero's visit to the city in 1825. Lafayette was celebrated for his assistance during the Revolutionary War and, during his visit, spoke at the Chatham Artillery's armory facing the square, furthering his connection to this location.

Like its sister squares in Savannah, Lafayette Square was designed as part of the city's innovative town plan, now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The uniqueness of this plan with multiple squares aimed to provide communal spaces, military practice areas, and centers for business and social life, creating a well-organized and aesthetically pleasing city layout from its early years as a British colony.

Over the centuries, the square has witnessed many changes reflective of the broader narratives in Savannah's history, including periods of prosperity, decline, and rejuvenation. It has survived wars, fires, and the ever-shifting tides of urban development, standing today as a preserved emblem of Savannah's perseverance and dedication to heritage.

Why is Lafayette Square Important?

Lafayette Square is important for several reasons, foremost being its representation of Savannah's commitment to preserving public spaces and its historical past. These squares are central to the identity of the city and are an embodiment of the forward-thinking city planning of Oglethorpe's vision. Lafayette Square, in particular, serves as an accessible open-air history book, where people can experience the layers of Savannah's past in one place.

Its relevance extends to its social importance as a gathering place for celebrations, protests, and everyday life. It reinforces the community spirit of Savannah, hosting events ranging from weddings to historical reenactments. Furthermore, its location adjacent to significant architectural landmarks such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Hamilton-Turner House elevates Lafayette Square to being more than just a green space—it's a cultural and historical nexus.

Additionally, its namesake—Marquis de Lafayette—is a symbol of international cooperation and shared democratic values, and his storied legacy continues to inspire and educate those who visit. So, when you're walking the paths of Lafayette Square, you're truly walking through a vital piece of both local heritage and global history.

Things to Do & See at Lafayette Square

When you're in Lafayette Square, you're stepping into a space that's ripe with activities and sights. The most prominent feature here is the stunning Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a Gothic-Revival masterpiece that dominates the skyline with its spires and impressive facade. Take some time to appreciate the intricate details inside, such as the beautiful stained glass windows and the soaring ceilings.

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Adjacent to the square, you can explore the Andrew Low House, once home to Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts USA. History buffs can appreciate how well-preserved this house museum is and marvel at the original furnishings and artifacts from the 19th century. Peek into the past lifestyle of one of Savannah's prominent historical figures, and get inspired by the stories of how she shaped the girlhood of America.

As for experiences, Lafayette Square offers a serene environment for picnics under the shady canopies of live oaks. Enjoy watching the play of light through the Spanish moss, sit by the fountain centerpiece for contemplation or people-watching, or simply wander along the walkways to soak in the peaceful atmosphere. During certain times of the year, you may stumble upon art shows, live music, or community gatherings, transforming the square into a vibrant hub of local culture.

Frequently asked questions

What is Lafayette Square in Savannah?

Lafayette Square is one of Savannah's charming public squares, known for its historical significance and tranquil beauty. It's a popular spot for relaxation and is surrounded by historical architecture and landmarks.

What are the main attractions in Lafayette Square?

The main attractions in Lafayette Square include the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Andrew Low House, and the Hamilton-Turner Inn. The square also features a fountain and is a common gathering place for tours and events.

Can I take guided tours around Lafayette Square?

Yes, there are several guided tours available that include Lafayette Square as a key point of interest. These tours often explore the historical and cultural aspects of the square and surrounding neighborhood.

Are there any events held at Lafayette Square?

Yes, Lafayette Square hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including festivals, outdoor concerts, and community gatherings. The schedule for such events varies, so it's best to check local listings for upcoming activities.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Lafayette Square?

No, Lafayette Square is a public space and is open to everyone free of charge. Visitors can enjoy the square's amenities during its open hours.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps