The Savannah Historic District is a large urban historic U.S. district that roughly corresponds to the city limits of Savannah, Georgia, prior to the American Civil War. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1966 and is one of the largest districts of its kind in the United States. The district was built in recognition of the city's unique layout, begun by James Oglethorpe at the foundation of the city and spread over a century of its growth.
The plan for the historic portions of Savannah is based on the concept of the Ward as defined by James Oglethorpe. Each ward had a central square, with four trust lots and four tithings arranged around it. Each trust lot was to be used for a civic purpose, such as a school, a government building, a church, a museum, or other public space, while each was subdivided into ten lots for residential use. The wards were aligned in a rectlinear grid with a north-south and east-west alignment.
In the typical ward, the trust lots were set east and west of the square, and the residential lots were extended north and south of the trust lots and the square, each divided into two rows of five lots, separated by alleys. In the early years of the Province of Georgia, the ward organization was partly military, with the inhabitants of each ward organized into militia units and the central squares acting as a gathering place for refugees from outside the city walls.
The Savannah Historic District attracts millions of visitors every year, enjoying its 18th and 19th-century architecture and green spaces. The district includes the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, see Juliette Gordon Low Historic District), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the first public museums in the South), the First African Baptist Church (the oldest African American Baptist congregation in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third-oldest synagogue in the United States).
Other district buildings include the Isaiah Davenport House, the Green-Meldrim House, the Owens-Thomas House, the William Scarbrough House, the Sorrel-Weed House and the United States Custom House. Notable green spaces in the district include the 22 shaded squares of Savannah, the 30-acre Forsyth Park (on the southern edge of the district) and the Emmet Park (near the city's riverside).
The beautiful Savannah, Georgia features these must-see historical sites:
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