Political leader and South Carolina native John C. Calhoun was known for his fiery rhetoric and stalwart ideology. In addition to his time in congress, the politician served as Secretary of War and Secretary of State as well as Vice President in two different administrations. In 1851, Savannah dedicated a square in honor of Mr. Calhoun who died the previous year. Located on Abercorn Street between Gordon and Taylor Streets, the square is the only one in Savannah encompassed by all its original buildings.
The landmark is also known as Massie Square in recognition of the historic neighborhood school on Gordon Street. The structure was built in 1856 with funds bequeathed to the city by Peter Massie for the education of underprivileged children. Featuring a gabled roof, cupola and distinctive connecting passageways, the school holds the Georgia’s record for continuous operation. The wings were added to the Greek Revival style building in 1872 and 1886.
The Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, which was constructed in 1868, is located at 433 Abercorn Street. The building was named in honor of John Wesley who founded the Methodist religion and his brother Charles who penned the popular Christmas hymn “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Architects Dixon and Carson drew their inspiration for the Gothic Revival edifice from the Queen’s Kirk in Amsterdam. The house of worship has soaring spires, which stand 136 and 196 feet tall, and several memorial stained glass windows. The Wesley Window features busts of the Wesley brothers.
Several fine examples of George Ash homes border the square. The master builder constructed the elegant structure at 426 Abercorn that features a high stoop, marble steps and a wrought-iron camellia. Ash also built two Greek Revival style brick side hall homes on Taylor Street in the mid-1860s, which have corridors that run the length of the buildings. All of the rooms are on the same side of the corridor in the houses. The square is also home to other historic homes built in the mid- to late-19th century that are situated along Taylor, Gordon and Abercorn Streets.