Reynolds Square

In 1734, Reynolds Ward and Reynolds Square were both laid out along Abercorn Street. Both were named for the first colonial governor of Georgia, John Reynolds. This is interesting to note, as Reynolds was actually the least popular among all of the colonial governors. Reynolds had landed in the city in 1754 after the colony had been turned over to the Crown by the Trustees. Following the establishment of the square, it became the heart of all colonial government activities. Originally, the square was home to the House of Assembly and was the site where the Declaration of Independence was first read in Georgia.

In the years since its establishment, Reynolds Square has continued to be an important part of Georgia history. In fact, some of the most historically significant buildings in Savannah are situated in this square. For instance, the local silk making Filature was once located in the square. At the time, it was thought that it was possible to cultivate silk worms in Georgia and produce fine silk in an effort to replace the expensive fabrics that were imported from overseas. Unfortunately, the experiment finally failed as it was found that the silkworm cocoons were not able to mature properly, a fact that was likely due to the humid climate in Georgia. The Filature was later converted into a meetinghouse and later housed a city hall until 1845. In 1791, a dance was given at the hall in honor of George Washington.

While that building did not survive, two notable homes in the square did survive until modern times. One of those homes is the Pink House/Habersham House. The house was constructed during the 18th century at 23 Abercorn Street. The home was built by James Habersham, Jr. in the Georgian Style of the time. Over the course of time, the home was owned by a number of notable families and was even the home of a couple of banks. During this time, a wide array of architectural and decorative changes was made to the home. A wing was even added during the 1870s. The home was slated for demolition by the 1930s, but it was ultimately saved when Alida Harper opted to open a tea room in the home. Today, the home is the site of a restaurant.

The Oliver-Sturgis house was finished in 1813 at 27 Abercorn Street by Oliver Sturgis. Today, the home is considered one of the most architecturally significant homes in Savannah. Also located on Reynolds Square is the Leroy Myers Cigar building and Lucas Theater. The theater was actually constructed for Colonel Arthur Lucas, a native of Savannah, and was originally intended to serve as a venue for vaudeville shows and silent films. It was later refitted to host the showing of ‘talkies.’ The theater served in this capacity until 1976, when plans were underway to demolish it until it was saved by a partnership that restored and modernized the theater. Today, the theater is considered one of the most romantic in the city. The Leroy Myers Cigar building, constructed by Henrik Wallin, was constructed with Mediterranean inspiration and featured a tower, overhanging eaves, and arches. Today, the building houses the administrative offices for the Christ Church. Visitors to the square today will also find a statue dedicated to the memory of Reverent John Wesley, who was one of the first rectors of the Christ Church in Savannah and is known as the founder of Methodism.