The Historic District of Savannah is considered the heart of the city and corresponds to the area that defined Savannah prior to the American Civil War. It’s the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States, attracting millions of visitors on an annual basis.
Savannah’s Historic District encompasses more than 20 city squares laid out in a distinctive grid pattern. General James E. Oglethorpe, founder of the British Colony of Georgia, laid out the original plan back in 1733. Today, much of the original plan remains visible through its divisions, also called wards, squares and trustee lots.
The Historic District showcases 18th and 19th century architecture styles like Georgian, Gothic and Greek Revival, and is home to a number of important buildings and complexes. Here, visitors will find museums, churches, mansions, famous forts and monuments dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil War periods. It’s also the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
Some of the notable buildings in the Savannah Historic District include the Owen-Thomas House (Oglethorpe Square) built in 1818, the Beaux-Arts-style Edmund Molyneux Mansion (Bull Street) circa 1917, the Spencer Woodbridge House (Habersham Street) built in 1795 and the 1853 Gothic Revival Green House (Madison Square).
The African American community recognizes several important historical buildings as well, including Beach Institute on East Harris Street. Beach Institute was built in 1865 as the city’s first black school, and King-Tisdell Cottage was the 1896 home of a working-class African American family.
The boundaries of the Savannah Historic District are the Savannah River, E. Broad Street, Gwinnett Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. The Savannah Visitor Center is located in the restored Central of Georgia railroad station located at 301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, and weekends from 8am until 5pm.