In 1733, Savannah’s founder, General James Edward Oglethorpe laid out the town in what is known as the ward system. The centerpiece of each ward included a square, designed to promote a sense of community within the ward and to serve as a site for military defense.
The first four wards were laid out to the south of Bay Street. From west to east, they are Decker and Derby wards and directly to the south are Heathcote and Percival. These wards were named for benefactors of the Colony and members of the Georgia Trustees – Sir Matthew Decker, member of Parliament and benefactor, the Earl of Derby, George Heathcote, and Lord Viscount Percival, the first President of Trustees.
Across town, our street names are significant to the historical development of Savannah. Once called “The Strand”, Bay Street is named for its location at the edge of the bluff. Broughton Street is named after Thomas Broughton of South Carolina who, with four others, gave two months of carpentry work to the new colony. Oglethorpe Avenue serves as the southern boundary of the first set of wards. It’s named after Savannah’s founder, General Oglethorpe. Jefferson Street is named after Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States of America. Whitaker Street is named after Benjamin Whitaker, Chief Justice of the Colony of Carolina. Last but not least, Drayton Street is said to be named after Thomas and Anne Drayton assisted with the formation of the new colony.
Because of our city’s rich history, we’ll be sharing more about each square over the next few months! Book your stay, right on Bay Street, today!