Ben Franklin’s Square

Found between West Bryan Street and West Congress Street, Franklin Square was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Not only was Franklin one of our nation’s founding fathers, but he was also Georgia’s colony agent in London from 1768-1775.

First African Baptist Church

On the west side of Franklin Square, is the First African Baptist Church, the oldest black Christian fellowship in the country.

The building was built by members, many of whom were slaves, from 1859-1861. The First African Baptist Church is said to be the first building constructed of brick in the State of Georgia owned by African Americans.

Inside, the beautiful stained glass windows depicting George Liele and other early church leaders were installed in 1885. The original lectern and pews are still in use. The original pews, found in the balcony, were made by enslaved Africans, and are nailed into the floors.

Ask our concierge for tour information!

Destruction and Reconstruction

Franklin Square was destroyed in 1935 when Montgomery Street became federal route 17. Then in the 1980’s the square and much of the surrounding area was restored to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Georgia.

Fun Fact: The City of Savannah’s water tower once stood in the center of the square for many years. This earned the square many nicknames like “Water Tower Square,” “Water Tank Square,” and “Reservoir Square.”

Haitian Monument

Today you will find the Haitian Monument in the middle of the square. The monument pays tribute to the Haitian soldiers who fought for American Independence during the Siege of Savannah in 1779.

James Mastin created the sculpture to portray the Freedom Fighters from Haiti. The largest unit being the brave “Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue.” The young drummer boy portrayed is a true historical figure. He is, then 12-year-old, Henri Christophe. He later became the commander of the Haitian struggle for independence and then King of Haiti.

Learn more about Franklin Square and its historic significance when you book your stay with us.

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