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The streets, squares and parks of Savannah are home to a variety of monuments honoring people and events that influenced the history of the city. This brief list provides an introduction to some of the most popular and interesting historic monuments in Savannah.
Emmet Park Monuments
Inspired by the 101st Airborne Memorial located in the Arlington National Cemetery, the Chatham Artillery Monument was erected in 1986. A large, gray granite base supports a stunning bronze eagle with its wings spread. Rising approximately 11 feet, the memorial is a striking image among the other memorials in Emmet Park. Vietnam Veterans Memorial [SUB] Dedicated in 1991, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial features a reflecting pool bordered by steps and a marble base that lists the names of Chatham County soldiers killed during the war.
A bronze battlefield grave marker depicting an inverted M-16 rifle with a bayonet, helmet and combat boots rests atop a marble representation of Vietnam located in the center of the pool.
Erected in 1983, the 9-foot-tall Celtic Cross Monument celebrates the city’s rich Irish heritage. The beautiful limestone cross was hand-carved in County Roscommon, Ireland. An Irish sentiment is engraved on the base of the cross.
Dedicated on Labor Day 1994, the Salzburger Monument of Reconciliation was designed by Austrian artist Anton Thuswaldner. Donated by the state of Salzburg, the monument honors the Lutheran Protestants from that city who were denied religious freedom and exiles from their homeland. The refugees landed in America near the site of the monument in 1734. The story of their exile is chiseled into the monument, which is made of green serpentine stone from Austria’s Hohe Tauern region.
Forsyth Park Monuments
Unveiled in 1879, the Confederate War Memorial features a bronze statue of a Southern soldier in uniform facing toward the north atop a base made from Nova Scotia sandstone. Designed by Canadian David Reid, the base has a raised carving that depicts a grieving widow seated underneath a weeping willow tree being attended by four angels. The work of David Richards, the soldier replaced two original statues representing Silence and Judgment, which were not well received.
Savannah was a major embarkation port for troops headed to Cuba. Dedicated in 1931, the Spanish-American War Memorial features a soldier facing south atop a white granite base. While a plaque dedicating the memorial is affixed to the front, plaques on the remaining three sides list the names of Georgians who served in the war. The statue is a replica of “the Hiker” designed by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson.
On Oct. 9, 1779, a coalition of French, Haitian and American fighters attacked British troops occupying Savannah. Although the battle ended with Britain still in control of the city, more than 800 soldiers from both sides were either wounded or killed. Many of the fallen were buried on the spot without any grave markers. Serving as a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in the Battle of Savannah, the 10-acre Battlefield Park is located between the Georgia State Railroad Museum and the Savannah History Museum.
Gracing Chippewa Square, the 9-foot-tall bronze statue of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, was designed by Daniel Chester French. The acclaimed artist is renowned for his statue of Lincoln at Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial. Unveiled in 1910, the statue sits atop a granite base adorned by four lions and is inscribed with a portion of the charter establishing the English colony in America. The statue faces south symbolizing the Spanish threat to the new colony.
Standing in the southeast corner of Wright Square, a massive granite boulder with a bronze plaque honors Tomochichi, chief of the Yamacraw Indians. Tomochichi was a friend and ally of James Oglethorpe. The monument memorializes his life and the crucial assistance he provided to the early British settlers. Tomochichi was buried in Savannah among his English friends with full military honors.
Located on Bay Street, the Exchange Bell is a small replica of the City Exchange Bell Tower. The monument contains the fire bell created circa 1802 that was imported from Amsterdam. Originally hung in the City Exchange tower, the bell was manned every night because of the constant threat of fires.
Adorning Reynolds Square, the Wesley Monument by Marshall Daugherty honors John Wesley who is known as the “Father of Methodism.” Dedicated in 1969, the monument consists of a bronze statue of Wesley preaching to his followers atop a black marble base. Wesley lived in Savannah for two years. The site of the monument is believed to be the location of his former parish house.
Situated on Rousakis Waterfront Plaza, the African-American Monument was dedicated in 2002. The tribute honors the spiritual, social and cultural contributions that African-Americans have made to the city. The work of professor Dorothy Spradley of the Savannah College of Art and Design, the monument depicts a family embracing upon emancipation as chains representing slavery lie at their feet. The base of the monument features an inscription by the poet Maya Angelou.