Historic Greene Square

Greene Square and Greene Ward were laid out along Houston Street and are one of three squares which bisect Houston. This is because Houston Street ends at Liberty Street and does not extend into the southern part of the city. The square is bisected by Houston Street and East State, East resident and East York Streets intersect the square.

Many of the post-Revolutionary War squares and streets, were named for war heroes or other patriotic subjects. Greene Square was named for Nathanael Greene, a New Englander who fought the English in the south during the Revolution. The new state of Georgia honored him by giving him Mulberry Plantation and he moved his family to Savannah, only to die soon afterward of heat stroke. He was survived by his wife, Catherine, a son George and two daughters, Martha and Cornelia.

Greene Square contains a home, located at 124 Houston Street, built by Isaiah Davenport, a prominent builder in Savannah in his day. Little of his work remains to be seen in historic Savannah. It is believed that the ravages of a series of fires in the city destroyed many of the houses that he built.

On and around Greene Square, however, are a number of other interesting and historically significant homes that are worth noting. 536 East State Street was built for John Dorsett in 1845. It had originally been located on Hull Street but was moved to this location in order to save it. The red color used when the home was restored was believed to be similar to the original red color that was often used on 18th century wood homes in Savannah.

The home located at 117 – 119 Houston Street is believed to be one of the early paired houses in the city. This building has an interesting history, in that it was used for a time as an orphanage for girls when their orphanage in Bethesda became unusable. They moved into the house in 1810, the year it was built and they resided there until 1838, when they moved into their new building on Bull Street in 1838.

The church located at 123 Houston Street was built in 1925 for the Second African Baptist Church. It replaced an earlier church structure which had been built in 1802, the year the church was formed by Andrew Bryan.

There is a rich history of free African-Americans in Savannah and one of the notable families of this time was the DeVeauxes, three generations of whom played a role in Savannah’s history. At a time when it was illegal, Jane DeVeauxes established a secret school to teach African-Americans to read and write. Later, the Colored Tribune newspaper was founded by Colonel John DeVeaux. This paper later became known as the Savannah Tribune. In the middle of these illustrious family members, came Catherine DeVeaux, who had a home built at 513 East York Street in 1853.

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