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The five squares along Bull Street—Monterey, Madison, Chippewa, Wright, and Johnson—were intended to be grand monument spaces and have been called Savannah's "Crown Jewels." Many of the other squares were designed more simply as commons or parks, although most serve as memorials as well.
Architect John Massengale has called Savannah's city plan "the most intelligent grid in America, perhaps the world", and Edmund Bacon wrote that "it remains as one of the finest diagrams for city organization and growth in existence." The American Society of Civil Engineers has honored Oglethorpe's plan for Savannah as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and in 1994 the plan was nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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(Two points on this grid were occupied by Colonial Park Cemetery, established in 1750, and four others—in the southern corners of the downtown area—were never developed with squares.) When the city began to expand south of Gaston Street, the grid of squares was abandoned and Forsyth Park was allowed to serve as a single, centralized park for that area.
All of the squares measure approximately 200 feet (61 m) from east to west, but they vary north to south from approximately 100 to 300 feet (91 m).
In addition to the first four squares—Johnson, Wright, St.
James (Telfair) and Ellis—this map also shows the later-constructed Reynolds and Oglethorpe Squares.
James (now Telfair) Squares, and themselves formed a larger square on the bluff overlooking the Savannah River.
The original plan actually called for six squares, and as the city grew the grid of wards and squares was extended so that 33 squares were eventually created on a five-by-two-hundred grid.The layout of a square and eight surrounding blocks was known as a "ward." The original plan (now known as the Oglethorpe Plan) was part of a larger regional plan that included gardens, farms, and "out-lying villages." While some authorities believe that the original plan allowed for growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid, the regional plan suggests otherwise: the ratio of town lots to country lots was in balance and growth of the urban grid would have destroyed that balance.Oglethorpe's agrarian balance was abandoned after the Georgia Trustee period.A square was established for each ward of the new city.The first four were Johnson, Percival (now Wright), Ellis, and St.Additional squares were added during the late-18th and 19th centuries, and by 1851 there were 24 squares in the city.