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15 Minutes Away on Foot: Chippewa Square

October 17, 2011

This week, we highlight Chippewa Square, constructed in 1815 and is named in honor of the American soldiers killed in the Battle of Chippawa (yes, there is a spelling discrepancy in the name of the square). Like many of Savannah’s squares, the statue in the center of the square commemorates someone other than the soldiers – in this case, the statue, constructed in 1910, features the likeness of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah. Oglethorpe’s statue faces south, addressing the one-time enemy of Spanish Florida, with his sword drawn.

When the statue of Oglethorpe was placed in the square, the busts of Francis Stebbins Bartow and Lafayette McLaws, both prominent figures within the Confederate army, were moved to Forsyth Park. The busts now stand near the Confederate War Memorial in the center of Forsyth Park.

Chippewa Square is often sought out by visitors, as it was the filming location of the “park bench” scenes in Forrest Gump. To help clear up some common confusion: Yes, Chippewa Square was the filming location. Tom Hanks sat on the north side of the square, facing the Savannah River. The bench was a movie prop, brought in and placed on the outside edge of the square, after filming the bench was removed. Traffic in the movie flowed in the opposite direction than it does in real life. This was done so bus doors would open on the correct side, given Hanks’ position.

Properties of note on Chippewa Square include: the historic Savannah Theatre, the First Baptist Church, Perry Rubber Bike Shop, Six Pence Pub, and the Independent Presbyterian Church.

Getting to Chippewa Square from the Catherine Ward House Inn by foot is very easy. From door to door, it takes about 10-14 minutes to walk between the two.

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