Many of the squares have neighborhood churches on the trust lots to the east and west, or as pictured here, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist’s Parish Center is on the northeast trust lot and the entire northwest quadrant of the tithing lots is the Cathedral site.
The Independent Presbyterian Church has a tithing lot northwest of Chippewa Square.
Even Johnson Square, with its focus on finance, maintains a crucial civic use in its southeast trust lot with Christ Church Episcopal.
The diversity of civic, residential, and commercial uses delivers almost continuous activity. The squares are busy over the weekend with people attending service, children playing while parents sit in the shade and chat, people dining and lingering at sidewalk cafés, and tourists discovering colonial history and searching for that classic scene evocative of Forrest Gump or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. During the week, the tourist presence remains, but the squares include people taking their lunch break on a bench or students walking between classes. The Congress will be utilizing the squares for receptions, 202 sessions, and tours.
I did find it interesting that Savannah made some mistakes over time, especially during the era of converting squares to parking decks and civic centers, the traffic engineering nightmare of one-way streets, and finally, an unfortunate series of public frontages. Luckily, there aren’t many of these, but because of the beauty of the architectural fabric, the mistakes are quite notable. Perhaps the most glaring is the comparison of the diagonal corners of Madison Square. On the northeast corner is The DeSoto, and on the southwest corner is the Scottish Rite Free Masonry building.