The Historic District North is the part of old Savannah that sits across from Hutchinson Island. One of the interesting things about this neighborhood is that residents are no more than a block or two away from a park, or as Savannah calls them, squares. When the city was founded in 1733 it was considered fashionable to build cities around manicured parks. Thirteen of these original squares are in the northern part of the historic district.
Johnson Square was the first and is still the largest. It is named for Robert Johnson who was a governor in the colonial days. Wright Square was the second, although when it was designed it was called Percival Square after Lord Percival, who named the newly-formed colony “Georgia” after King George II. Next came Ellis Square, honoring Henry Ellis, a Royal Governor of the Georgia colony. The last of the four original squares is Telfair. Originally it was called St. James Square after a park in London, England, but the name was changed to honor the Telfair family. As Savannah grew, the city designers kept adding squares and surrounding them with homes and businesses.
Historic District North still has buildings that date back to pre-Revolutionary War days. Most homes are from the mini-building boom that happened after the Civil War. Around the turn of the 20th century, apartment buildings became more common. Many of them were built in the Victorian style with decorative trim around the windows and below the roof line. Many of these still stand and operate as apartment or condo complexes. Other apartments are in converted homes, complete with bay windows, columned entryways and wrought-iron balconies. All residences are close to the shops and restaurants along Bay Street as well as waterfront Emmet Park.