The Broadway musical Hamilton is currently taking New York City by storm. It’s no wonder – this musical offers a unique view of America’s history. Plus, the characters are relatable (even Aaron Burr, known through most of American history as “the dude that shot Alexander Hamilton”), the music is amazingly intricate and yet still catchy… Ever since I was introduced to this musical in September, every car ride is a one-person musical production of Hamilton starring me in every role (Sorry not sorry to everyone stuck in the passenger seat at some point.) Hamil-fans traveling to Savannah will notice a lot of familiar names as they traverse the city. Some of it is completely coincidental, but there is a bit of Hamil-history to the city that fans may be interested in knowing!
- In 1802, Vice President Aaron Burr stopped in Savannah for a day, where he dined at City Hall before proceeding to Charleston. (The Georgia Historical Quarterly)
- The Marquis de Lafayette visited Savannah and left his mark on the city. Both Lafayette Ward and Lafayette Square were named for him. (Every time we passed Lafayette Square, I had the lines “Oui oui mon amie je m’appelle Lafayette, the Lancelot of the Revolutionary set” running through my mind.) On this square, one can find Andrew Low House, home to the husband of Girl Scouts of America founder Juliette Gordon Low, and Owens-Thomas House.
- Lafayette stayed at the Owens-Thomas House, which is now a part of the Telfair Museums. For $20, you can tour the house and gardens along with the other two sites that make up the Telfair Museums.
- Lafayette laid the cornerstone of the marker for Nathaniel Greene in Johnson Square.
- President George Washington visited the city in 1791. You can see a marker for the occasion in Johnson Square and some canons he sent to the city on Bay Street. You can read more about Washington’s visit here.
- In 1790, the city created Washington Square and Washington Ward in honor of General/President Washington.
- Madison Square – Named for President James Madison, though I don’t know that he ever visited the city.
These sites may get you singing, but they have familiar names only – no actual Hamilton-related history involved.
- Reynolds Square – Sing “The Reynolds Pamphlet” as much as you would like, but this square has nothing to do with James or Maria Reynolds of Hamilton fame (or infamy.)
- Hamilton-Turner Inn – located on Lafayette Square, Hamilton-Turner Inn has nothing to do with A. Ham other than the fact that it made me start singing “Alexander Hamilton.” Instead, it was named for resident and original homeowner Samuel Pugh Hamilton. The house does, however, play a role in Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a must-read for anyone taking a trip to Savannah.
Is there any other Hamil-history I missed in Savannah? Let us know in the comments!