Hauntings of Lafayette Square
Lafayette Square is one of the nearly two dozen squares that make up the quilt-like grid of Savannah, GA. The surrounding homes are the thread holding this patchwork together, many of them haunted. Savannah has a two-fold reputation for being a beautifully haunted city. The famed squares of Savannah are almost as well known as their spiritual residents, creating vibrant and distinct homes for them to exist within.
US Ghost Adventures examines Lafayette Square, located in the Savannah Historic District and 12 blocks from the River Street Entertainment District, a popular destination for visitors. Many walk unsuspectingly among the Italianate homes and cobblestone streets, past the luminous St. John the Baptist Cathedral, not knowing they are surrounded by energies from another time.
Haunted Locations in Lafayette Square:
- Andrew Low House
- Hamilton-Turner Inn
These two locations, edging the borders of Lafayette Square, bring in thousands of visitors every year, all anxiously waiting to hear the how and why of it all and where the spirits like to linger.
Take a ghost tour with US Ghost Adventures the next time you find yourself in Savannah, GA. Our experienced tour guides will unravel its creepy and sinister side for you.
The City of Squares
Savannah is known for its grid system and the resulting city squares that emerged from it. Founded in 1773, Savannah is considered America’s first planned city and was Georgia’s first. The city is sewn together by a tapestry of squares, connected in a grid-like system. 24 wards were designed by city founder General James Oglethorpe, with a square at the center of each one. Today 22 out of the original 24 remain.
Savannah withstood the horrors of yellow fever, hurricanes, and two major fires — preceding the more famous one during the civil war. These squares were often used as medical centers, mortuaries, and hospitals. They all have ghost stories attached to them, but Lafayette Square, with its central location between two famous districts, attracts some of the most potent energy in the city.
Lafayette Square was constructed in 1837 and named after Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French military hero who fought in the American and French Revolutions. Idolized by early Americans, serving as an aide to George Washington, his name is etched into many squares and streets across America.
At the center of the square is a memorial fountain donated to the city by the Colonial Dames of America to commemorate 250 years of Savannah’s history. Towering over the square on its northeast corner is The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the oldest Catholic congregation in Georgia. Built between 1872 and 1876, this massive Cathedral was nearly destroyed by fire in 1898 but has continued to awe visitors with its twin steeples. The highest in the downtown area!
Many parades, celebrations, and memorials are held in Lafayette Square. The adjacent Abercorn is the city’s Irish and Scottish district, and cultural festivals are common here.
The reports of paranormal activity are even more common, running along the outer edges of the square. Two hot spots, the Andrew Low House and the Hamilton-Turner Inn, garner reports of strange and unexplainable activity year after year. Let’s take a look!
The Andrew Low House
The Andrew Low House’s main claim to fame is that the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, once lived here. The home was built between 1847 and 1849 for one of Savannah’s wealthiest residents, cotton magnate Andrew Low. Low had emigrated from Scotland to Georgia in the 1820s and made a lucky living for himself transporting bales of cotton back to England.
The home now operates as a museum run by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and has been owned by them since 1928. Many come to see the historic home, its breathtaking garden, and one of the first indoor plumbing systems in the United States. But more visitors come to see what cannot be seen, the spiritual residents of the home and their outward activities.
Juliette Gordon Low passed in her bed in 1928. She married into the family, marrying Andrew’s son William Makey Low. She founded the Girl Guides, which later became the Girl Scouts, right here in the house in 1912. Known as “Daisy” to those closest to her, she paved the way for women’s rights and benevolent causes during her lifetime. There is a constant report of “The Lady on the Bed.” Many believe it is Juliette continuing her life’s work in the place she loved most.
Whomever it may be in bed, it is apparent that the spirit of Andrew Low still resides in the home as well. His rocking chair has been noticed rocking by itself. The smell of sweet perfume often wafts through the historic hallways of the building, a rousing scent that was once a favorite of Julliettes. Cold spots are common, and the disembodied footsteps of an old butler named “Tom” echo through the house.
Apparitions appear on occasion, dressed in period-accurate clothing. The most famous is a man resembling the notable Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lee was a close friend of Lows and often spent time at the house.
Spirits of The Andrew Low House:
- Juliette Gordon Low
- Andrew Low
- Robert E. Lee
- Tom The Butler
The Hamilton-Turner Inn
Now operating as a hotel that offers refined luxury suites, the Hamilton-Turner Inn was once the residency of the “Lord of Lafayette” Samuel Pugh Hamilton. Hamilton was a businessman, politician, socialite, and art collector. His ventures in fine watches and later jewelry rewarded him with a more than generous income.
He constructed his palatial mansion along the edges of Lafayette Square in 1873. He and his second wife, his deceased brother’s widow Sarah Virginia Stillings, lived here during his tenure as President and Treasure of two major Savannah-based ice companies.
His home became the first electrified house in Savannah in 1886 and nearly burned to the ground three years later. It should be noted the fire was caused by the famous 1898 Savannah fire, not the electricity. Dr. Francis Turner moved in 1915, shortly after Hamilton’s death, and the house changed hands for several years. The novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is based on real-life events that occurred in the home during the 1980s.
Grandeur layout and lavish interior aside, the house is most famous for its spirits. They say Hamilton still haunts the home, guarding his precious belongings in the after. The story goes that he hired security guards to watch the house at night. One night in the 1890s, a guard was shot and killed outside the home. No one was willing to take the now dangerous job, so Hamilton took up the beleaguered post. He soon fell ill and died in 1899. Many say they can see his spirit, or the guards, roaming the garden, searching for intruders.
The footstep and voices of children are often heard on the top floor. Dr. Francis Turner would hold large parties just as Hamilton did. During these events, his children were brought upstairs to entertain themselves with a billiard table. One evening they decided to roll some billiard balls down the stairs to prank the adults. Things went horribly wrong as one of his daughters slipped on a ball and fell down the stairs. It is believed her spirit still haunts the top floor.
Lafayette Square and Savannah Ghosts
Historic Lafayette Square is only of the many haunted locations stretching across America’s most haunted city. With a history so rich and full of disaster, it is no surprise that the spirits lurk around every corner.
To learn more about Lafayette Square and get the full experience visit Savannah. Be sure to take a ghost tour with US Ghost Adventures when you do. You will not leave disappointed. Our experienced tour guides know each locale’s scariest locations and juicy history. Check our website for times and booking information.
Meta Description: A brief overview look at the history of Lafayette and the surrounding buildings. The spirits of the Andrew Low House and Hamilton-Tuner Inn are covered.