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22 of the original squares remain preserved in the Historic District today, which was declared as a National Historic Landmark District in 1966. It is one of the largest historic districts of its kind in the country, encompassing 1,300 acres of land with boundaries at East Broad Street, Gwinnett Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, and the Savannah River. The district is notable for its quaint atmosphere, filled with cobblestone streets and 18th- and 19th-century buildings displaying Greek Revival, Georgian, and Gothic architecture styles. Hundreds of live oaks covered with moss line the district’s squares and streets, giving the city its nickname of the Forest City.
Many tourist attractions are situated around the public squares, which have become popular destinations in themselves. The restored Ellis Square, reopened to the public in 2010, is home to a visitor’s center for the district, as well as the historic City Market, an open-air public market that has been a commercial fixture since the 1700s. The nearby Telfair Square houses two art museums, the Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center for the Arts.
Several attractions within the Historic District are designated as National Historic Landmarks or historic districts in themselves, such as the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District. Three historic buildings commemorate the Girl Scouts of America founder: the Wayne-Gordon House, Low’s birthplace; the Andrew Low House at 329 Abercorn Street; and its associated carriage house, which served as the First Girl Scout Headquarters.
A number of notable historic buildings are located within the district’s boundaries. Many operate as living history museums open for tours, including the Mercer-Williams House, immortalized by the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” the 1818 English Regency-style Owens-Thomas House, the 1850 Gothic Revival Green-Meldrim House, and the 1820 Isaiah Davenport House. Others have been converted into attractions and businesses, such as the William Scarbrough House, which now houses the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, and the Edmund Molyneux Mansion, now the home of the Oglethorpe Club, the oldest gentlemen’s club in America. A few still serve their original purpose, such as the U.S. Custom House, which has served as a government office for 150 years.
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