Forrest Gump’s Bench and the Legend of the Chippewa Square Bus Stop
Savannah, Georgia, is America’s first planned city. General James Edward Oglethorpe (who had previously founded the colony of Georgia) founded Savannah in 1733. He designed his new capital as a series of neighborhoods centered around 24 squares. Chippewa Square is at the center of the downtown historic district. The square is also at the center of Savannah’s nightlife and entertainment, largely in part because of the Historic Savannah Theatre. The Savannah Theatre is the oldest theatre in the United States and still produces shows nightly. The performances have been described as “2-hours of high energy music, dance and comedy, perfect for a southern evening!”
The Square is also known for the famous park bench scenes from the critically acclaimed film Forrest Gump. In the opening shot of the film, a feather floats high above the trees, then sweeps down past the Independent Presbyterian Church and makes its way toward Chippewa Square, eventually landing at the base of a park bench. Tom Hanks, who plays the role of Forrest, sits on this park bench for about 80% of the film telling his life story to anyone who will listen. The bench that Hanks/Forrest sat on was actually a movie prop that has since been placed in the Savannah History Museum. But the location of the bench for the movie in Chippewa Square is still a popular spot for photographs.
The film ended up earning over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run, and garnered multiple awards and nominations, including Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and People’s Choice Awards, among others. This famous bench has become a valuable pop-cultural artifact and has been said to be one of the hottest Hollywood collector’s items since Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”