The Winged Lion Fountain of Savannah, Georgia

by Sarah Birdsong

If you live in or around Savannah, Georgia, you might have heard of the Great Googly Moogly Outrage of 2018.  The city took to Facebook with the following:

Who did this?! Someone placed googly eyes on our historic #NathanaelGreene statue in #JohnsonSquare. It may look funny but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it’s a crime.


We are hoping to find the person responsible! If you have information, please call Savannah Police Department.

Whoever made that post didn’t have a clear understanding of how the internet works.

Far from instilling law and order, it raised a call to arms. Now the laughing stock of internet denizens within 200 miles, Facebook events such as Googly Eyes All Over Savannah were created, inspiring a new round of laughter and applause. Sean and myself packed our bags for a weekend trip to Savannah with every intention of defacing the city with googly eyes.

Unfortunately, our cohorts left the aforementioned bag of contraband in their hotel room. Without our illicit toys, we could only stroll the city, leaving the Great Googly Crusaders for another reckoning.

I still think the Savannah Griffin/Winged Lion Fountain would have been a prime choice for such shenangians. If I’d been physically able to climbing the fence to sully his visage, that is.

In an interesting histroical note, though we may know this monument as a griffin, it is actually a winged lion. Previously nothing more than an expensive lawn ornament ordered from a catalog, it became a part of the decorative fountain in front of the Cotton Exchange in 1889. In 2008, it became a local treasure, the only of its kind.

Unfortunately for our  winged friend, it faced something far more perilous than mere googly eyes in 2008; this relic was obliterated by an airborne vehicle screaming down Drayton Street at 80 mph.

All that remained were its terracotta paws, gripping the base for dear life, until its receation 14 months later.


I have compiled a list of additional resources regarding this entry and its contents for researching the topics therein:

The Winged Lion Fountain: more infomation on the infamous griffin/winged lion fountain of Savannah

Savannah, GA: if you’re curious what the Savannah city government when not incensed about googly eye placement, give this site a gander

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