Machen Square is the northernmost square in the original design for Brunswick, called Old Town. It was originally named Machen Place, denoting its smaller size in relation to the major squares in the city. For over a century, the space and most of the nearby lots were undeveloped, or held simple privately owned buildings. In fact, Machen does not even appear on the 1826 official map of the city.

By the late 19th century, when the city enjoyed a time of growth and prosperity, landmark structures were built adjacent to or near Machen Square. The space assumed its rightful place in the importance of the Newcastle Street downtown corridor.

In the mid-20th century, a frenzy of “modernization” swept through the city, and many landmarks in the Old Town area were defaced or destroyed. Machen Square’s magnificent National Bank of Brunswick building was demolished, along with the nearby Oglethorpe Hotel. The historic Ritz Theater remains, although with major alterations.

Machen Square has been the beneficiary of extensive renovation, recovery and beautification efforts by Signature Squares of Brunswick. Today, Machen Square functions as a refreshing space for visitors to relax, enjoy a sparkling sculpture fountain and reflect on Brunswick’s architectural heritage.


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