BACKSTORY: Monterey Square commemorates the Battle of Monterrey (1846), in which American forces under General Zachary Taylor captured the city of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War. (The correct spelling in reference to the square is "Monterey", with a single r.) In the center of the square is an 1852 monument honoring General Casimir Pulaski. The cornerstone of the monument was laid by Lafayette—in Chippewa Square in 1825. Due to financial limitations an obelisk in Johnson Square served as a joint memorial to Nathanael Green and Pulaski for several years. By 1852 funds had been collected to give Pulaski his own monument. The sculptor was allowed to choose the site for the project and he had the cornerstone moved to Monterey Square. The body of an unknown Revolutionary soldier is said to be buried beneath Pulaski's monument. Some have speculated that Pulaski himself is buried there, although he is generally believed to have been buried at sea.
Monterey Square is also the site of Mercer House, built by Hugh Mercer and more recently the home of antiques dealer and restorationist Jim Williams. The house, and the square itself, were featured prominently in John Berendt's 1994 novel and the 1997 film version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The square is also home to Congregation Mickve Israel, which boasts the only Gothic-style synagogue in America, dating from 1878.