Bonaventure Cemetery – Good Fortune Comes to Those Who Die
Known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the entire country, Bonaventure is found on the outskirts of Savannah, bordering the Wilmington River across from Whitemarsh Island. Its name means “Good Fortune”, and those buried on its grounds might certainly consider themselves fortunate.
We’ve been tossing around the word “haunting” a lot as our exploration of Savannah continues, but what can we do? We’ll resort to it again with Bonaventure, where Spanish Moss hangs sorrowfully from every tree, casting broken light onto solemn fields of gravestones. Bonaventure Cemetery is absolutely haunting.
We wandered around for hours, discovering tombstones of exquisite craftsmanship and peculiar intrigue. There’s one in the form of a broken tree trunk. A grinning marathon runner. Obelisks and gates. Downcast girls holding flowers. Underground crypts. And of course, Little Gracie Watson.
Bonaventure is full of ghosts, and its most famous is that of Gracie Watson. In life, the vivacious daughter of the manager of the Pulaski House had been beloved by neighbors and well-known to the hotel’s guests. But pneumonia didn’t love Little Gracie. Pneumonia snuffed her out at the age of six. Her grief-stricken father commissioned the statue to mark her grave, and ever since, there have been rumors of the soft sobbing of a little girl in Bonaventure. The statue supposedly sheds tears, and screams out at night if someone removes one of her flowers.
Besides Gracie, a number of famous people rest their bones in Bonaventure, including Johnny Mercer, Conrad Aiken and Henry R. Jackson. One statue you won’t find there, though, is the Bird Girl statue made famous from the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — it’s been moved to the Telfair Museum of Art, for safekeeping. That’s a shame, but there’s plenty else to see in Bonaventure. Plan at least a couple hours.
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November 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm