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The Inescapable Influence of The Book

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Before we moved to Savannah, me, Jürgen and four-year-old Xiao Liang of Taiwan were the only three people on Earth who hadn’t read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt. And now, noble Xiao stands alone. Jürgen and I have buckled down and read “The Book.”

Midnight Garden of Good and Evil

And it was great! We had already become relatively familiar with the city, and the characters and locations leaped right off the page. Berendt has an amazing talent for description, and a knack for mixing his way into interesting situations and meeting bizarre, charismatic people. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil still holds the record for the length of time spent on the New York Times bestseller list, and there’s a reason for it.

But, man, after living in Savannah, did we get tired of hearing about “The Book.” I wonder if another city has ever capitalized so much on a single work of art. I doubt that even Bethlehem milks the Bible as outrageously as Savannah does Midnight. Copies of it can be found everywhere in the city, on every bookshelf, and on sale in every shop… even clothes stores! There are tours of The Book’s locations, an entire store shop dedicated to it, and fans can even tour the Mercer House on Monterey Square, where Clint Eastwood’s adaptation was filmed.

While I loved Midnight, I’m glad I didn’t read until after we’d lived in Savannah for awhile, otherwise I might have been tempted to follow in Berendt’s footsteps exactly. But sometimes we can’t help ourselves. He documented this city in such a unique and engaging way, it’s hard to resist repeating his experiences. For example, how could we not visit Club One to watch the fabulous Lady Chablis do her thing? And after reading Berendt’s description of it, of course we were going to eat at Clary’s! I suppose that, as far as guidebooks go, you could do a lot worse than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Buy The BookThe Movie or take The Tour

Where is the bird statue now?
We have published our own Savannah Book

Mercer House Savannah
Danny Hansford
Jim Willams Savannah
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January 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm Comments (6)

Monterey Square

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One of the most beautiful squares in Savannah is Monterey, named in honor of the Mexican-American War’s 1846 Battle of Monterey. With a memorial to Casmir Pulaski in its center, classic buildings surrounding it, and more than its share of local lore, Monterey is one of our favorites.

Monterey Square Savannah

The most famous house on Monterey Square is the Mercer-Williams House, where Jim Williams shot Danny Hansford dead, as detailed in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Clint Eastwood’s movie adaptation was filmed on location here, instantly making the Mercer-Williams house the most well-known in all of Savannah. Contrary to popular belief, Johnny Mercer never lived here, although it was his family that built the house.

Monterey Square Savannah

Across the square is the Congregation Mickve Israel, the only Gothic synagogue in America, with one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the USA. Oglethorpe’s colonial Georgia had welcomed Jewish immigrants with open arms, and some of the city’s original settlers were Spanish and Portuguese Jews fleeing Catholic persecution. One of them brought a handwritten copy of the Torah, known as a Sefer Torah, which is still used today for special occasions.

Just as the statue of Oglethorpe is in Chippewa and not Oglethorpe Square, the obelisk honoring revolutionary war hero Casimir Pulaski should probably be in Pulaski Square, but it’s a magnificent tribute regardless. Pulaski was Polish, and played a major part in the American Revolution, helping develop our nation’s nascent cavalry. He died in Savannah, and the city has pulled out all the stops to honor him: an obelisk, a square and even a fort out near Tybee Island.

Location on our Savannah map

The Music of Johnny Mercer

Monterey Square Savannah
Monterey Square Savannah
Monterey Square Savannah
Monterey Square Savannah
Monterey Square Savannah
Savannah Squares
This is Savannah
Walking Winter Tour
I love Savannah
Pulaski Monument
Casimir Pulaski
Pulaski Savannah
Pulaski Statue
Hell Gate
Jewish Monterey Square
Synagog Savannah
Savannah Photographer
Secret Garden Savannah
Private Garden Savannah
Evil Garden
Egypt Savannah
Arabic Savannah
Savannah Haus
Savannah Houses
Savannah Palms
United Community
Savannah Doors
Half House Savannah
Garden Good Evil Midnight
Savannah Art
Savannah 10
Savannah Cage
Savannah Shadow
Savannah Street Lights
Savannah Squares
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January 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm Comments (6)

The 24 Squares of Savannah

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At the time of its founding in 1733, Savannah was the first North American city planned around public squares. General Oglethorpe’s grand design for his new capital called for four squares to serve as gardens and meeting areas. The western and eastern sides of each square were reserved for public buildings, such as churches and government offices, while the northern and southern ends were for private residences, called tything blocks.

Savannah was the original capital of Georgia, the last of the original thirteen colonies, and its logical design won it fame around the world. The plan was far-sighted, allowing for over a century of growth, always replicating the square system further outward. By the mid 19th century, there were a total of twenty-four.

From the largest (Johnson) to the smallest (Crawford), each of Savannah’s twenty-four squares has its own history and personality. We made a promise to fully explore each of them during our three months here, and learn their stories and secrets. It was a promise we kept.

1. Franklin
2. Ellis
3. Johnson
4. Reynolds
5. Warren
6. Washington
7. Liberty (lost)
8. Telfair
9. Wright
10. Oglethorpe
11. Columbia
12. Greene
13. Elbert (lost)
14. Orleans
15. Chippewa
16. Crawford
17. Pulaski
18. Madison
19. Lafayette
20. Troup
21. Chatham
22. Monterey
23. Calhoun
24. Whitefield

Best Prices On Savannah Car Rentals

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November 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm Comments (11)
The Inescapable Influence of The Book Before we moved to Savannah, me, Jrgen and four-year-old Xiao Liang of Taiwan were the only three people on Earth who hadn't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt. And now, noble Xiao stands alone. Jrgen and I have buckled down and read "The Book."
For 91 Days