Known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the entire country, Bonaventure Cemetery 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. There are worse places to rest in eternal slumber.
Bonaventure is a place of haunting beauty, where Spanish Moss hangs sorrowfully from every tree, casting broken light onto solemn fields of gravestones. The cemetery is large, and one which you could spend hours exploring, discovering tombstones of exquisite craftsmanship, and other most notable for their peculiarity. 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, there’s little Gracie Watson.
Of all Bonaventure’s ghosts, the 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 wasn’t impressed by Little Gracie’s charms. Pneumonia snuffed her out at the age of six. Her grief-stricken father commissioned a 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 a flower has been removed.
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, which graced the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: it’s been moved to the Telfair Museum of Art, for safekeeping.