Path leading into Bonaventure: The massive ancient oak trees dripping with that old Spanish moss lent just the right spookiness that I don’t think I’d want to be there other than in daylight.
Some of the statues and monuments were unbelievably elaborate and the stories they told either in words or by the sad expressions of the statues depicting those left behind were heart-breaking and memorialized their grief for all time.
Now this is a cemetery that was done in an age when people were really into the extravagant burying business. Bonaventure is a beautiful resting place – both for the permanent residents and for visitors who enjoy the setting next to the Wilmington River and the graceful statuary telling tales of lost loves and hopeful reunions in the next life. It was this river that inspired the song “Moon River” by Johnny Mercer, who is buried here, also appropriately of “That Old Black Magic” fame.
Conrad Aiken, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, is another permanent resident. As a youngster, he lived in the historic district. One night he overhead his parents arguing, followed by gunshots. The poor kid found the bodies of his parents, his father having committed suicide after killing his mother. He said he felt haunted by his parents ever since. Hopefully he’s at peace now beside the simple marble bench monument inscribed “Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown.”
The mossy covered ones seemed especially sad (and spooky).
From my article Supernatural Savannah: “Little Gracie” was an only child and the light of her parents’ lives in the 1800’s when they managed the Pulaski House, a premier hotel then on the corner of Bull and Bryan Streets. Known for her sweetness and gaiety, she was a favorite with hotel guests. Tragically, she died two days after Easter in 1889 from pneumonia at the tender age of six. Until the hotel was torn down in 1957, many still heard her laughs in her favorite play place in the stairwell. That stairwell is now the restroom of a cafeteria, and it is said Little Gracie pulls little tricks on ladies there and that sometimes a small girl in period dress is seen running past them. See more about Gracie on my page Spooky Savannah.
The other interesting thing that walking around that cemetery did for me was that in thinking about death, I realized that there has never before been a time in my life that I could honestly say that if I died this very moment, I would be doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life. Even though I haven’t seen everything I want to see yet, I would have no regrets because I am in the process of it and not putting it off until a “better time.” Sometimes the “better time” doesn’t show up.
I remember reading once that in retrospect, more elderly people regret the things they didn’t do more than the things they did. If the testimony of the still-living doesn’t prove the wisdom of following your dreams, the stillness of the graves sealed that deal for me. Even though spirit goes on, the unique opportunities afforded by this particular life is lost and that is a loss never recoverable in quite the same way.
More Info on Bonaventure Cemetery:
Official website (Savannahga.gov) – Bonaventure Cemetery was developed on the historically significant site of Bonaventure Plantation. The peaceful setting rests on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, east of Savannah. The site was purchased for a private cemetery in 1846 and became a public cemetery in 1907. Citizens and others can still purchase interment rights in Bonaventure. This charming site has been a world famous tourist destination for more than 150 years due to the old tree-lined roadways, the many notable persons interred, the unique cemetery sculpture and architecture, and the folklore associated with the site and the people.
Bonaventure Historical Society – The Bonaventure Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. They also provide free guided tours on weekends.
All Malia’s Miles Savannah Pages:
Historic Squares — Bonaventure Cemetery —
Laurel Grove Cemetery — Spooky Savannah —
Wormsloe Historic Site — Skidaway Island State Park —
Fort McAllister State Park — George L. Smith State Park —
Savannah Area RV Parks