Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Part I: Gothics

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, is the first cemetery I've ever wandered into that was actually crawling with tourists. The ripple effect of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil apparently lingers on because there were a lot of people wandering around with cameras and guidebooks, all apparently focused on finding Johnny Mercer's grave while oblivious to the wonderful funerary art elsewhere in the cemetery.
I did not, however, go looking for anything mentioned in the book, and have no clue just where Mr. Mercer got planted. I just kind of wandered around, admiring the Gothic markers and other statuary. I'm not normally a big fan of Gothic, but Bonaventure has some truly nice pieces.
The bed grave above is unfortunately damaged. You can tell that at one time there was a piece of ornamentation inside the three-sided headstone, probably a cross, but it's gone now. There's also damage to the back of the marker.

The majority of the grave markers at Bonaventure, however, are in remarkably good condition. I was expecting to see a fair amount of sugaring, but maybe the wind isn't from the right direction for the acid rain from the pulp mills and other Savannah industries to hit the marble. The damage that was visible tended to be pieces broken off, e.g., angels' fingers, rather than weathering.
Bonaventure Cemetery was originally a private cemetery located on a plantation near Savannah operated under the name of Evergreen Cemetery. The City of Savannah purchased the cemetery in 1907, and changed the name to Bonaventure.
Photos were taken with a 35 mm camera on actual film.