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Mercer Williams House Museum

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

429 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Mercer Williams House Museum in the late afternoon when the crowds have thinned out – you'll get a more intimate glimpse into Savannah's history and avoid the midday heat. And don't skip the gift shop; it's full of unique finds that reflect the quirky elegance of the home's infamous past."

What is Mercer Williams House Museum?

The Mercer Williams House Museum, perched on the majestic Monterey Square in the heart of Savannah, Georgia, is an architectural gem that whispers tales of the past with its red-brick facade and ornate details. This formidable residence not only stands as an excellent example of Savannah's historic charm but also as a monumental piece of the city's narrative—a narrative filled with stories of art, mystery, and a touch of Southern gothic allure. The house is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of Savannah, attracting both history buffs and literary enthusiasts alike.

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This magnificent mansion was designed by New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, a great-grandfather of the renowned songwriter Johnny Mercer. But it’s not just the grandeur of the architecture that beckons visitors; the house became notoriously famous after being featured in John Berendt’s best-selling book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," which was later adapted into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Thus, the Mercer Williams House Museum is a must-visit for anyone looking to tread the boards of history and mystery that define Savannah.

History of Mercer Williams House Museum

The story of the Mercer Williams House Museum began in 1860 when the construction on the Italianate mansion was completed. Designed for General Mercer, it was not until a hundred years later that the house would rise to its prominent status in Savannah's social and historic circles. After changing hands several times and even serving as the Savannah Shriners Alee Temple, the house was purchased in 1969 by antiques dealer and historic preservationist Jim Williams.

Williams painstakingly restored the property to its former glory, filling it with his vast collection of antiques and art. His efforts played a significant role in the preservation movement of Savannah, making the house a beacon of restoration and reverence for the city's architectural history. But Williams was also the central figure in a scandalous murder trial, the event that launched the house to fame through Berendt's book, making the walls of Mercer Williams House echo with stories more colorful and dramatic than any Southern novel could hope to capture.

Why is Mercer Williams House Museum Important?

The Mercer Williams House Museum is pivotal to the historic identity of Savannah for multiple reasons. Architecturally, it's a masterpiece of the antebellum South, providing a window into the grandiose living of the era. But what elevates its significance is how the house encapsulates the spirit of Savannah's restoration efforts which began in the 1950s and continued to flourish thanks to preservationists like Jim Williams.

The museum serves as a testimony to the meticulous work those restoration advocates undertook, giving past grandeur a place in the present day. Additionally, the notoriety gained from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," with its tales of eccentric characters and the city's midnight whispers, ties the museum intrinsically to the cultural and literary fabric of Savannah. The house is a lens through which visitors can view not just architecture but a living narrative of intrigue, art, and the timeless charm of the South.

Things to Do & See at Mercer Williams House Museum

Visitors to the Mercer Williams House Museum are treated to an intimate look at the lifestyle of the wealthy in the 18th and 19th centuries. As you pass under the ornate cornices and step through the grand entrance, you are essentially stepping back in time. The museum showcases Jim Williams's extensive antique collection, ranging from 18th-century portraits to Russian gilt and fine Old World furniture. It's more than just a tour; it's an experience dipped in the opulence of a bygone era.

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When you wander through the lush garden, you can almost hear the subtle rustling of silk gowns and genteel conversations of Savannah's elite. The museum also hosts a range of events throughout the year, including lectures, educational programs, and even concerts, which provide a vibrant, contemporary contrast to the stately, historic backdrop. And let's not forget, for the literary enthusiast, standing in the very spot where the intriguing events of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" unfolded is a story worth telling in itself.

Just around its corners, Monterey Square offers a peaceful setting to ponder the stories absorbed within the museum. Each element of your visit, from admiring the meticulously restored interiors to strolling the beautiful square outside, contributes to the sense that the Mercer Williams House Museum is more than just a stop on a tourist's itinerary. It's an invitation to saturate oneself in the essence of Savannah, tucked inside the walls of a house that has seen its city through centuries of change.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Mercer Williams House Museum?

The Mercer Williams House Museum is a historic house in Savannah, Georgia that was the residence of General Hugh W. Mercer, the great-grandfather of the famous songwriter Johnny Mercer. It became famous for its association with the best-selling book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'.

Where is the Mercer Williams House Museum located?

The Mercer Williams House Museum is located at 429 Bull Street on Monterey Square in Savannah, Georgia.

What are the hours of operation for the Mercer Williams House Museum?

The Mercer Williams House Museum typically operates from 10:00 AM to 4:15 PM Monday to Saturday, and 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM on Sundays, but visitors should check the official website for the most current hours.

Can you purchase tickets to the Mercer Williams House Museum online?

Yes, tickets to the Mercer Williams House Museum can usually be purchased online through the museum's official website.

Are there guided tours available at the Mercer Williams House Museum?

Yes, the Mercer Williams House Museum offers guided tours, providing insights into the history of the house, its artifacts, and its role in Savannah's history, as well as stories from 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

429 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps