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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

429 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to explore the surroundings of the Mercer House after your tour; many locals say the true essence of Savannah's mysterious charm is best felt in the stillness of Mercer Square at dusk. Also, check with your tour guide if they'll share the lesser-known stories that aren't covered in standard tours – these often hold the real whispered secrets of the house's past."

What is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)?

The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour is an immersive journey through Savannah, Georgia, particularly focusing on the Mercer Williams House Museum, known as Mercer House. This tour gains its unique name from the bestselling book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," written by John Berendt, and later adapted into a popular film directed by Clint Eastwood. The narrative weaves a rich tapestry of Savannah's social elite, voodoo, and a sensational murder trial, all centered around the grand Mercer House and its former inhabitant, Jim Williams. Participants in this tour are not just walking through a historic home; they're stepping into the story and mystery brought to life by a true-crime novel that placed Mercer House and Savannah on the literary and tourist map.

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History of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)

The history of the tour is entwined, of course, with the Mercer House itself, which stands as a masterpiece of Savannah architecture. Built for General Hugh W. Mercer, great-grandfather of the famous songwriter Johnny Mercer, in the 1860s, the house's history is layered and tumultuous, a veritable reflection of Savannah’s past. After changing hands several times and even serving a stint as the Savannah Shriners Alee Temple, Jim Williams, an antiques dealer and historic preservationist, purchased the home in 1969.

It is Jim Williams' involvement with the house — from its restoration to the dramatic events leading up to his four murder trials for the shooting of Danny Hansford — that shapes the narrative core of the tour. Since the publication of the book in the mid-1990s and the subsequent film adaptation, the Mercer House has become a pilgrimage site for those fascinated by the blend of true crime and Southern gothic storytelling.

Why is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House) Important?

This tour offers more than just a glimpse into a historical home; it's a portal to the complex social tapestry of Savannah. The Mercer House has become emblematic of city's dichotomous identity –– both genteel and mysterious. It's important due to its ability to encapsulate the allure of Old Savannah, while also keeping alive the discussion of themes such as preservation, art, and justice. It continues to draw thousands of visitors each year, many of whom are seeking to experience first-hand the setting of the spellbinding events recounted in Berendt's book.

For locals, the tour and the Mercer House are a source of both pride and intrigue. It represents a moment when their hometown became the backdrop for an international sensation, shaping perceptions of the city ever since. It's a reminder of how a single story can affect the legacy and economy of a place, influencing everything from tourism to local culture.

Things to Do & See at Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)

When embarking on the tour, visitors are treated to a cavalcade of sights, stories, and sensations. First and foremost, you'll explore the Mercer House itself, where you can marvel at the collection of fine furniture and art nurtured by Jim Williams. You'll step into the rooms where the glitterati of Savannah once mingled, and where the infamous shooting of Danny Hansford occurred. Outside the home, one can appreciate the stately Italianate façade, the verdant Mercer House gardens, and perhaps sense the echo of a bygone Savannah wrapped in mystery and charm.

Beyond the house, the tour may extend to other iconic Savannah locations depicted in the book and film, like the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery and the Mercer-Williams House carriage house. You may also pass through historic squares and moss-draped avenues that encapsulate the spirit of the story and the city itself. Guides often share insider anecdotes, point out lesser-known details and invite guests to consider the differing realities of Savannah's public face and private truths.

  • Witness the breathtaking architecture and period décor within the Mercer House.
  • Hear tales that interweave historical fact with the Southern lore surrounding the events of the book and film.
  • Explore areas of Savannah associated with the story, appreciating the city's charm and the pivotal role it played in the narrative.

As we stroll along the city's cobbled streets, I'll encourage you to glean the essence of Savannah's sultry, enigmatic character from every corner and curve. This is not just any tour; it's an invocation of the senses and an invitation to step into a slice of history that still whispers from the shadowy corners of Mercer House and rustles through the Spanish moss adorning this historic city. Do you feel the echoes of the past here? They're waiting to greet you, just beyond the garden gate.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)?

The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour is a guided tour that explores the Mercer Williams House Museum, a significant location featured in the true-crime novel 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' by John Berendt. The museum was the former residence of Jim Williams and the scene of the shooting of Danny Hansford.

Where is the Mercer House located in Savannah?

The Mercer House, now the Mercer Williams House Museum, is located at 429 Bull Street on Monterey Square in Savannah, Georgia. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its architectural significance and its association with the famous book and movie.

Do you need to purchase tickets for the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour (Mercer House)?

Yes, visitors typically need to purchase tickets to participate in the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour. It's recommended to check the Mercer Williams House Museum's official website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date ticket information and availability.

What can you expect to see during the tour of Mercer House?

During the tour of the Mercer House, visitors can expect to see a variety of historical and artistic items, period furniture, and art collected by Jim Williams. The house itself is a fine example of the Italianate architecture and provides a glimpse into Savannah's history and the story related to the novel.

Is the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour suitable for all ages?

The tour may be suitable for a wide range of ages, but it involves mature themes related to the true-crime story, which may not be appropriate for young children. It is best to use discretion when deciding whether the tour is appropriate for youngsters.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

429 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps