SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Those in search of hidden treasures might find them this year at Bonaventure Cemetery.
Developed on the site of Bonaventure Plantation, the setting not only rests on Wilmington River, east of Savannah, it has been a world-famous tourist destination for more than 150 years. Today, many people, both locals and tourists, continue to visit the site.
Nikki Sharpe, who lives in Savannah, said she walks around Bonaventure Cemetery daily. “I find it calming and peaceful. I like the sculptures that are around.”
She continued, “I like Gracie, and then there one that’s like up near the water, it’s called Lawton, and there’s two there. It’s a sculpture of a woman, and then there’s also a sculpture of a man and I believe it’s like a daughter and a father at that one. Those are the two that I like, I just like the sculpture, I think it’s really pretty.
Little Gracie Watson is one of the most visited graves in Bonaventure Cemetery. Her parents W.J. and Frances Watson were hoteliers who ran the Pulaski House Hotel off Johnson Square in the 1880s. The hotel eventually became Gracie and her parents’ home.
Gracie was dearly loved by her parents and was an outgoing child that loved to run around the hotel and speak with guests. In April of 1889, she caught pneumonia and died a few days before Easter at the age of 6.
To those who may find it disturbing to walk around or tour a cemetery, Sharpe said, “I don’t think it’s creepy at all, I find it peaceful here.”
Architecture meeting nature, multiple notable persons interred and folklore associated with the site also draws visitors.
Other notable people buried at Bonaventure Plantation include Johnny Mercer, Edward Telfair and Corinne Elliott Lawton.
For those who haven’t yet visited the site, consider taking a tour.
“All tours in the city cemeteries are provided by outside tour companies,” said Sam Beetler II, director of the City Cemeteries Division.
On the content on the tours, Beetler said, “We have set restrictions for the type of content, but tour guides/companies are responsible for the specific content of their individual tours.”
Some of the restrictions include Bonaventure Cemetery not being for sensational or entertainment purposes. Any tours or events marketed as haunted, paranormal, or involving ghosts, spiritualists or mediums are strictly prohibited.
The cemetery is open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located at 330 Bonaventure Rd. in Thunderbolt. After-hour tours take can take place from the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.