Marshall House

Marshall House (Savannah, Georgia)

Marshall House

The Marshall House is the oldest hotel in Savannah, built in 1851.  During the Civil War it was used as a military hospital, and when it was renovated in the 60’s, they found bones under one of the rooms that they ascertained were amputated limbs from soldiers.  It’s no wonder this place is considered to be haunted.

Teri-Lynn Koch wrote to tell me of her unexplained experiences when she stayed at the hotel:

I stayed in one of the balcony rooms. The first night I came in through the window and didn’t want to drop my phone so I tossed it onto the bed. My mom watched me do this before she went to her room. After climbing through the window I went to get my phone and it was gone. I had to have my mom call it and it was in the front pocket of my purse where I keep it when I go out.

The second night, I took my shower and climbed into bed. After turning off the lights, I felt someone running a finger down my arm the way a significant other would.  It was a light touch but scared the crap out of me. I turned on the lights and told it that was not acceptable behavior and to go away. Luckily it did but I am positive the Marshall House is indeed haunted!


Lisa concurs with Teri-Lynn’s opinion.  Here’s her account of a sleepless night at the Marshall House:

I just spent two nights at the Marshall house with my friends.  My husband and my friends are non-believers.  However, after the pictures I took clearly of a face, which moves  along the hallway (the staff said I had the best pix they had ever seen) and my friend took some too which also show the face.  Then, last night, there was no sleep in our room…..”someone” kept tucking in the covers of my bed, and once even lifted the corner of the mattress as if making a “hospital corner”.  I can tell you I was awake most of the night!

Stuckie: The Petrified Dog

Stuckie: The Petrified Dog (Waycross, Georgia)
Back in the ’60’s, a dog went a-huntin’ and climbed up a tree and never came back down again. Years later, the petrified corpse of the dog was found stuck in the hollow tree. Now, thanks to the good people at “Southern Forest World,” you too can see the doomed doggie, which has been lovingly named “Stuckie”. I know you’re booking a flight to Georgia this instant, aren’t you?
Thes-P-N submits a photograph of Stuckie, for those of you who can’t make it to Waycross in the near future.
Stuckie: The Petrified Dog


Ghost Talk Ghost Walk

Ghost Talk Ghost Walk (Savannah, Georgia)
Comtesse Travelogue to “Ghost Talk, Ghost Walk” – a walking ghost tour of the “most haunted city in America”.

Positively Ghostly! 

Ghost Talk Ghost Walk
(Savannah Ghost Walking Tour)
Savannah, GA – July 21, 2001

Ghost Talk Ghost Walk
Departs from John Weley’s monument in Reynolds Square, Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31404


Long before I ever journeyed to Savannah, I’d seen an episode of “Scariest Places On Earth” that described Savannah as “America’s Most Haunted City”. Of course, that was enough to spark my interest… and when I had the chance to visit my friend Nina there, I just couldn’t pass it up. One of the “musts” on my to-do list was to take in one of the many different walking ghost tours offered throughout the city. I’d heard warnings from website patrons about how silly some of the tours were – for instance, featuring people in “period” costume wandering around in the background so that the tour guide could pretend he didn’t see them (ie. because they were ghosts) when they were pointed out, etc. As you know, I am a factual Comtesse and have no patience for such “dramatic license”. I want legitimate stories (well, as legit as ghost stories can really be) and I want no feeble-minded trickery!Given this fact, it seemed only natural that I would select “Ghost Talk Ghost Walk” as my purveyor of late night Southern creepiness. This particular tour group emphasized their lack of theatrics and the fact that most of their stories were taken from the book “Savannah Spectres and Other Strange Tales” – and were based on “validated” tales and historical research. (For example, they don’t include the stories that were featured in “Scariest Places On Earth” – such as the legend of the man-beast René – because they had done historical research and found absolutely no mention of this person in any documents contemporary to the stories.) Now, that’s what I want – all historically sound, yet completely unsubstantiated ghost story – and no fluff!!My friends Nina, Christine and I elected to take one of the 9:00 p.m. tours – because, let’s face it, the darker, the better with this sort of thing! The tour lasts 90 minutes, so that put the ending at a nice late hour… perfect for taking in the warm Southern Gothic atmosphere! Unfortunately, all that late night Gothic atmosphere didn’t lend itself to photography, so I ended up returning to the ghostly places the next day to get the images accompanying this travelogue. So, you’ll have to imagine them at night… or, better still, you’ll have to visit them yourself to get that creepy nocturnal feeling!

Haunted Place #1 – Wright Square
The tour started from Reynolds Square, which is one of the 21 squares that are scattered in an orderly fashion around Savannah. (And that give it much of its quaint charm.) From there, we immediately wandered to the first Creepy Place of the night: Wright Square. Wright Square is morbid and strange for oh so many reasons. Let me count them:

Reason One: There was a grave desecration here in the 1880s!
Yes, it’s sad but, allegedly, true. You see, back in 1739, a Native American named Tomochichi was buried here. Tomochichi, naive soul that he was, was the Yamacraw chief who allowed James Oglethorpe and the first Georgia colonists to settle on Yamacraw Bluff, where they built the town of Savannah. He was a close friend of Oglethorpe and after his death, his buddy buried him in a place of honor in the square. And then, quite naturally, over the years, they forgot that he was buried there, and in the 1880’s the square was dug up (and Tomochichi’s grave torn apart) in the construction of a monument to William Washington Gordon – one of the men behind the establishment of the Georgia Railroad. (Oh yes, now there’s something to celebrate!) They realized later that, oops, that’s where Tomochichi had been buried, and so, to make amends, they put up a rock monument to the dead chief in 1899, on the 160th anniversary of his death. (It states: “In memory of /Tomo-Chi-Chi/The Mico of the Yamacraws/The companion of Oglethorpe [oooh, I say! – Comtesse]/And the friend and ally [ie, sucker] of the/Colony of Georgia”.) So, you know, desecration of a grave = haunted place! Oooooooooohhhhh, Scary!!

Reason Two: Girl Scouts engage in Very Strange Rituals here!
Okay, so maybe the fact that Tomochichi’s bones were disturbed isn’t really all that creepy – but this occurrence has spawned some of the strangest behavior I’ve seen from pre-pubescent girls since Spice World. We observed a gaggle of girl scouts circling the rock several times, chanting something unintelligible, then stopping and putting their ears against the rock, giggling, and running off in fright. Our guide kindly explained this bizarre ritual to us. You see, Girl Scouts flock to Savannah because their founder [ie. guru], Juliet Gordon Low, was born here (and her haunted childhood home will be coming up on our tour). And generation after generation they are told the legend of Tomochichi – which goes like this: If you run around the monument and ask, “Tomochichi, Tomochichi, Where Are You?” and then put your ear to the rock, you’re supposed to hear him reply, “Nowhere”. Because his bones were scattered, so nobody knows where he is! Isn’t that, like, just too creepy cool? Of course, our guide also informed us that the rock is notoriously infested with cockroches – as is the entire square – so there’s no way she’d be putting her ear up to that thing. Actually, maybe that’s why they squeal and run off? Hmmm…

Reason Three: They Used To Hang People Here!
(Did you catch my oh-so-hip popular film reference there? Bravo if you did, Sigh if you did not…) Yes, over by Tomochichi’s grave is the site of the old public gallows. Isn’t that neato? Unfortunately, there’s nothing left to show for it, but you can kind of imagine it if you try. Anyway, it’s suspected that the reason the square is so heavily infested witih cockroches is all those criminal spirits, along with Tomochichi’s spirit, of course, still trying to harrass people after all these years! Cool, eh?

Haunted Place #2 – The Lindsay & Morgan Company Building
So, where in the heck did they bury people after they hung them? Right across the street, of course, at the burial ground. The one right there. Yep, right under that building… and all the other ones on the block. It’s time for the second Creepy Ghost Story! You see that building – the old Lindsay & Morgan Company building? There’s a shop on the first floor and I think there’s an art studio on the second floor – but the 3rd and 4th floors are empty. This is because the owner stopped trying to rent it out because everybody who lived there broke the lease in a few weeks time. Apparently, one of the tenants heard a bunch of noise downstairs one night – like the shopkeeper was moving furniture around – and the next day he mentioned it to the shopkeeper, who claimed that he hadn’t been in the shop that night at all. And a couple of other tenants who were renting the 3rd and 4th floors heard someone walking around downstairs and come up the stairs, stopping just outside the door. This occurred several times until, finally, the footsteps stopped just outside the door and the door handle was turned … slowly … and nothing was there! The couple, who had called the cops at the first sign of an intruder, met the police officers as they fled through the front door and told the police that someone/thing had entered their room. The police did a thorough search of the place and, of course, found nothing. Suffice it to say, they moved out that night…

Haunted Place #3 – The York Lane Theatre
In the center of the block, there’s the York Lane Theatre – also a supposedly haunted building built above the old cemetery. Apparently, one time there was a play going on there, and suddenly the actors noticed some people dressed in Civil War uniforms wandering around the stage. And then they disappeared. Yeah, I know, that one seemed pretty silly to me too…

Haunted Place #4 – The Juliet Gordon Low House
We then wandered a few blocks to the Juliet Gordon Low house: the aforementioned childhood home of the Girl Scouts of America founder. Our tour guide told us about the history of the house, and how the ghost of a woman who lived there before Julia’s parents still haunts the house. In fact, the tour guide worked as a docent there during the day, and she told us that one time a group of Girl Scouts suddenly started screaming hysterically. When she went in to find out what the matter was, they said that they had seen a woman dressed in 19th century apparel walk into the room… and then she disappeared except for her head which remained floating in mid-air for several seconds. Oh, what joy it must be to be a ghost in a house full of Girl Scouts! The opportunities for amusement must be, literally, endless!

Anyway, I digress… The guide told us that she had seen the ghost herself on a couple of occasions, and her story seemed very genuine… Either that, or I’m a sucker – your choice. She also told us that the night before there had been a ghost sighting at the front doorway of the house. Apparently, a guy was shooting with his camcorder and a mist formed in the doorway then disappeared, and he caught it on film. So, why isn’t that video on Fox tonight? Must not have been exciting enough to kick off the car crashes and killer guinea pigs, I guess…

There was also a sighting in the upstairs window of the house, where they had seen someone pull the blinds apart and peer out when nobody was in the house. But, of course, when we were there nothing happened. Damn my rotten luck!!!

Haunted Place #5 – The Pink House
Well, we’ve met the practical joker of the ghost world; now, it’s time to meet the pervert! You see, over at the Pink House restaurant women in bathroom stalls often experience the goosefleshy sensation of having some unseen presence whisper in their ear or touch them. Obviously, this place is inhabited by the ghost of a dirty old man who died before he’d had his fill of sexual harrassment!

Haunted Place #6 – The Marshall House
This is probably my favorite of them all – The Marshall House, now and originally a hotel, but during the Civil War it was used as a hospital. During its restoration a few years ago, some workmen were performing some structural checks in the crawl space under the building, when they kept bumping into hard objects they assumed were rocks. They tossed them aside as they crawled… and then, when they eventually shined their flashlights to see what they’d been bumping into, they turned out to be bones: specifically, human arm and leg bones. You see, during the Civil War, when a limb was struck by the heavily damaging bullets of the day, the usual recourse was amputation (see the National Museum Of Health And Medicine travelogue for more info)… and they had to do something with all those arms and legs. Isn’t that just too cool? I thought so too…

Anyway, supposedly the third floor of the Marshall House is haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers. If anyone has had an experience with one of these ghostly presences, please let me know… because I’ll definitely have to book a stay there!

There were numerous other ghost stories told as well… like the tale of little Gracie (who you might remember from her graveside statue at the Bonaventure Cemetery) who allegedly haunts several spots in the city. But, you know, I didn’t bother getting pictures of any of the other spots. If you have more pics of haunted places to share, by all means feel free!

Chris has some information to add about the Marshall House:
“My father is a hotel developer based out of Atlanta. My father is soley responsible for the renovation to reopen the Marshall House a number of years ago. He found the Marshall House in shambles and decided to begin work to reopen it. My father took on this project
because of his love of Savannah as well as historic preservation. My dad always refers to the Marshall House as his baby. He never made a large profit off the hotel and eventually the other large corporate partners forced him out of his ownership. During the renovation of the hotel my father would tell me of many strange occurrences that happened before the hotel. One of his employees was walking through the hotel late at night by himself when he felt a strong pull on his belt and then heard a man’s voice scream “point your cannons to the east, point your cannons to the east”. Another story happened shortly before the opening. People from the company went to stay in the hotel for a meeting. One woman took her little girl. The little girl comes out of the shower and tells her mom that a little boy tried to bite her in the shower. There are also two rooms in the hotel that the female custodians refuse to clean unless they play loud Christian music because they say that they have bad spirits. Those are the stories that he told me – I just thought you would be interested.”

Anyone have any additional stories, tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!


Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery (Savannah, Georgia)
Comtesse Travelogue to Savannah’s oldest cemetery – a site of duels, lush shrubbery, tragic tombstones, and Civil War marshmallow roasting.

A Campsite For The Ages

Colonial Park Cemetery
Savannah, GA – July 20, 2001

Colonial Park Cemetery
Corner of E. Oglethorpe and Abercorn
Savannah, GA

Ah, Colonial Park Cemetery! Definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Savannah. What a marvelously morbid place. I first heard about it on an episode of “The Scariest Places On Earth” — an episode which discusses a mythical man-beast named René who had supposedly been imprisoned at the Cemetery and had been accused of killing a couple of children whose corpses wound up at the site. Unfortunately, after discussing this story with local historians, it appears that it was a figment of a feverish network imagination, with no real basis in fact. Pity…However, what I did find out about Colonial Park Cemetery definitely places it high on the morbidity scale:

  • Colonial Park Cemetery is either Savannah’s oldest or second oldest cemetery (depending on the source), founded in 1750 and used as a burial ground until the 1850’s
  • Colonial Park Cemetery is the final resting spot for over 700 victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic
  • Colonial Park Cemetery was the site of numerous fatal duels [Elizabeth writes to correct me on this one: “First of all you should know, that contrary to what tour guides tell you, there were NO duels, fatal or otherwise, fought in or even near Colonial Cemetery. The duelists buried in the cemetery (there are only a few) did their duelling elsewhere. One popular spot was on Hutchinson Island. There were also a few at Tybee Island. The duel between Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh was fought a few miles from town on what is now Wheaton Street at a place known as Governor Wright’s meadow.” Oops… my bad.]
  • Colonial Park Cemetery is the resting place of many notable Georgia citizens, including 5 governors and several Revolutionary War soldiers
  • Colonial Park Cemetery was used as a campground by General Sherman’s Soldiers during the Civil War

And Colonial Park Cemetery is just a damned cool place to take a short stroll and ponder the long night of the soul… or, you know, how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop… or whatever else you feel like pondering. Without further ado…


This is the lavish front entrance to the Cemetery, which was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1913 in memory of the Patriots of the Revolutionary War. (Hence the ‘D.A.R.’ in the center – kinda self-serving, don’t you think? Shouldn’t it say ‘C.P.C.’ for Colonial Park Cemetery, or something? Some people…)
This is a nice view of the Cemetery as you enter through the front gate. It was an overcast, rainy day when we were there but you can still grasp the pastoral beauty of the site.
You may have noticed the oddly shaped crypt to the left of the path in the previous picture. Well, so did I. I found these crypts to be positively strange, and even stranger still when their unique shape was explained by our Ghost Tour docent a couple of nights later. You see, these crypts were built in the shape of a bed (with the headboard to the right), to imply everlasting rest. The funny thing is that typically each of these crypts held an entire family – buried one on top of the other. It must be hard to get much rest under those circumstances!

(Death’s Head Detail)

I fell instantly in love with this ‘Death’s Head’ tombstone. I wish we had them like this in California!

HERE lies interrd the
Body of Doct. Samuel
Vickers who departed
this Life Octo. the 15th
Anno Domini 1785. In
the XXX Year of his Age ~~~~~~~

Was born in New Brunswick
Received the honours of the
College at Princeton in N. Jersey.

This Monument is erected to his Me
mory by his affectionte Brother. TLV

So, I have to wonder — do you suppose that the ‘XXX’ is Roman Numerals for 30… or do you think that they forgot to put the year in? Or maybe TLV got a bargain on a “slightly used” headstone and had to make do? Oh, the great mysteries of life… er, death!

I fell absolutely in love with this flowering tree – as you’ll see in several other shots. Yes, variety is not my strong suit… But, isn’t it lovely? [Elizabeth writes to enlighten me: “The lovely trees that bloom in the cemetery are Crepe Myrtles, some of which are well over a 100 years old. “]
Look – there it is again, enshrouding a gravestone…
There were a number of old gravestones attached to a brick wall at the back of the cemetery. Though it seems a bit sad to see them there, instead of atop the bones where they belong, at least they are being well-preserved… Why, you might ask, are they back there? Well, when General Sherman’s troops were occupying the cemetery, they broke off or removed many of the tombstones to make room for their tents. So, now, the graves are no longer marked and the stones are back here against the wall. Now, Savannah has like 20 or something open squares – why did they have to choose the cemetery to make their camp? I guess that’s where Black Sabbath got the inspiration for the title “War Pigs”…

Here’s one of the more poignant stones against the wall — tribute to a lost child and wife:

This Stone
The humble monument of Parental love
covers the Grave of
the Daughter of
John and Ann Drysdale
who departed this life
on the 10th day of March
A. D. 1819
in the 10th year of her age
‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’

And now this stone
which covers the ashes of the Child
of John Drysdale
holds also the body of her Mother his wife
who departed this mortal life to enter upon
one of immortality in the bosom of her
Father and her God
on the 1st day of November in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and twenty.

Here’s another unique and poignant stone on the wall. It’s kind of eroded in spots, but I think this is sort of what it says:

Memory of
Son of
John P. Taylor of Philadelphia
a youth of exemplary department
conciliating manners and flauering promise
who in the 19th year of his age
when unarmed and peaceably walking the streets of
was on the evening of the 11th of November 1811
attacked and inhumanly decimated [?]
by an armed band [?]
belonging to the crews of the French Privateers
La Vengeance and La Franchise

Rest infinite youth far from thy friends inurnd
By strangers honourd and by strangers mournd
Though thy lone turf no kindred drops can lave
Yet virtue hallows with her tears thy grave

I did a search on this one on the internet to see if I could find an accurate transcription of the gravestone and I found this historic chronicle which explains the circumstances of Jacob’s demise rather well…

Isn’t this one nice? The skull and crossbones theme is another that I miss in modern cemeteries…
Another nice view of the wall…

I found the unique stone and the nice tree etching on this one quite captivating:

In Memory of
who died
Feb. 23, 1819,
in the 35 Year
of his Age.

Another interesting epitaph:

In memory of
aged 25 years Son of
of New London Connec.
who was drowned in Sa
vannah River on the [???]
Nov. 1816 [?] his body was fo-
und and here intered by
the Citizens of Savannah
whose quention [?] will ever
be remembered with gra
titude by his Parents and…

Another lovely tree…
Another view…

Look, it’s the grave of Captain Driscoll! Ummm…. I don’t actually remember why I took this shot. The stone is so unremarkable, I think it must be because Capt. Driscoll was somebody historic or something… but damned if I can remember. Any ideas, anyone? Anyway, here’s what the plain epitaph says:

J. H. S.

Here are deposited
the remains of
who departed this
Life on the 21 of April
1810. Aged 47 Years.
He was a native of Ireland.

This monument is erected by his
disconsolate Widow Margaret
Driscoll in testimony of …

One last view of Colonial Park Cemetery – a lovely little slice of morbid history!

Anyone have any additional tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!

For more information on Colonial Park Cemetery, also see:

Elizabeth also has a recommendation:
“I suggest that you read The Old Burying Ground, Colonial Park Cemetery by Elizabeth Piechocinski, which was published by Oglethorpe Press in 1999, and which may be purchased at E. Shaver’s Booksellers, 124 Bull St., Savannah. It might give you a new insight to your interest in this cemetery.”


Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery (Savannah, Georgia)
Comtesse Travelogue to Savannah’s most beautiful cemetery – made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Midday in the Garden of Good and Evil

Bonaventure Cemetery
Savannah, GA – July 23, 2001

Bonaventure Cemetery
330 Bonaventure Road
Savannah, GA 31404

Colonial Park Cemetery may be older and more historic, but Bonaventure Cemetery is definitely the most beautiful of Savannah’s cemeteries. There’s something just hauntingly romantic about the splendid Victorian statuary among Spanish Moss draped trees and the lush greenery. A stroll among these peaceful tombs, surrounded by marshland and rivers, is like walking through the best parts of a Southern Gothic novel.Although it is strikingly beautiful, Bonaventure is not a particularly old cemetery. It was founded on the site of a plantation in 1868 and was originally called Evergreen Cemetery. The name was changed to Bonaventure in 1907. However, Bonaventure is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Savannah. The reason for this can be summed up in eight words: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. John Berendt’s book was partially set in this cemetery, and the haunting cover photograph was taken in its confines. (Dean Smiley writes to inform me:  “The cover photo was taken in Bonaventure but the cemetery setting is actually in Beaufort.  This can be found in the book chapter by the same name as the book.”  Guess I should read that book someday!)  However, so many people were flocking to visit the “Bird Girl” statue that graced the front cover, that the family to whom the tomb belonged decided to move the statue to a museum. (Apparently, the last straw was the day they arrived at the gravesite to find a family of tourists picnicking.) If you want to see the original Bird Girl statue nowadays, you need to go to the Telfair Museum Of Art in Savannah, where it is on permanent display. (I didn’t make it there, myself, while I was in town.)Anyway, enough of my blabbing… On with the show!

I found this carved wood burl to be quite interesting, in a creepy sort of way…

The elegantly sad grave of Charles Hohenstein (Aug. 16, 1854 – Aug. 30, 1915) and his beloved wife Mary Doyle (Mary 27, 1858 – Oct. 1, 1921).


John C. Von Hohenstein wrote on 12/6/07: “I am very pleased that you posted the picture of my ancester’s tomb; Charles and Mary Hohenstein. They are my Great Great Grandparents. Charles and his Brother came from Germany at the end of the Civil War. They were shipping merchants who came to capitalize on the rebuilding of Savannah, Atlanta, and New Orleans. The Hohenstein Shipping Yard is still in operation at the Port of Savannah.”

Lovely flowers grace the grave of Charles Seiler (Aug. 15, 1839 – Jan. 9, 1912) and his beloved wife Ernstine (Nov. 8, 1838 – Jan. 28, 1894)

I really loved this one – the grave of Nannie Herndon Mercer, the beloved wife of George A. Mercer (Dec. 17, 1841 – June 16, 1885).


Here’s the other most famous reason that people visit Bonaventure: Gracie. As the tomb marker states, “Little Gracie Watson was born in 1883, the only child of her parents. Her father was manager of the Pulaski Hotels, where the beautiful and charming little girl was a favorite with the guests. Two days before Easter, in April 1889, Gracie died of pnemonia at the age of six. In 1890, when the rising sculptor, John Walz, moved to Savannah, he carved from a photograph this life-sized, delicately detailed marble statue, which for almost a century has captured the interest of all passersby.”

Gracie’s ghost is rumored to haunt numerous Savannah buildings as well (more on that in the upcoming Ghost Tour), so she continues to be an intrinsic part of Savannah folklore.

Unfortunately, little Gracie has taken some abuse over the years. You’ll notice her nose is chipped – that’s thanks to a well-aimed rock thrown by some boys in the 1940s. With all the extra publicity around the cemetery sinceMidnight in the Garden, some steps have been taken to try and protect Gracie from harm (intentional or unintentional). There’s now a tall iron fence around her grave (I had to get my shots by sticking the camera through the gaps in the fence). However, there has been some evidence that idiots have been climbing the fence to get at Gracie. It’s quite sad to think that someone would want to damage such a beautiful piece of history and artistry…

Another beauty…

And still another eerie beauty – this one for Corinne Elliott Lawton who died on January 24th, 1877.

“Allured to brighter worlds
and led the way.”

SavannahNow provides some background info:

“Corinne Lawton died at the age of 33 in 1877. Her father was A.R. Lawton, who had risen in ranks to become the Quartermaster General for the Confederacy. After he died, a building was erected on Bull Street and dedicated to the memory of the father and daughter. The Lawton Memorial was an auditorium where the public could hear a musical recital, attend a lecture, or hear speeches from the politicians. Sold in the 1940s, the Lawton Memorial is what we know today as St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church.”

Here’s Jesus standing beside the Gateway to the Beyond. I mainly took this one to show the river beyond the cemetery. What a wonderful place to spend eternity… unless, of course, you’re afraid of water!

This simple grave is actually my personal favorite, because you know I love those olde “death head” sculptures. “Be Of Good Courage,” is a refreshingly simple epitaph as well. The grave itself – though it looks very old – actually dates from 1920, strangely enough. The top of the grave is too difficult to read for me to display for you, but it wins the Gravestone Cliché award by a country mile:

“He fought the Good Fight
He ran the Straight Race
His children shall rise up
Forever more and call
him Blessed”

(Yeah, I thought it would rhyme too – go figure…)

Here’s a very poignant gravestone for two doomed children of G. & C. R. Hartman: Mary R. M. (Oct. 9, 1858 – April 18, 1860) and Emma C. (Oct. 15, 1860 – March 4, 1861).

Here’s another of my favorite statues in the cemetery. The staining on the face adds a certain creepy quality to it, don’t you think? This is the grave of Gertrude A. Bliss, wife of Thomas H. McMillan (October 15, 1864 – April 14, 1903)


I guess now we know where the Army got their slogan, huh?

Deborah Coffey wrote me with this little tidbit of information: “One comment, we stayed at the McMillan Inn…absolutely awesome Bed and Breakfast.  The pretty McMillan lady statue is that of the 2nd wife of the man that owned the house.  He is in the same section, buried next to his first wife.”

Here’s another nice angel statue… With a fearfully sad look on its face…

Another beautiful and tragic children’s tomb, this one for Pearce (Sept. 21, 1892 – May 24, 1895) and Catherine (June 28, 1904 – Oct. 23, 1906) Wheless. They certainly don’t make intricate sculptures like this anymore…

Here’s a nice landscape view of the cemetery. Don’t you wish you were strolling through those grounds right now? (I do…)

Isn’t it about time for a Famous Person’s grave? Well, here we are then – Johnny Mercer!! Oh, come on – you must surely know Johnny Mercer! He’s the lyrical genius behind such songs as “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” “Fools Rush In,” “That Old Black Magic,” and – the masterpiece – “Moon River” (best when sung/altered by Morrissey):

“Moon River, wider than a mile
I’ll be crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way
Two drifters off to the see the world
I’m not so sure the world deserves us
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
It’s just around the bend…
It’s just around the bend…
It’s always just around the bend”

I thought these gateways gave a suitably atmospheric tone to the lush cemetery landscape.

Another sad tombstress in repose…
A charming cherubic detail from one of the larger statues…
And with one last sad dropping of flower petals we bid adieu to Bonaventure Cemetery – one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.

For more excellent photos of the cemetery, check out Dana’s collection.

Anyone have any additional tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!

For more information on Bonaventure Cemetery, also see:
Northstar Gallery 
Savannah Now

Georgia Lunatic Asylum


Georgia Lunatic Asylum (Milledgeville, Georgia)
A Comtesse Travelogue to the old asylum, built in 1842 and still partially in use.

Where Have All the Loonies Gone?

Georgia Lunatic Asylum 
Milledgeville, GA – April 20, 2003 

Georgia Lunatic Asylum (aka Central State Hospital)
US 441 South to Swint Avenue
Milledgeville, GA
Central State Hospital Museum
Broad Street
Located on the Grounds of Central State Hospital
Phone: 478-445-6713

While in Milledgeville to visit the slave graves at Memory Hill Cemetery I heard of the existence of an old partially abandoned asylum just outside of town. I decided to divert to the asylum on my way home. I was not disappointed. Although part of the complex is still in use, and the part that isn’t is heavily patrolled, I was still able to get some nice pictures of the abandoned buildings.I was able to find a short history of the asylum at the Georgia AGHP website: “In 1837 a law was enacted to establish a state lunatic asylum. 57 1/2 acres of land was purchased to erect the first buildings. Completed in October 1842 and open for patients December 15, 1842. The first patient was identified as Tilman B., brought from Macon, tied to a wagon. He died 6 months later. The first building for black patients was erected in 1866. Georgia Lunatic Asylum name was changed to the Georgia State Sanitarium Sep. 1, 1898; to Milledgeville State Hospital in 1929 and to Central State Hospital in 1967.”I parked and began walking around the complex, and this is what I saw…

This is the remains of the Walker Building (Male Convalescent Building), built in the 1884. This building served as the admission ward for white males.

This is the Green Building down the street. It is still in use.

The crumbling steps up to the Walker Building.

This sign struck me as particularly representative of segregation.

The cornerstone.

A nice shot of the front of this beautiful old building.

I saw an open door to the basement and was ever-so-tempted to make a move… and I would have if not for 2 factors: 1) Cop cars were passing by with frightful regularity; and 2) I didn’t have a flashlight and it looked awfully dark in there. I contented myself with taking some shots through windows instead… Yes, I am a coward.

I began circling around the building, documenting the decay as I went…

Broken windows to peer through.

Various shots of the rear of the Walker Building.

Here are a couple of my patented “stick your camera through a hole and see what turns up” shots.

Another shot from the rear of the building.

Ah, the musky organic smell of decay!

I quite like this “stick your camera through a hole shot” – which captures an old decrepit rather dungeon-like bathroom.

Oh, I wish I’d gotten the courage up to go in there!

Another nice interior shot.

A lovely niche.

One final shot of the Walker Building.

I am always worried about being run off of these abandoned sites (I lasted about five minutes at Kings Park Asylum in New York), so I was actually relieved to see that they don’t shy away from the tourist-aspect of old asylums here. There is a museum in one of the occupied buildings (which was sadly closed when I was there – it’s open by appointment only), and there was a historic marker as you enter up the driveway: “MILLEDGEVILLE STATE HOSPITAL: In 1837, largely through the influence of Tomlinson Fort and William A. White, the legislature appropriated $20,000 for a dormitory near Milledgeville where the state’s mentally ill could receive custodial care. A four-story building was opened on this site in 1842 and together with various later additions became known as the Center Building. Originally serving only pauper patients, services were expanded for all bona fide citizens. Dr. David M. Cooper (serving 1843-1846) was the first Superintendent and was followed by Dr. Thomas F. Green (1847-1879) and Dr. Theophilus O. Powell (1879-1907).”

After I finished photographing the Walker Building, I drove further up into the complex, past the portion of the asylum which is still being used today to treat mental illness and developmental disabilities. There are some abandoned buildings up in this area as well, which are even nicer-looking than the Walker building. Alas, being so deep into the complex, there would be very little chance of breaking into one of these buildings without getting caught by the ever-lurking security.

This is the current administrative building – the Powell Building – which was built in 1856 and is obviously one of the most historic structures in the Milledgeville area. Beautiful, but occupied.

I took some pictures of one of the unused structures but most of them did not turn out, so I’m not sure what building it was. However, this image did turn out and I quite like it.

Here’s another building that is in current use. Of course, I had to take a picture of it simply for the sign.

This is the building that houses the museum, which is open by appointment only. Alas, I didn’t make an appointment…

This is the cornerstone of the building showing that it was building 1883.

This is my favorite abandoned building – the Jones Building. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s really a shame they’re letting such a nice building rot away.

I adore the colorful cornice over the front entrance.

The title “L M Jones Building” can be seen over this doorway.

A sadly faded Visiting Hours sign.

A sign from the side of the Jones Building shows that it was built in 1928-1929.


I walked around the perimeter of the Jones Building taking pictures, wishing I could get inside where the good stuff is! Aren’t those urns atop the building nice?

Such a majestic building – you’d think they would have found SOME use for it?

A nice old rusting stairway at the rear of the Jones building.

A sad, lonely bench behind the Jones Building. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people had sat upon it, and what became of them…

One last shot of the majestic old building, taken from the road.

At this point, I bid the old Georgia Lunatic Asylum farewell, regretful that I wasn’t able to see more of it. Maybe one of these days I’ll go back and actually get inside the buildings.

For additional information see:

Central State Hospital 

Anyone have any additional stories, tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!

Memory Hill Cemetery

Memory Hill Cemetery (Milledgeville, Georgia)
A Comtesse Travelogue to the slave graves of Milledgeville.

Trudging Up Memory Hill

Memory Hill Cemetery 

Milledgeville, GA – April 20, 2003 

Memory Hill Cemetery
Liberty and Franklin Streets
Milledgeville, GA

I was stationed in Augusta, Georgia for several weeks in 2003 for a grueling work project. During my weekends, I took excursions to various towns to try to immerse myself in some of the dark history in the state. And let’s face it, there is a LOT of it here. The thing I found most interesting about Georgia (as with most of the South), is the way that much of that dark history goes unmentioned. You don’t see museums dedicated to the history of slavery here. That whole chapter of history seems very much to be swept under the rugs. However, the evidence of slavery and segregation scars the countryside, if you know where to look for it.I had read an article about “slave grave markers” and my curiosity was piqued. It seems that there was an old tradition in the 19th century of putting 1-3 chain links on the gravesites of slaves. One link meant that the individual interred was born into slavery, but lived most of their adult life free and died free; two links meant they were born into slavery, lived most of their lives in slavery, but died free; and three links mean they lived their entire life as a slave. I found it very sad to think that the entire measure of their lives could be symbolized by three chain links, and decided that I had to find some of these slave markers myself, to pay homage to the forgotten men and women buried beneath them. (Update 5/29/11 – Adam Selzer suggests an alternate explanation for the three links: “The three links of chains are often said to signify being born, living, and dying in bondage around town, but it’s not quite accurate. There are certainly slave graves in Memory Hill, but the three links of chain are actually symbols denoting that the buried person was a member of the Odd Fellows, the secret club that workers joined while their bosses joined the Freemasons or Shriners.” I hope that’s not true… it’s very unpoetic.)On an overcast April day, I set off to Milledgeville, Georgia to try to find historic Memory Hill Cemetery. I wish I’d done a bit more homework because I later read about numerous very interesting historic graves that I was completely unaware of on my trip, so I consider this visit to be sadly unfinished business, but I did find the slave graves that I was looking for, and for that reason the trip was satisfactory. I also managed to stumble across an old asylum (see part two of the travelogue), which was doubly interesting. So, without further ado, here’s my trip to Milledgeville…

On my drive to Milledgeville, I came across this abandoned old “Country Store,” which I thought was quite photogenic. There were lots of reminders of the past like this littering the backstreets.

Here’s the Milledgeville City Hall. Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia from 1807 to 1867 and is filled with grand old buildings befitting such an honor. This one isn’t one of them, but it is nice.

This is one of my favorite buildings in Milledgeville – the Old Baldwin County Courthouse, built in 1885.

I always get a kick out of fallout shelter signs. They are such a throwback to the ’50’s. You never see these things in California.

After photographing the Old Courthouse, I finally arrived at Memory Hill Cemetery. The first gravestone that caught my attention was this modern one in the shape of a fiddle – the grave of Randy D. Howard (1960-1999), “World Champion Fiddler”. Randy died after a bout with cancer.

Memory Hill Cemetery was originally designated as one of the four public squares of twenty acres each in the Milledgeville town plan of 1803. It later came to be known as Cemetery Square. Many people associated with Milledgeville and Georgia history, such as L.Q.C. Lamar, Congressman Carl Vinson, and Flannery O’Connor, as well as early Georgia governors, legislators, college presidents, slaves, and soldiers, are buried here. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that Flannery O’Connor was buried here during my trip, or I surely would have sought her grave out, being a huge fan of her work. Damn!!

I thought this grave with the lamb lying down (which kind of looks more like a camel lying down to me) was kind of creepy.

youngest daughter of
E. S. & J. S. Candler,
Born 25th July
Died 28th January
1 year 6 months
& 3 days.

This is one of the most interesting inscriptions I’ve run across in some time. I love it when they tell you how they died.

memory of
who died on the 16th
July, AD 1845, from the
accidental discharge
of a cannon at the
funeral obsequies
Honest, mirthful and beloved
he acquired the title of
It lives with his

This section of the cemetery contains the remains of the sadly forgotten patients of the nearby Georgia Lunatic Asylum (from 1842-1858). I stopped here for a minute and tried to imagine what sort of horrors a psych patient would have faced in the period of 1842-1858! After shuddering violently for a few seconds, I moved on…

This was an interesting gravestone as well:

He was an orderly, industrious and respected
citizen – a native of
Aged about 50 years at the time of his death and
shot down by a Federal Soldier on the 30th day of
Nov. 1864,
on the advance of Gen. Sherman’s Army on

I loved this memorial fountain – there should be more of these in cemeteries, don’t you think?

In memory of my play-mate
JULY 15, 1909

In the very back of the cemetery I found the slave burial area. Of course, even in death, the bodies of the slaves were segregated from non-slaves. I wandered about taking photographs of the poignant chains that serve as the only memorial to the men and women buried beneath them.

Since I didn’t know any better at the time, I neglected to visit the Devil’s Gate, or the grave of Flannery O’Connor at the Memory Hill Cemetery. Instead, I drove over to investigate the beautiful gothic Old State Capitol Building, built in 1807. The Old Capitol is considered the first example of Gothic architecture in a public building in the United States. It served as the seat of government for the State of Georgia from 1807 to 1868 and in its legislative chambers the Secession Convention was held in 1861. The beautiful gates at the north and south entrances to the square were constructed in the 1860’s, after the War Between the States, of bricks from the arsenal destroyed by Sherman’s soldiers. Three times the building was partially destroyed by fire. Since 1879, Georgia Military College has occupied the historic site. The building was renovated in 2000 and now houses a regional historical museum and the newly restored Legislative Chamber, where some of Georgia’s greatest debates took place, including the Secession Convention.


The Georgia Lunatic Asylum

For additional information see:
Memory Hill Cemetery

Anyone have any additional stories, tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!

Rose Hill Cemetery

Rose Hill Cemetery (Macon, Georgia)
xpatriot recommends this cemetery, which is allegedly one of the most beautiful in the world. Jenn agrees: “Rose Hill cemetery in Macon, Ga is quite beautiful, and the Jewish section is especially great if you are into tombstones that are distinctive. Also, that particular boneyard houses celebrity remains. I won’t ruin anything for you by explaining further.”