12 June 2008

Good and Evil

Ok, so this post will only cover two squares, since there is more to see on these. We begin in Monterey Square, laid out in 1847 and named for the battle in the Mexican War, which the local Irish Jasper Greens participated in.

This is the Mercer-Wilder house on Monterey Square. You may recognize it, because it was made famous in the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as well as being the set for many other movies. The house itself was designed by John Norris for General Hugh Weedon Mercer, and was begun in 1860, but due to the war, was not completed until 1868 by its new owner John Wilder. The house's original claim to fame was that the singer Johnny Mercer lived here. This is simply not true. While General Mercer was Johnny's father, you can see from the dates that the Mercer familly never actually lived in the house. The house was briefly used as a Shriner Temple, when an upstairs ballroom and organ were added, before it was finally bought by Jim Williams, an early Savannah preservationist in 1969. He is the central character in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, written by John Berendt. The book is the true story of Jim killing his assistant, and the following murder trial. Berendt wrote the book partly because of all the amazing characters involved, who are described in the first half of the book, and also because the entire trial story was truly amazing. Most people who read the book do not realize until the author's note at the end that it is a true story. I do highly recommend the book, but as a warning, it does heavily involve homosexuality and voodooism, so if these bother you, don't read it. The house is currently owned by Jim's sister, who allows tours of the bottom floor, but pictures are not allowed so that is all I will say about that.

This is the Pulaski Monument in Monterey Square. Pulaski, killed in the Battle of Savannah, was detailed in the last post. Strange thing about Savannah's Squares is that some persons have a square named after them, and a monument in a different square.

I don't know what this building is, but it caught my eye.
Next up is this pair of canon on Madison Square. The stone beneath this one reads:"Here in 1735 was the begining of the road to Darien now called the Ogeechee Road, probably the first road laid out in Georgia; with the assistance of Tomochichi."
This one reads: "Northwest of this spot, on Liberty and West Broad Streets, Began the Augusta Road, one of the Oldest in Georgia."

This is the Jasper statue (also the title picture)that is the centerpiece of Madison Square, laid out in 1837 and named for President Madison.
Sergeant William Jasper was a distinguished soldier in the 2nd South Carolina during the Revolution. During the British attack on Fort Moultrie in 1776, Jasper rescued the South Carolina Flag that had been shot off the fort. He held it on the fort wall, under heavy British fire, until it could be reattached to a post. For his bravery, he was given a golden sword by South Carolina Governor Rutledge. According to legend, he performed a similar feat of saving the colors at the Battle of Savannah, where he was killed.
Marker noting the location of British defenses in the Battle of Savannah.

St John's Episcopal Church, built in 1853 by Calvin Otis. The chimes were originally eight donated bells, now numbering forty-seven.
The Green-Meldrim House, designed in 1853 by John Norris for Charles Green. This house is where General Sherman stayed in 1864 when he occupied Savannah. The house is now used by the church.

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