Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: Touring Mercer House

I’ve just recently returned from a few days in the port city, Savannah and my trip had me thinking about the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The movie was based on the book of the same title written by author, John Berendt. I’ve visited this beautiful Georgia city several times over the years, including back in June 1995, the year after the book was published. In case you aren’t familiar, the city of Savannah is a planned city, designed by General James Oglethorpe. He designed the city around squares and ultimately it grew to have 24 beautiful, picturesque squares, of which 22 still remain today. The squares make Savannah a unique and lovely place to visit.

On that visit in 1995 I bought an autographed copy of the book in V. & J. Duncan Antique Maps, Prints & Books located on East Taylor Street which is on Monterey Square.

Tour Mercer House in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Movie



After I purchased a copy of the book in their shop, Virginia Duncan autographed it for me on page 142 where she is mentioned in the book. Now my book had two autographs. 🙂

Tour Mercer House in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Movie


I would manage to get it autographed one more time during that 1995 visit by yet, another one of the real live characters of the book, Emma Kelly…you’ll meet her later in this post.


It was exciting and wonderfully strange experiencing the actual places and meeting the real people you read about in the book. It’s not often you get the opportunity to fall into the rabbit hole, talk to the characters, touch the places and live the story. And quite the story it is! It’s all about art, antiques, parties, drag queens, voo doo, cemeteries, eccentric characters, murder and revenge.

During that long-ago 1995 visit to Savannah, we did the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Book Tour” which you can still take today. The tour took us to all the places made famous in the book, and later in the movie released in 1997 starring Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Jude Law and many of the town folk of Savannah. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood.


During my visit this past week, I was able to tour Mercer House where much of the movie was filmed. Mercer House, previously owned by Jim Williams, a prominent art and antique dealer, is now “The Mercer Williams House Museum.” It is currently owned by Mr. William’s sister, Dorothy, and is open for tours each day. Photography wasn’t allowed inside the home, but I’ve snagged a few pics from the movie to share. I asked about the furniture that’s in the home today and was told by our guide that much of it is the same as it was in the movie. Of course, some pieces have been reupholstered over the years.

When I visited and took this photograph in 1995, the exterior of this 7,000 sq. ft. The Italianate home looked the same as it does in the movie released in 1997. Mercer House was designed by New York architect, John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer who was the great grandfather of Johnny Mercer, the famous songwriter/singer. Construction of the house began in 1860 but it came to a halt during the time of the War Between the States. A gentleman by the name of John Wilder purchased the home and completed it in 1868.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


When I visited again last week, I noticed very few things have changed since the movie was filmed here. (See pic below.) Gone is the heavy vine seen growing above the door in the movie. As you might expect, the palm on the right side is much larger, as are the shrubs lining the walkway. Other than that, the exterior of the house today is very much as it was in the movie. This photo below was taken last week.

Mercer House


The book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is based on a true story about Jim Williams. Of course, John Berendt added and embellished to make it more exciting. Mr. Williams bought Mercer house in 1969 after it had been vacant for over a decade. He restored it, as he did 50+ houses in Savannah during his lifetime.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the movie from Wikipedia:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is atmospheric and Southern Gothic in tone, depicting a wide range of eccentric Savannah personalities.
The action that serves as a catalyst in the book is the killing of Danny Hansford, a local male prostitute (characterized as “a good time not yet had by all”) by respected antique dealer Jim Williams. Four murder trials resulted, with the final one ending in acquittal after the judge finally agreed to move the case away from the Savannah jury pool. The book characterizes the killing as the result of a lovers’ quarrel, not a pre-meditated murder. The death took place in Williams’ home, originally built by an ancestor of songwriter and Savannah native Johnny Mercer.
The novel also highlights many other residents of Savannah, most notably The Lady Chablis, a local drag queen and entertainer. Chablis provides both a Greek chorus of sorts as well as a light-hearted contrast to the more serious action.
The book’s plot is based on real-life events that occurred in the 1980s and is classified as non-fiction. Because it reads like a novel, it is sometimes referred to as a “non-fiction novel” or “faction”, a sub-genre popularized by Truman Capote and Norman Mailer. (Booksellers generally feature the title in the “true crime” subsection.) It is among the most popular non-fiction releases of all time.
The title alludes to the hoodoo notion of “midnight”, the period between the time for good magic and the time for evil magic, and “the garden of good and evil,” which refers principally to Bonaventure Cemetery.
The famous Bird Girl statue, originally designed both as art and as a birdseed holder, was originally located at Bonaventure. A Savannah photographer, Jack Leigh, was commissioned to take a photograph for the cover of the book and created his now famous photograph of the statue. The Bird Girl was relocated in 1997 for display in the Telfair Museum in Savannah.

Let’s take a tour of this beautiful home as seen during the making of the movie.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Jim Williams was known for his elaborate and over-the-top Christmas parties. Savannahians eagerly checked their mailboxes each Christmas to see if they had made the cut and would receive a much-coveted invite.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Last Sunday, I was standing in the same spot as John Cusack in this scene from the movie. I probably had the same gawking look on my face, too. 🙂 The home is filled with amazing art and rare antiques. To be honest, I’m shocked they allow the public in to tour this house. There are many valuable paintings and antiques throughout the home. When our guide pointed out crystal candlesticks given by Martha Washington to her daughter when she married, I was stunned. They were literally 3 feet in front of me, just sitting on a sideboard unprotected and easily within arms reach. Visit the home now before they come to their senses and put everything in a museum behind locked glass and roped off rooms. The tile in this entry is still in beautiful shape. Really, the whole home is just beautiful. The walls are still painted the soft peach color Jim Williams so loved.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


The tour guide told us the dining room table was turned in the movie (as shown below) to create more space for the party that takes place in this room. It was turned the other direction during our visit last week. Many of the characters in the movie are actual town folk and play themselves. I think that was the case for the caterers of the party, if I’m remembering correctly.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Emma Kelly, known as the “Lady of 6,000 songs” has a whole chapter of the book devoted to her. She got her nickname from Savannah-born songwriter Johnny Mercer, who challenged her to play numerous songs that he named. He estimated she knew at least 6,000 songs from memory. Emma always played for Jim Williams at his Christmas party each year and she played herself in the movie. She’s the other person from the book/movie who autographed my book back in 1995. When I met her, I found her to be a genuinely caring and generous soul. You can just tell by the sweet autograph/comment she wrote in my copy of the book. (Just scroll back up to read it.)

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


John Cusack plays a reporter by the name of John Kelso. I think John Berendt was channeling through Cusack. In the movie, he has been assigned to write a story about Jim Williams stunning parties, but he uncovers a much more interesting story along the way.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Prior to Jim Williams purchasing the home, the walls of three rooms upstairs were taken down to create one large ballroom. In the movie, Jim takes John upstairs to show him a very rare gun that he keeps in the box he is unlatching here in this scene.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


In the movie, Jim tells John about his neighbor’s (Lee and Emma Adler) dogs that bark and annoy him. To get revenge, he plays this organ in the ball room really loud.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


It would rival some organs found in churches. John is stunned when the curtains roll back to reveal these giant pipes. The movie is full of crazy moments like this.


Here’s a picture I took of Lee & Emma Adler’s House when I was in Savannah in 1995 on the “book tour.” Their home is the one on the left and is across the street from Mercer House on Monterey Square.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


While we are looking at other houses from the movie, here’s one more. In the movie, John Kelso also meets Mandy Nicholls (played by Alison Eastwood) and Joe Odom (played by Paul Hipp) when Mandy comes to borrow ice from the guest house where he is staying out back behind Mercer House. Mandy invites John back to a party in this house known as the Hamilton-Turner House. I took this photo of it on my trip in 1995. Not sure why it was decorated this way back then. I believe it was open for tours, though we didn’t go in. You can read more about the filming locations via Wikipedia.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


The movie is truly filled with eccentric characters. One scene involving a character named Luther takes place in Clary’s Cafe, seen here in this photo I took in 1995. In the movie, Luther has a small bottle of poison that he carries around with him wherever he goes. Apparently, Savannhians are worried he will dump the poison into the river and poison them all one day. 😉

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


As you can see in the photo I took last week, it still looks pretty much the same as it did at the time of the movie, except there’s a huge building behind it now. Clary’s Cafe is a popular tourist destination as you might imagine, but we didn’t have to wait long to be seated when we ate there in 1995 or last week. The food is quite good, too.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Back downstairs in Mercer House, Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) and John Kelso (John Cusack) are talking after the Christmas party. We get a few more views of the interior of Mercer House.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Jim is flattering John (buttering him up for the article he will write. John is trying to stay objective in his role as “reporter.”

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


After the party, Jim (Kevin Spacey) and Billy Hanson (played by Jude Law) who is living with Jim, get into an argument. Billy threatens Jim when he refuses to give him money that he’s demanding.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


The argument escalates and a shooting (some would say murder) takes place that night after the party. Here investigators are questioning Jim Williams after being called to the home. Suddenly the party John Kelso is supposed to be writing about seems rather boring.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Jim Williams sits with his cat as the investigation is taking place. He has shot and killed Billy Hanson, and states it was in self-defense. He will be tried 4 times before ultimately being acquitted.  Have you noticed how the furniture is positioned away from the walls in almost all the rooms.  These beautiful old homes have windows on two, sometimes three sides and it forces you to NOT line up the furniture around the walls.  I love that!  Of course, the rooms are also nice and large so you have room to place furniture toward the center and still walk around behind it.  I just love the way the furniture is positioned in the room…feels so free and open and so conducive to conversation, flow and movement.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Another view of the exterior as the body is being carried away in the movie.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


This is the office where the shooting occurs. When we entered the office on the tour last week, the guide told us, “This is the room where Mr. Williams defended his life.” What a polite, southern way to say this is where Mr. Williams shot Billy Hanson. (In real life, Jim Williams shot Danny Hansford. The name is changed in the movie.)

They never mentioned on our tour that Mr. Williams dropped dead in this exact room a few months after being released from prison after his last trial. Some say it was Billy (Danny) getting revenge. Ummm…I’ll let you decide that.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Mercer William House Museum all lit up at night time. The chandeliers in Mercer House are stunning! If you tour this home, you’ll love the view looking up the curving stairway to the gorgeous ceiling several stories up. Apparently, Mr. Williams did the restoration work on the ceiling himself. The home truly is beautiful inside and a must see if you visit Savannah.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


The Bird Girl statue (called this because she is actually a bird feeder) was originally pictured on the cover of the book. She stood for many years in Bonaventure Cemetery. Bonaventure is such a lovely, peaceful place. It sits alongside the Wilmington River and is filled with Live Oak Trees dripping in Spanish moss. It is also just a few miles away from Wormsloe and beautiful Isle of Hope.  If you have time, check out these two previous post.  Wormsloe and Isle of Hope are absolutely beautiful places.

The Bird Girl eventually had to be moved to the Telfair Museum after the book and movie came out. Folks were vandalizing the sculpture. You can still see her if you visit the museum.

Tour the home in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Of course, these days you can buy copies or near copies for your own garden. I’ve had one for many years tucked in among the daylilies along my front walkway. They are for sale all over Savannah, too.


Hope you enjoyed this tour of Mercer House! For additional Movie House Tours, click on the category heading Movie House Tours at the top of this blog or click,  HERE.

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  1. Hi Susan! What a treat to get to tour this marvelous house! I loved this book and loved the movie too!
    What a hoot!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Barbara B. H. says

      Just got back from Savannah which I re-visited with my granddaughter and two adult children who were born there. When my recent grad husband taught at adjacent Armstrong College, for three of eleven years we lived two houses around the corner overlooking Monterey Square. I took my baby boy to Forsythe Park where we’d see the son of author Conrad Aiken with his nanny. So much history, and so many talented people have always lived there.

      We’d met people in the book and the movie like John Duncan and saw Johnny Mercer bring a bottle to his niece’s party —with a police escort, no less.

      What a beautiful (mostly) fairy tale-like place. I’d love to move in for a month in the more temperate Fall.

  2. Splendid Sass says

    I have read the book but have not seen the movie. I think I will pick it up and watch this weekend.
    Great post. Savannah is such an interesting town.
    Have a nice Memorial day.

  3. Sixpence and A Blue Moon says

    Great post! Loved this movie…and what a treat to visit your post and recall the wonderful scenes and fabulous houses that were featured in the movie.

  4. Blogging About All Things Beachy says

    Hi there – I visited Savannah in October of 2009 – I fell in love with that city and hope to get back there soon – it is such a mystical, special, beautiful place – I love all the history that the town oozes – ghost tours galore, too.

    Thanks for sharing –

    Linda (aka beachside cottage)

  5. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says

    how interesting! I read that book and thought it would be a fun place to visit!

  6. ~Tablescapes By Diane~ says

    Hi lovely lady.
    I also love the movie Susan. need to get the book some time. I hope you have a Great Weekend.

  7. Rettabug says

    I'd forgotten all about that movie! I must check it out again…you've wet my appetite for some Southern Charm.
    Thanks for taking us along on the tour.


  8. Miss Char says

    One of my most favorite cities, thanks for the great tour Susan. I am fortunate enough to have a very good friend who lives in Savannah so I do get to visit often. As luck would have it she is on her way up here this weekend to visit me.

    I love the book and the movie and I too have the bird girl in my front yard. Of course up here in Yankee land no one but me knows who she is.

    My favorite line from the movie…

    John Kelso: Hey, Joe, what happened?
    Joe Odom: Oh, that Jim Williams went and shot somebody. Canapé?

  9. Susan, I love that movie, especially because Sonny Seiler was in it as the judge and of course Uga. I'd love to see the Mercer house in person. Maybe one day. But until then I'll just look at your great post again.
    Sorry you couldn't make it to the Atlanta area bloggers luncheon. Maybe next time. Hope you have a great Memorial Day.

  10. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Babs, I was sorry to have to miss it. I had already committed to going on a garden tour that weekend with a friend. I hope to make the next one! 🙂

  11. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Miss Char, I love that line! Sooo funny! Can't let a shooting get in the way of good food. lol

  12. Great post! As I mentioned to you I just returned from Savannah too and our tour guide did mention that Mr. Williams died in the same room where he "defended his life."
    Great tour, beautiful antiques and such lovely wall colors. Did you see those birds under glass in the animal room? Now that was kind of freaky! LOL

    Savannah is a stunning and interesting place. I am planning on going back.

    From Virginia

  13. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Mary, yep, I was standing right by the birds, and those huge turtles on the wall…and the giant wasps nest. That was definitely an unusual room.

  14. One of my all time favorite movies! Thanks for the tour of the home! I always wondered about the scene when he is arguing with Billy and Billy grabs that grandfather clock and throws it to the floor! I know they stage these things but I remember thinking OMG!! Boy Jude Law sure has changed and gotten a lot more handsome! Kevin Spacey couldn't have done the roll any better! I love all the characters in the movie, they are all so colorful! I hope I can visit it someday.

  15. Anonymous says

    Great review–loved the movie!

  16. Sharlotte says

    Hi Susan,
    My husband and I toured this home this past Spring Break and loved it too. I now have the book and it's on my list to read this summer. This was our first trip to Savannah…we had a great time seeing all the amazing sites. Did you get a chance to visit Tybee Island? We did, just by chance. It was great too!

  17. Scribbler says

    Great reminders of my time in Savannah. I once lived in another house mentioned in The Book — The General Bartow House.

  18. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Sharlotte, just briefly…wish we had stayed longer there. We did eat at The Breakfast Club…so much fun and great food!

  19. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Scribbler…how cool is that!

  20. Momma Button says

    My sister was there in January!! We are planning a girls vacay for next year. LOVE this movie. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I remember the first time I watched the movie (prior to reading the book and knowing nothing about it). The end shot with Kevin Spacey and Jude Law lying on the floor looking at each other literally gave me goose-bumps!! Great to see the house and your autographed book! Thanks for sharing…

  22. Jessabells says

    Thank u, Thank u, Thank u for posting this great story!! I love the book and the movie. Now to go find my copy of the movie or look it up on Netflix and watch it again. I promised my mother that one day we would visit Savannah as soon as I graduate and find a job to pay for the trip.

    Have a great weekend,

  23. A Quilter Awakens says

    Lovely, informative post about Savannah. I enjoyed every word. Karmen

  24. A Quilter Awakens says

    Lovely, informative post about Savannah and its most famous tome. I enjoyed every word. Karmen

  25. Richard Cottrell says

    Oh to have gone too. I want to go so bad. Maybe in a year or so. Thanks for sharing. The movie was very disappointing to me, especially since Clint Eastwood directed. I thought the acting was very poor. I have seen all of them do much better. The book was so much better. But would be fun to see where it actually takes place.Thanks for sharing and have a Great Memorial day. Richard at My Old Historic House

  26. Wow that's so cool! I would love to see the Mercer house, looks beautiful 🙂

  27. Pattie @ Olla-Podrida says

    What a GREAT post! Loved the book, loved the movie, have been longing to go to Savannah for years. Thanks for the lovely pictures and commentary.

  28. Thanks so much for this post, this is one of my favorite movies! I didn't realize that is was a true story, I had imagined it was fiction. How interesting, I need to buy the book!

  29. Anonymous says

    I have been to Savannah many times. It is a charming place to visit. We were there on a family vacation when they were filming this movie. My husband and I took our then 14 year old daughter and her friend. I said "Oh look, there is Clint Eastwood!" My daughter and her friend said "Who is Clint Eastwood?" I will never forget it.

  30. Ann Haller says

    Thanks Susan!!! It has always been one of my favorite movies!!!! I could watch it over and over. The characters are well, characters. When I read that a lot of locals were in the cast it made the movie more authentic.
    I would love to know if Lady Chablis still does her act at her club.

  31. SavannahGranny says

    WOW! I am ashamed of myself. MEGA DITTOS to everything you said about my fair city. Your talents reveal my home city so much better than I could even fathom.
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful grandeur of Savannah. Y'ALL COME, YOU HEAR!!
    Hugs, Ginger 🙂

  32. mississippi artist says

    I loved this book and movie and your post about it! I visited many of these places several years ago, but my favorite will always be Bonaventure cemetary. I even brought back some graveyard dirt from there-well a girl never knows when she might have a need for such-huh? Thanks for the memories.

  33. Great post, Susan. This book and the movie are on my list of favorites. I have loved Savannah since I was a child. My parent's used to take me to Mrs. Williams' for seafood, but sadly it is long gone now.

    I have been looking for a Bird Girl to put on the wood side of our bridge, but they are close to impossible to find here.

  34. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Beverly, I believe Home Depot and/or Lowes has had them here in Georgia. Can't remember where I bought mine, I've had it so long, now.

  35. TiKiMOOSE says

    I went to collage in Savannah, The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) I loved the place. Used to love to get a Chocolate Coke at the Clary's soda fount. At the time half was a drug store and the other half was an old time soda fountain with real soda jerks. Every year SCAD has a festival where all the artists do chalk drawings on the sidewalks in the park. It's a great city for inspiration. When I was there they were filming Glory, some of my friends got to be civil war soilders, and the set dressers sawed off all the parking meters in front of the houses they were filming.

  36. Heaven's Walk says

    What an interesting post, Susan! I felt like I was taking the tour with you. 🙂 I have heard alot about this book and movie – and will make an effort to either read it or see it. I just adore those vintage homes down south, too. So beautiful!

    xoxo laurie

  37. FABBY'S LIVING says

    Wonderful post! I have the book, my best friend Stephanie brings them from Florida and I always have great chances on great books!…I haven't seen the movie. So cool you went there, I'd love too myself. Thanks for sharing it.

  38. Curtains In My Tree says

    What great pictures.

    I was there last October and seen almost everthing your memtioned. I also tour Jim Willimas Mercer House.

    Loved it and going again this October 2011 I want to see upstairs so bad.

    I purchased the book in the gift shop that Jim's sister put together. It's a large coffe table book love it.She signed the book

    I have been to Savannah twice and can't seem to get enough of it I tell everybody about my trip


    read the book seen the movie also

  39. Susan, thanks for sharing this interesting post. When I was in Savannah last October I purchased an autographed copy of the book. 😉
    Hope you've had a good Memorial Day. ~ Sarah

  40. Katie@LeBeauPaonVictorien says

    Thanks for the tour! How amazing! 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' was one of my favorite books, and I loved the movie too!

  41. I live in Savannah (originally from Chicago) and came across your blog. I am currently renovating my own house. 53rdst.blogspot.com Glad you seemed to enjoy Savannah!

    • Since you live in Savnnah I wonder if you can tell me if Jim Williams sister has owned this house since her brother’s death. I visited there a few years ago and was told someone lived there but no one said it was open for tours. I read the book, saw the movie and loved it. I am curious about this as I was really disappointed that I couldn’t see inside.

      • Hi Mona,
        I don’t live in Savannah, just love to visit there. I’m not sure why you didn’t get to go in. Last time I visited it was open for tours. Maybe they closed down temporarily. I’m not sure if Jim Williams sister still owns it. I bet if you check Wikipedia, they will probably have information on that. Hope you get to go in the next time you visit Savannah.

  42. cheapisbeautiful says

    Loved the book. Loved the movie. Loved your post on visiting… and the story about you visit. thanks for sharing.
    Want the statue:)

  43. V.J. Tripoli says

    I had to visit Savannah after reading the book, which I did in 2012. Seems like the “hostess city” has become the “ho-hum” city. Still plenty of beautiful houses and tourists and (downtown) night spots … but no great “open house” parties in the square(s) … no Joe Odoms, Mandys, Jim Williams’ … the “Lady” is still there and still performs, but the “magic” has gone! Don’t get me wrong, I’m headed back very soon … to make Savannah my home … I love it! Maybe a bunch of us can move there and start that grand tradition of “party all night, every night” all over again! I’M WILLING … see Y’ALL THERE !!!

  44. Hi Susan,
    I just stumbled onto your wonderful blog again after years of being dormant as “Blinks ‘N Winks From Brown Eyes”. I was on tour in Savannah last week and thoroughly loved it. A guide took us over to Mercer House & gave us a brief history of events during the making of the movie. We didn’t get to tour the house though. I saw the movie when it came out but have a renewed interest in it now. I am reading the book and will view the DVD when I finish. I see your blog has enlarged immensely as has your readership. I will stop by again. All the best to you, Bo

    • Bo, what a wonderful surprise! I’ve missed you! I left a comment on your last post on your blog a long time ago. I was just worried about you and have thought about you several times of the years. We get so attached to our friends we meet blogging. It’s wonderful to hear from you and I’m so glad you were able to visit Savannah. I love that city and love touring it. So much history there!

      • Me again Susan…Thanks for your kind words. Just to bring you up to date, my husband passed away unexpectedly in his sleep 3 years ago this coming August 5th. I sold my house, had an estate sale and downsized to a rental duplex owned by personal friends back in a small suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. My church family has sustained me and have given my life purpose again. I am in 3 different card groups where we “do lunch” and play canasta and other variations. Now I am traveling with other friends to places on my “bucket list”…hence, the recent visit to Savannah, Jekyll Island & Beaufort, S.C. We are going to the Biltmore Estate for a Christmas tour Nov. 10-15. I have been there twice before but not at Christmastime. It will be a real treat! Well, I’ll sign off for now…it’s been special “talking” to you again dear lady. Smiles, Bo

        • Bo, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. That had to have been a horrible shock. I know there are no words to take away that kind of loss. Sounds like you have a wonderful, full life now. You are a “Steel Magnolia” as we say here in Georgia. I’ve never been to Biltmore at Christmas either but I’ve seen pics and it looked amazing!

  45. I never get tired of visiting Savannah and I hope to go again in 2014 on a trip to tour Jim Williams House and eat at the Pink House again and visit back In The Day bakery which is a new famous Savannah stop and of course see Paula Deen ?

    I have read the book and seen the movie several times and I met Lady Chablis in Savannah

    • I LOVE it, too…feel the same way. I could go every year! You know, each time I go, I never make it to her restaurant. I’ve always wanted to eat there to see what the food is like. I have eaten at Clary’s Cafe (in the movie) several times and their breakfast is great!

  46. Thomas W. Bateman says

    My wife and I have been to Savannah, Georgia before. We are planning a trip there this October. Is there a chance we might see any of the people portrayed in the movie?

  47. I could never get tired of visiting Savannah, Ga! I just saw the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil again last night. One of my favorite places to eat is 17 Hundrend 90 Inn. I haven’t stayed there yet but will next time. The waitstaff will tell you about some haunted stories. Also, I love touring Bonaventure Cemetery with tour guide Shannon Scott. He always has great info about the history and locals in Savannah.

  48. We stayed in a B&B row house that Jim Williams owned at one time. It is very close to the Mercer House…however…it (Mercer House) was CLOSED for the time we were there which was Christmastime. I wouldn’t trade that special Savannah Christmastime for our first visit though. We will return again to take a tour someday. We have seen the movie at least 3 times and could watch it again…voodoo and all!!

    • I love visiting Savannah, too. There ghost tours are fascinating…you learn a lot about the history of Savannah on those.

  49. Angela Hartley says

    I FINALLY got to see the Mercer House in Savannah last summer. I adored it and must say a bit obsessed!! i took the house tour but nothing whatsoever was mentioned about the shooting nor Jim Williams death. His sister lives upstairs if I remember correctly. I think I could tour it every single day! I did go to the gift shop and purchased the book his sister wrote and was autographed. went on a ghost tour! truly a fascinating city!! LOVE LOVE LOVE

  50. Ross Crampsey says

    An enjoyable read, but you have a couple of errors. John Cusack stayed in the building diagonally across the square from the Mercer House. And the party house was at 115 East Jones Street. The Hamilton Turner building isn’t in the movie. Check out the Wikipedia article on the movie; I added this info and added a few photos recently.

  51. Oh Susan, thanks for taking us on a tour of Mercer House. It’s beautiful and the movie is one of my favs. I just realized that I haven’t read the book, so I’m headed over to Kindle and download it to read.

  52. I hate to disappoint people, but most of the contents of Mercer House as they appear today never belonged to Jim Williams. The majority of Mr Williams furniture and objet d’art were sold by Sotheby’s in 2000 as Mercer House; The Collection of the late James A Williams. Ms Kingery has cleverly and deceptively replaced furniture with cheaper alternatives and placed them in the same location as Mr Williams originals. I was lucky enough to visit Mercer House shortly after Mr Williams death and returned recently on a guided tour and what Ms Kingery peddles as original is an insult to the work and aesthete of her brother. One can easily make comparisons using photos on google of the present day interiors of Mercer House and those prior to the Sotheby’s auction.

    • Thanks for this insight, Kurt. Such a shame the original furnishings are no longer there. Jim Williams had excellent taste and really knew his antiques.

  53. Kathie Thompson says

    The film, “Glory,” was also filmed at Mercer House. The front is shown, as well as a dining room. The street in front of the home was covered with dirt to depict the 1860’s. I read the book “Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil,” too, and I believe that is where I read about “Glory” filming.

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