The Mercer House | Savannah GA Attractions
A Beautiful and Mysterious Part of Savannah’s History
A visit to Savannah, Georgia, is a must for people interested in beautiful, mysterious cities with fascinating histories. There are many things to do in Savannah GA, but there is no experience quite like a visit to Savannah’s Mercer House. The Mercer House, officially known as the Mercer Williams House Museum, is located at 429 Bull Street in the city’s downtown historic district. The beautiful red brick building was built in the Italianate style of architecture, and many regard it as one of the most picturesque homes in all of Savannah. While there is no shortage of Savannah GA attractions for curious and eager visitors, the Mercer House deserves to be at the top of any visitor’s agenda. The Mercer House is an exciting place to visit because it is not only an elegant example of nineteenth-century architecture, but is also rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in the entire city.
New York City architect John S. Norris designed the Mercer House for General Hugh Weedon Mercer and his family. While construction began in 1860, the Civil War interrupted the house’s completion. The house was finally finished in 1868 under the new owner, John Wilder. For a short period of time during the twentieth century, the Savannah Shriners (an organization related to freemasonry) used the house as their Alee Temple. After that, the house was vacant for a decade until Jim Williams bought the house in 1969 to restore it. An eccentric man, Williams was one of Savannah’s most prominent antiques dealers and restorationists. Williams had already restored several buildings in Savannah’s historic district. In restoring the Mercer House, he not only preserved a part of Savannah’s history, but also created a home for himself. Williams would have no idea of the role he was to play in the house’s history.
The Infamous Hauntings
Several Savannah GA attractions also have the allure of possibly being haunted, but the Mercer House is unique in that it is connected to the 1994 award-winning nonfiction novel by John Berendt called Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The book contains the story of the death of Jim Williams’s assistant, Danny Hansford, with whom Williams was having a sexual relationship. Jim Williams shot Hansford to death in the Mercer House. Williams was tried four times for the crime, but was eventually found not guilty. Hansford was not the only person to meet his macabre fate in the Mercer House. A previous owner who tripped over the second floor banister in 1913 and a boy who fell off the roof and impaled himself on one the fence’s iron spikes in 1963 also contributed to the Mercer House’s death toll. Williams and the boy are only two of the ghosts that supposedly haunt the Mercer House. When looking for things to do in Savannah GA, exploring the Mercer House could provide for an exciting and frightful evening.
Dr. Dorothy Kingery, Jim Wiliams’s sister, currently owns and resides in the Mercer House. Kingery is active in the Savannah community and enjoys sharing the history of her home with people all around the country. Visitors can make reservations to tour the Mercer House through its official website. Inside the house, visitors can admire many antiques from Jim Williams’s personal collection, including portraits, sculptures, and handmade furniture from all around the world. The Mercer House is also a destination for many of the city’s “ghost tours,” which specialize in showing visitors the many supposedly haunted buildings of Savannah. As many people visit Savannah GA with an interest in the darker elements of the city’s history, the Mercer House is a popular destination. Many Savannah GA attractions are worth seeing, but the Mercer House is truly special. If you are looking for things to do in Savannah GA and you appreciate a frightening and fascinating story along with beautiful architecture, look no further than the Mercer House.