the mercer house was designed by john norris for general hugh mercer the grandfather of the famous composer johnny mercer. construction of this house began in 1860 and was completed in 1868. the constuction of this home was interrupted due to the civil war. in 1969 jim williams, a private restorationist bought the then vacant mercer house and restored it and later opened this historic home to the public. the mercer house is proabably the most famous house in savannah due to the book, "midnight in the garden of good and evil" by john berendt and the subsequent movie by that name. a very interesting site to visit when in savannah.
As I was in the middle of rereading "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", I was compelled to visit the Mercer Williams House, the scene of the murder that is the centerpiece of "The Book". I have to say that I was a bit disappointed for a couple of reasons. The guide we had, while knowlegable, wasn't very passionate and the tour focused on various paintings and furnishings rather than anything at all about the murder that made the house famous. The tour was only of the 1st floor of the house as Mr. Williams sister still uses the house as a residence, you can see a photo of the 2nd floor ballroom in a book at the gift shop but it's not quite the same as seeing it in person. And I guess I thought that Mr. Williams, being a bit flamboyant in personality at least in the book, would have decorated a little more wildly or elegantly.
The Mercer part of the name comes from Johnny Mercer's grandfather, Johnny Mercer never lived in the house.
The tour is 30-35 minutes in length, no photos or the house or garden are allowed. The cost is currently $12.50 + tax. Tours start at 10:30am, we got on the 10:45am tour with us and another couple and when we came out there was a pack of tourists waiting to go in so go early.
The Williams House is a definite must see for anyone familiar with "the book", or the movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".
The Mercer House was designed by New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, great grandfather of Johnny Mercer. Construction of the house began in 1860, was interrupted by the Civil War and was later completed, circa 1868, by the new owner, John Wilder.
In 1969, Jim Williams, one of Savannah’s earliest and most dedicated private restorationists, bought the then vacant house and began a two-year restoration. This house is one of the more than 50 houses Mr. Williams saved during his thirty-year career in historic restoration in Savannah and the Lowcountry. Williams died here of a heart attack in 1990. Today his sister lives quietly among the remnants of his Fabergé collection and his Joshua Reynolds paintings.
This home and museum is now open for tours.
Tour the home of Johnny Mercer. This house was renovated by art dealer Jim Williams and is featured in the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." The home is now open to guided tours.
The home of Jim Williams, and the center of the novel that brought Savannah national fame: "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"
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