Photo tour of Bonaventure Cemetery statues, gravestones, decorative iron art, and more. If you enjoy history and visiting cemeteries, then Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, is a must-see.
Bonaventure Cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. It is a public cemetery and contains 160 acres.
Large Statues and Monuments
Bonaventure began as a private cemetery on a plantation owned by John Mullryne (early to mid-1800s). The first person was interred in the cemetery in 1802.
Unique Obelisk Type Monument
I visited Bonaventure while we were staying on Tybee Island. Hubby didn't tour the cemetery with me. He was worn out after several days of sightseeing in Charleston and Savannah.
Charles Arnold and Mary Ellen Arnold Monuments
We walked and walked, toured plantations, and visited historical sites for six days, so he elected to stay at the cottage and recuperate. He was done. I loved the colors on these two stones. I don't know what the original finish looked like but the weathered patina is perfect.
White Marble Statues
I thought this area was stunning….all of the white marble …the statue…...and the tall column (not all in the shot).
George Beckman Gravestone
I took a ton of photos, and I'm sharing just a few of my favorites. The detail on the side of this headstone was interesting. Never did decide what it was meant to be. Maybe ivy?
Small Pebbles on Gravestones
I noticed many of the headstones had pebbles or small rocks on them. I did a little research and learned this is a Jewish custom. One of the most common Jewish cemetery customs is to leave a small stone at the grave of a loved one after saying Kaddish or visiting. Its origins are rooted in ancient times and throughout the centuries the tradition of leaving a visitation stone has become part of the act of remembrance. source
Graves of Peter and Mary Schafer
I spent 2-3 hours in the cemetery, so I only saw a small percentage of it. I went to the oldest section, which was highlighted on the brochure.
The cemetery is free to visit and is still in use for burials. The monuments in the cemetery are truly memorable.
Wouldn’t you like to know the history of the monuments themselves? Like who made them, how long the process took, and what the cost was.
Holcombe Family Plot
Minna Holcombe Wife of D.C. Bacon (passed away Feb 18, 1878). I’m not sure if the lady was originally holding a lantern, a cross, or something else. Sad that some of the statuary in the cemetery is damaged.
Lucy Bell Statue Monument
The Lucy Bell statue or monument is one of my favorites. The detail on the stone is amazing.
Herbert Hardee Monument
This young man died in 1894 at 25—certainly an interesting monument or gravestone.
Smith Livingston Monument
The cemetery became famous when featured in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil —such a sad-looking angel. Just touches my heart.
If you visit Savannah, Tybee Island, or nearby areas, I would recommend taking a tour of the cemetery. Even if you just drive through. I think you will find it worth your time.
Bonaventure is on the river, and being near the ocean, there are a number of tropical plants.
Drayton Hall - Charleston
You might also like to see Drayton Hall and old plantation we visited in Charleston. Drayton Hall is one of the most remarkable houses in North America. You can see my tour here....What Natural Patina Looks Like | Drayton Hall
Another architectural wonder I would love to visit is way up North of us. Have you heard of Boldt Castle? I read about the castle (here) and it sounds like a place I would love to tour.
Thanks for being here, Kathy
Author: Kathy Owen (Petticoat Junktion)
Kathy is the founder of PetticoatJunktion.com, a home décor blog focused on repurposing and upcycling furniture, old hardware, rusty stuff, and thrifty finds into unique home décor. Kathy’s projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Read more about Kathy here.
Thank you for this lovely post. I was there on a tour a while back. Your pics are wonderful.
My grandmother lived a block away from the old cemetary in Denton, TX. I loved playing in the cemetary. Beautiful statues, now falling down. Also, in New Orleans the cemetaries are incredible. So, nothing wrong with visiting those places!
I like the cemeteries in New Orleans too
I would love to visit Tybee Island and surrounding areas. At many cemeteries people leave a stone or some other small item on the headstone. Yes it did start at Jewish cemeteries. Thanks for sharing your photos.
I've been to Savannah several times but never have visited Bonaventure Cemetery. Now I see what I've been missing!
Tybee Island has always been a place to visit. Thanks Kathy for the tour of the area!
I love Savannah, it's just magical. Please tell me you visited Colonial Park Cemetery. When Sherman went through Savannah, this is where they camped. The soldiers did tremendous damage to the headstones, but they are beautiful. I enjoyed pictures!
Yes, we did visit Colonial Park Cemetery! I have photos from there too. Maybe I will post them later.
Wow what a beautiful tour, its amazing, glad it has not been damaged over the years..
I envy you on that great trip. I love Charleston & Savannah. 2 truly beautiful areas.
I live in Wash State and took a trip to Savannah. The movie was being filmed there at the time. Clint Eastwood was there. We took the book tour and saw all of the houses mentioned . We also went to the cemetery on a guided tour. The whole trip was amazing
Thank you so much for all the info
I love BONAVENTURE CEMETERY! I live in Houston, where the beautiful Glynwood Cemetery is located. Your photos are incredible and are inspiring me to what to take a road trip.
What Cottage did you stay at in Tybee Island, the Mess?
Fantastic job on the photography. Lovely.
I love your pictures thank you for sharing ! We don't have nice one here in Las Vegas ! Well to be honest I never look Here it s too hot now anyway now !
Would LOVE to visit and do some charcoal rubbings!
I visited Savannah years ago shortly after I saw the movie. I bought the book for my mother. She passes 13years ago and just recently went through some of her things and found the book. I intend on reading it again. Love the photos. Brought back memories of our trip
How beautiful, thank you for sharing
Great pictures Kathy! I also like to peruse old cemeteries. Lots of history there! I just went to Bonaventure less than a week ago! We took a tour with a guide who was a 5th or 6th generation Savannian and a History major.. Some of the monuments in there were made by the same sculptors who created the Washington and Lincoln memorials. Johnny Mercer is buried there, and there's a lovely bench with some of his most popular lyrics. Also there is a grave that dates back to the 1700's, but it was moved to Bonaventure, it was originally somewhere else. It seems that in Savannah, graves are moved around, or they're built on top of and plaques are placed somewhere on the building or monuments to tell who is buried there. I was amazed!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!
Joy, I would have enjoyed the tour with the guide. I love hearing the history too! That's interesting about the makers of some of the monuments. They are true works of art. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing. My husband and I enjoy walking through cemeteries and looking at the inscriptions. They say so much about the loved one.
Years ago (in high school) I did a stand up report on those moss covered trees and received an A. I always did enjoy history and still do.
This came at a great time. My little historic church which dates back to the early 1800's is trying to get our backdoor neighbor to move his fence as it is encroaching on the gravesides...we have Civil War and Revolutionary War fighters buried there. I will have to visit the next time we are in that area! Thanks for sharing.
I think old cemeteries are fascinating. You can actually learn quite a bit of history in them.
On Sanibel island there's an old cemetery and the custom is to leave coins and shells on the gravestones.
Thank you for sharing these pictures. I can see how one's imagination could run wild in a place like this. I read the book many moons ago but might go back and re-read. Imagine the cost of Minna's statue .... she passed during Reconstruction. Thanks again.
My daughter and I love old cemetaries. I think the best time to photograph them is in autumn. And, did you read some of the first names from the 1800's, some are very strange.