• LOCATION 19 | A Stroll through the Heart of Savannah’s Historical District

    Mercer Williams House

    Mercer Williams House on Savannah, Georgia audio tour A Stroll through the Heart of Savannah’s Historical District

    Stop a few minutes in front of the Mercer-Williams House, the big red brick Italianette style home.

    This house was built by General Hugh Mercer, completed in 1866. Hugh Mercer was the great-grandfather of Johnny Mercer, famed singer songwriter and co-founder of Capitol Records. It was purchased by Jim Williams in 1969. Today it is famous for being the location of the book and movie, "Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil".

    Jim Williams was a self-made millionaire. He was a world renowned arts/antique dealer and a preservationist and responsible for restoring many homes throughout historic Savannah. In 1981, Jim shot and killed his assistant Danny Handsford. This happened in Jim's office, the lower left window. Jim was tried 4 times for shooting Danny, and was acquitted each time. Ironically, when Jim died of a heart attack in 1990, he was in his office, the same room where he shot Danny. I don't want to give you too many details of the story, because I'd rather you read the book or watch the movie. It's quite fascinating!

    The book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' by John Berendt, is a true story, non-fiction novel of Jim Williams an antiques dealer, on trial for murder of a male prostitute, Danny Hansford. When the book was first published in 1994, it remained on New York Best Sellers list for 216 weeks. Later in 1996, the movie was released, making it even more famous. The book and movie helped put Savannah on the map of tourism. The accounts of Jim's life and Danny's death was - should we say the 'scandal of the century'.

    If you have never read the book, be sure to pick up a copy before leaving town. If you wish to tour tour the home, you can do so, by going around the back of the house to the carriage house and enter into the gift shop. You can also purchase your book here.

    After Jim's death, his sister inherited the home and still lives here today. Even though she may use the entire home, she is primarily upstairs. So when you do tour the home, you will only tour the downstairs.

    If you do plan on visiting the home now, you can close off the tour while you do. When you're done, come back to this spot and start the tour again by choosing Resume.

    Otherwise, if you prefer to keep moving, turn around and go back towards the center of Monterrey square, then turn right before you get to the monument.

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A Stroll through the Heart of Savannah’s Historical District