Bonaventure Cemetery: Garden for the Gone

Walk With Me In The Storied Gardens Of Bonaventure

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia rests on land once the site of Bonaventure Plantation. The year 1850 saw the first burials in its soil.

In his 1916 book, A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, the man coined “The Father of Our National Park System,” John Muir, recounts his journey from Kentucky to Florida and overnighting in Bonaventure Cemetery for six nights.

From the chapter, Camping Among the Tombs:

“… Even those spots which are disordered by art, Nature is ever at work to reclaim, and to make them look as if the foot of man had never known them. Only a small plot of ground is occupied with graves and the old mansion is in ruins.

Bonaventure to me is one of the most impressive assemblages of animal and plant creatures I ever met. I was fresh from the Western prairies, the garden-like openings of Wisconsin, the beech and maple and oak woods of Indiana and Kentucky, the dark mysterious Savannah cypress forests; but never since I was allowed to walk the woods have I found so impressive a company of trees as the tillandsia-draped oaks of Bonaventure.

I gazed awe-stricken as one new-arrived from another world. Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light.”

John Muir is a celebrated conservationist, co-founder of the Sierra Club, and a controversial figure. His derogatory rhetoric about both native peoples of the lands he protected and African Americans has since garnered attention and condemnation and offers an opportunity for reflection, admission, and growth for the Sierra Club, upon which it is acting.

Sneak with me into the garden, won’t you, for a quick ‘hello.’

-Lisa B


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2 comments on “Bonaventure Cemetery: Garden for the Gone

  1. Elaine says:

    Beautiful, haunting video, Lisa. Thanks for letting us explore it with you!

    1. Lisa B says:

      Thanks for sharing in the short adventure, Elaine! 🙂

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