“Of all the plants of these curious tree-gardens the most striking and characteristic is the so-called Long Moss (Tillandsia usneoides). It drapes all the branches from top to bottom, hanging in long silvery-gray skeins, reaching a length of not less than eight or ten feet, and when slowly waving in the wind they produce a solemn funereal effect singularly impressive” John Muir, 1867.
John Muir, founder of the US National Parks, naturalist, founder of the Sierra Club spent 6 days camping in Bonaventure. His writings contained many references to the cemetery.
Bonaventure is one of three gothic cemeteries originally envisioned as both a public park and cemetery. The property, like Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery, was first a plantation and family cemetery.
One of the old US cemeteries (there are 3-4) considered to be among the best of gothic and renaissance design.
John Berendt’s first book, ‘Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil’ is one of the most published novels in US history. A movie of the same name turned this cemetery into a huge tourist attraction. The story line is based around this cemetery, Savannah GA, and Beaufort, SC. Some how Savannah has managed to keep most of it’s historical and beautiful architecture in tact.
I have always wanted to visit and compare to our Magnolia cemetery, one of the other major old gothic grave yards. They are similar in some ways, and very different in others. Magnolia is always on the verge of ruin, and has no tourists to speak of.
As I expected it’s a photographer paradise, if you arrive early.
This second set of photographs were taken from inside various rooms, living areas, and a central room with a fire place.
I believe only one room had any outside window. If there were windows they were open to the hall running down the side of the building.
I don’t know when the rooms stopped being occupied. I’m sure it was well after our civil war. The old family homes were still in use and required servants after slavery was abolished. How that worked I don’t know. Most of the once wealthy families lost their plantation lands and money.