Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Savannah GA Top 10 Places: Bonaventure Cemetery, A Georgia Camellia Trail Hopeful

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Lovers of beautiful Savannah gardens, flowering landscapes, history, genealogists, photographers, walkers and runners will adore Savannah's world famous Bonaventure Cemetery. Located along the Intracoastal Waterway of the Wilmington River, Bonaventure is a special, memorable and beloved place where past, present and future meet up often in America's most beautiful city.

Here's a link to our Savannah inn's brilliant camellias. And, VisitSavannah share a "spring teaser" -- more camellias in downtown Savannah's Wright Square.

Camellias dot the garden landscapes in
downtown Savannah, Georgia.

Upon receiving the notice from / staff, our dear friend Sandy Traub alerted Lee Malenfort, President of the Bonaventure Historical Society to apply to the new Georgia Camellia Trail.

The notice: "Bruce Green, our [State of Georgia] former director of tourism development, is working on a new garden trail. If you have a camellia garden at your attraction or property, please contact State of Georgia Tourism by March 15 to complete the trail application."

Here's the reply from Lee, talking about Bonaventure Cemetery's heirloom camellias:

"Thanks - As soon as I saw the announcement, I wrote to Cheryl [Hargrove,]. We're in a funny spot - we're not a garden, per se, and the camellias are scattered over 100 acres.

Elegant camellias dress up even the most casual lunch table.
What may tip the scales in our favor is the fact the gardening team uses air grafting, taking new shoots from century-old camellias so the plants being planted in Bonaventure are technically the same vintage as the cemetery itself."

WHO KNEW?! ... "air grafting" to reproduce the "century-old camellias"?!

With that awesome, little known fact, we asked Lee to share more Bonaventure Cemetery stories. Yes, of course, he replied!

"Lessee now. . . .
"There was a real Hard Hearted Hannah, and she is buried in Bonaventure Eleanor Baldwin Alexander was born June 9, 1906. While attending Vassar, she fell in love with a Yale Student named Robert Martin Whitaker. She had another suitor she spurned, and he got even by serenading her at a Smith College mixer dance with a ditty he made up. It began Hard-Hearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah. She is buried in H-40. 
Zeigler House Inn loves to invite storyteller and Bonaventure Tour Guide, Shannon Scott. Shannon's dinner and a cemetery chats are unique and popular! 
 The tallest monument in Bonaventure is the Rauers obelisk, in H-41. It measures 43.5 feet tall.

Bonaventure was originally called Evergreen Cemetery, a 70-acre parcel cut out of the original 600-acre Bonaventure Plantation in 1846.

The first family plot is located at E-1, the graves of Josiah Tattnall and his family.

Evergreen Cemetery was bought by the city of Savannah and renamed in 1907. It contained approximately 1500 graves. There are nearly 30,000 buried in Bonaventure today.

John Walz was a local sculptor who has 72 signed monuments in Bonaventure, the most of any stonecutter. But he never had a monument at his grave, in Section A, plot 331, until the Bonaventure Historical Society had one created and installed in 2105, 93 years after he passed away.

Howzat for openers?"

Thank you Lee Maltenforte for this information and for all the volunteers' efforts at Bonaventure Historical Society. Here's their organization's Facebook link: Bonaventure Historical Society

Come visit soon and often. Zeigler House Inn's Jackie Heinz will share more southern stories, one of the hallmark's of unique, true southern ways in Savannah, Georgia USA.


Built in 1856 for Solomon Zeigler -- a prosperous lumber merchant, prominent Savannah citizen and Salzburger* descendant -- the Italianate home is now an historic Savannah bed and breakfast inn located in the heart of Savannah's National Landmark Historic District.

Original house features include beautiful heart of pine wood floors of the era, elegant ceiling medallions, 11 slate and wood fireplaces, and a dramatic heart of pine staircase embellished with a mahogany and walnut handrail.

Featured on "Wheel of Fortune", Zeigler House Inn was fully renovated in 2002. This romantic getaway inn on magnificent Jones Street affords stately Savannah bed and breakfast lodging with delicious cuisine (compliments of caterer-turned-innkeeper Jackie Heinz, a southern 'steel magnolia' from Kentucky). With French-inspired decor -- a nod to Revolutionary hero, General Marquis de Lafayette -- , the 7 private suites and room afford Europe-meets-Savannah style comforts for a leisure trip and business travel. Each of private suites and rooms uniquely features a private kitchen or kitchenette, plus private bath.

* The first Salzburgers landed in Savannah, Georgia after a two months trip across the Atlantic Ocean to escape religious persecution in their native country of Salzburg, presently known as Austria. The industrious settlers built their religious Lutheran community in Ebenezer along the Savannah River near today's Rincon, Georgia.

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