Home of Jim Williams of "Midnight" fame
429 Bull Street
Monterey Square (west)
Although the Mercer-Williams House was cited as "nationally significant" for its architectural style in a historic foundation survey, this lovely home is perhaps best known for its connection to the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." The elegant Italianate mansion was the home of Jim Williams and the site of the killing of Danny Hansford in May of 1981. Designed by the New York architect, John Norris, the red brick home with tall arched windows and ornate ironwork balconies is considered one of the most beautiful in all Savannah. The house is filled with 18th century portraits and beautiful antique furnishings from Jim William's private collection.
Although built for Civil War General Hugh W. Mercer, great grandfather of songwriter and lyricist Johnny Mercer, the house would never be home to any of the Mercer family. Construction began in 1860 but completion was delayed due to the outbreak of the Civil War. It was not complete until 1869. It is said that Union soldiers used materials from the construction to build shelters in Monterey Square during their occupation. After the war, General Mercer was tried for the murder of two army deserters. He was eventually acquitted and released from jail, but decided to sell the home to John Wilder, who completed the construction.
Jim Williams bought the house in 1969 and began a 2-year renovation of the run-down property. This was one of fifty homes that Williams would be credited with saving and restoring. Accused of shooting Danny Hansford in the study of the Mercer House, Jim Williams was found not guilty of the murder after his fourth murder trial, but his victory would be short-lived. Williams died of pneumonia only six months later at the age of 59. Jim's sister currently owns the property and has turned the magnificent Mercer-William House into a museum with daily-guided tours.
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