Jekyll Island - Georgia
Located just southeast of Brunswick (which was originally named for King George II and is noted as being the shrimp capital of the world), Jekyll Island was once an exclusive island for the rich elite to vacation.
An upscale group of wealthy men formed the "Jekyll Island Club" and purchased the island in 1886 for $125,000 (a large sum at the time) after doing an extensive world-wide search to find the most healthy and secluded site for a retreat.
As a result, many vacation cottages were built to house the wealthy who were members of the uppercrust club on the secluded island. Some of the club members included notable names such as Vanderbilt, Morgan, Rockefeller, Goodyear, Field, and Tiffany. It was also here where the concept of the Federal Reserve banking system scheme was formed. For an insightful read, I highly recommend the book "The Creature from Jekyll Island" for an informed background on our monetary system today and why it is seriously flawed.
The historic section of the island includes the distinctive Jekyll Island Clubhouse (photograph above), which was restored in 1986 as a Victorian-style hotel.
The thirty-three cottages and buildings of the wealthy are on the National Register of Historic Places, and available for touring.
The rich came to vacation, negotiate large deals, hunt, and party for the next 56 years at Jekyll Island, and visitors were only allowed by invitation only.
The first member of the club, McEvers Bayard Brown, was a New York banker who spent the last 36 years of his life traveling the world on his yacht, the Valfreyia. As a wealthy eccentic, he earned the reputation as "The Hermit of the Essex Coast" in England. Several of the wealthy owned large yachts, some which had to be anchored in the Jekyll Island channel due to the water being too shallow at the marina.
J. P. Morgan and his son owned four yachts, according to one email source, which went by the name Corsair (I through IV). It is said that a cannon would be fired upon one of his yachts' arrival in the Jekyll Island channel.
After it became less favorable by descendants of the rich, combined with the sighting of a German submarine off the coast in 1942 during the height of World War II which closed down the Club almost overnight. Jekyll Island was purchased by the state of Georgia in 1947 for $675,000 to be used as a park. The island was later leased to the Jekyll Island Authority.
One of the members, Andrew Carnegie, owned neighboring Cumberland Island, which is now a National Seashore preserve.
From Cumberland Island, one can see the Carnegie mansion, Greyfield Inn, the ruins of Nathaniel Greene's (a Revolutionary War hero) Dungeness mansion, and see wild horses roam free. Be sure to first visit the Jekyll Island Museum Orientation Center, housed in an 1897 stable, which provides an overview of the historic area.
Be sure to take a guided horse carriage ride around the historic section of the island.
On the other side of the island, are the tabby ruins of the Horton House, location of a former cotton plantation and outpost. General Oglethorpe's advisor, William Horton, the then owner of the island, had the house built here in 1738, and became the first English resident. Major Horton would later succeed Oglethorpe as the commander of the military for the Colony.
The tabby material of the Horton House consists of oyster shell, sand, lime, water, which is mixed with mortar to become highly durable. The word "tabby" actually originates from Africa, and means "a wall made of earth or masonry."
The Spanish originated the concept of making buildings with the material (use of this form of material for buildings continued well into the late 1800's). The oyster shells were gathered from old mounds of shell left by the Creek Indians, with lime made from burning the shells.
After the Revolutionary War, Christophe du Bignon, who owned Sapelo and Jekyll Island at the time, repaired and moved into the house. His descendants actually later sold the island to the Jekyl Island Club.
Faith Chapel, built in 1904 (photographed here), is a popular destination for weddings. There was a wedding rehearsal going on the day that we visited. Note the gargoyles perched above the entrance.
Traces of the earliest Indian inhabitants have been found here, dating back to 2,500 B.C. In the 1500s, the Spanish came to refer to St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Sea, and Jekyll Islands as the "Golden Isles".
Wildlife abounds on the island. Always keep a camera handy. We saw several deer on the island and this character making his way quickly.
There are over 20 paved miles of jogging and bicycle trails to explore.
The island includes two campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, golf courses, a water park, marina, and 10 miles of beaches.
For further information, contact the Jekyll Island Convention
and Visitor's Bureau at 1-800-841-6586.
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