Jekyll Island

 

Jekyll Island is located off the coast of Georgia in Glynn County.  It is one of the sea Islands and one of the Golden Isles of Georgia barrier islands.  Jekyll Island is one of only four Georgia barrier islands that have a paved causeway to allow access from the mainland by car.  In 1733 General James Oglethorpe named Jekyll Island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.  In the late 1800 Jekyll island became an exclusive hunting club for families with names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzert, and Baker for private vacation homes.   One sixth of the world’s wealth vacationed on Jekyll island at that time.  The club closed at the end of the 1942 season due to the evacuated during World War II by order of the U.S. Government.  In 1947 after five years of funding a staff to keep up the lawn and cottages, the island was purchased from the club remaining members, for $675,000 by the state of Georgia for security and preservation. The state tried operating the club as a resort, but was not financially successful and closed in 1971.  The complex was designated a historic land mark in 1971.  It was restored and reopened as a luxury hotel in 1985.

Several nationally important events took place on Jekyll Island during the Club era, including the first transcontinental telephone call made by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T, to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Watson and President Woodrow Wilson in 1915.  The development of the Aldrich Vreeland Act for the National Monetary Commission in 1908.  Jekyll Island was the location of a meeting in November 1910 in which draft legislation was written to create the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Jekyll Island Club was a private club on Jekyll Island on Georgia’s Atlantic coast.  It was founded in 1886 when members of a hunting club purchased the island for $125,000 from John Eugene DuBignon.  The clubhouse with its signature turret was completed in January 1888.  The club thrived through the early 20th century.  Its members came form many of the world’s wealthiest families, most notably the Morgans, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt.  When the club started out hunting was a major recreational activity for both men and women.  A gamekeeper was hired to keep the island well stocked with pheasants, turkeys, quail and deer.  Dinner at the club each evening was the high point of the day as the dinning room grew rich with white-clad waiters bow tied gentlemen and stately women.  Members on the island were required to have all their meals at the club house not in their homes.  One thing that sets this club apart from others, is that wives were able to participate in all activities.  With the advent of the first season on Jekyll the elite club members gathered their families and boarded their yachts, all with expectations for having a grandiose time.  For years there was unofficial competition among the yachting members, to see who would arrive in the most impressive and beautiful appointed vessel.

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The Horton House built-in 1742 belonged to Major William Horton during the British colonial Period.  It was constructed out of Tabby this is a mixture of lime, crushed oyster shells and water.  This building is one of the oldest surviving building in the state.

The cottages on Jekyll Island were built between 1888 and 1923 for wealthy northern families.  They were built for their winter homes, or cottages as they were called and designed for entire families with staff.  When the club members came in the winter they brought their own staff, including teachers if they had children.  These were hardly cottages, they exemplified Victorian tastes in Architecture.  This area on Jekyll Island is now known as “Millionaire’s Village”.

IMG_8571The is the DuBignon Cottage it was built as a farmhouse for John Eugene DuBignon in 1884 before he sold the island. This stick style Victorian seems out-of-place among the grander cottages, built later by members of the Jekyll Island Club.  It was used as the superintendents residence and housed overflow guests of club members, in the early days of the organization.  It was moved from its original location in 1896 to accommodate construction of the Sans Souci Apartment.

Mistletoe Cottage was originally constructed in 1900 for Henry Porter, a manufacturer of locomotives and a graduate of Brown University.  The home’s style is considered a Dutch Colonial Revival.  In the mistletoe cottage the artistry of island sculptor Rosario Fiore is displayed on both floors.  Mistletoe named for the prolific mistletoe that was once on the island.  Like most of the cottages the entrance is on the side to reserve the front for a better view of the Jekyll river and the sunsets through lake windows.   Porters wife gave frequent tea parties and always covered the lawn with white rugs to protect the hemlines of her guests long dresses.  When Mrs Porter had guests for dinner in her home the food was catered from the Club house and served.  Cottages had kitchens, however the owners always dinned in the club house.  This was one of the homes that we were able to tour.

Indian Mound Cottage built-in 1893 for oil executive William Rockefeller and his wife Almira for their spacious vacation home.  They enjoyed this home on Jekyll Island more than any other they owned.   This mansion stands three stores high and has a total of 25 rooms.  Indian Mound has many distinguishing features such as an elevator, a cedar lined walk in safe, taps for hot and cold salt water on the bathtub in the master bedroom bath, and a mound in the front yard.  This is how the cottage got its nickname “Indian Mound.  The mound was said to be an Indian burial ground for the Guale Indians and  who were the earliest inhabitants of the island.  This was later proven to be a mound of shells left by the Indians.

The Goodyear Cottage was completed in 1906 for Buffalo lumber and railroad magnate Frank Goodyear.  This white stucco winter home is typical of Mediterranean Revival architecture by John Carrere and Thomas Hastings of New York City.

Crane Cottage in the style of Italian Renaissance was built-in 1917 for Richard Teller Crane, jr. and his wife.  It is the largest most lavish of the cottages and has a landscape formal sunken garden with fountains and upper terrace.

Cherokee cottage, constructed for the Shrady family in 1904 is as beautiful as the wild rose for which it was named.  The cottage is also Italian Renaissance architectural style. The Three arched, double front doors welcome guest into a light spacious great room and its ten accommodations expresses a life of elegant leisure.

The Moss cottage was constructed in 1896 for William Strothers a retired owner of a Philadelphia marble works.  Later the moss cottage was the winter home of George Henry Macy tobacconist of Hudson, New York president of Union pacific tea.  The cottage was designed in the shingle style using all local materials including cypress shingles.  It’s  named after the Spanish moss which is much in evidence on the trees of Jekyll Island.

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Sans Souci name means “without a care” built-in 1896 to offer apartment style accommodations for club members, the structure is next to the main hotel and facing the river.  Its wood floors leaded art glass stairways and skylights are all original. The apartments were built with kitchens however the club members were required to dine in the Club House.

Faith chapel is the second interdenominational chapel built by the Jekyll Island Club.  It was completed for the Club’s 1904 season.  The structure is that of an early colonial meeting-house with decorative elements derived from the Gothic style.  The shingled interior has six carved animal heads on the interior roof trusses, and the gargoyles on the exterior of the steeples.

At the east end of the chapel behind the altar is the beautiful stained glass window adoration  of the christ child created by Mainland Armstrong and his daughter Helen.  The window was installed as a memorial to Joseph Stickney, a charter member of the Jekyll island club.  It is one of the most outstanding pieces of stained glass art in the nation.  At the west end of the chapel is a magnificent signed example of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.  The first chapel on this site, called Union Chapel was built-in 1898 and soon proved to be too small for the growing club membership.  It was moved to the black servants compound, where it was used until 1940.

The building in the black servants compound are now being used for little shops.

Skeet House was originally built-in 1930 for recreational use by Jekyll Island Club.  Skeet shooting was a popular activity at the island resort, which first formed in 1886 as a hunting club.  This was the clubs stable and is now a museum about the island.

IMG_7940These are some of the pictures in the museum and information about the history of the club members and the island.   This telephone is out side of the Rockefeller cottage and was the telephone used in the transcontinental call in 1915.

These are random pictures of the tress, the river, Atlantic Ocean, and other beautiful sights we saw on Jekyll Island.

Our transportation to and from the boat to this historical section on the island was by a golf cart supplied by the marina.  Liz was our driver on Wednesday night when we went sight-seeing of the island.  Thursday Johnny and Kent drove Liz and I to the museum so we could take the trolley and walk around the historic area.

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If you are a guest at the Jekyll Club Hotel you can play croquet on the front lawn of the Club Hotel.  When I saw the guest all dressed in white playing you felt like you had gone back in time to that area.  It was so amazing to see all the beautiful homes and huge oak tress covered with Spanish moss.

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