Tuesday, November 8, 2022

How big does it get before it's not a cottage?

The Clubhouse and Annex at the former Jekyll Island Club on Jekyll  Island.

WOW! We have seen some pretty impressive things in our travels over the years but this was the icing on the cake for me. Last time we were here we camped at Jekyll Island State Park for one night and we walked over to Driftwood Beach. Can't believe we didn't go to the Historic District.

Not to bore anyone but I must share some background on the Island. In 1792 Christophe Dubignon, fleeing the French Revoltion, bought Jekyll Island and began farming cotton. 

In 1879 Newton Finney and John Dubignon, a descendent of Christophe, collaborated  and sold the island for $125,000 to 100 millionaires, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, Morgans and Goodyears, who wanted to turn the island into a private hunting club for the rich The orignal Clubhouse for the Jekyll Island Club, with its turret and the most lavish ammenities, opened in 1888. In 1901 the Annex was completed. There were no bridges so the rich arrived in their huge yachts and often wintered there. There were 18 "cottages" built by some of the families. 

WWI, the depression, and finally WWII took it's toll. In 1947 the remaining club members sold the island to the state of Georgia for $675,000 and it became a state park. The state tried to run the area as a resort but the entire complex was closed by 1971. It was designated a historic landmark in 1978. It was restored and reopened as a luxury resort hotel in 1985. It took years to get the island to where it is today.

*In 1858 The Wanderer landed on Jekyll Island with an illegal cargo of slaves. John Dubignon was in on this, and although charged, was freed.

*In 1910 Senator Nelson Aldrich led a party of financial leaders to create the forerunner of the Federal Reserve.

*The first transcontinental telephone call was made in the United States in 1915. It included AT&T President Theodore Newton Vail on Jekyll Island.

Today Jekyll Island contains the state park, resorts, hotels, restaurants and about 600 private residents. You can buy a house but you lease the land from the state. 

Lots of marshland on the way.

South Beach was our first stop. The boardwalk over the dunes was quite long. The dunes themselves were very different from the dunes of Myrtle Beach. They were very tall and had more depth which I think would help with hurricanes. Hopefully we won't find out this week! The beaches here were different too, as they were completely flat up to the dunes. At high tide the water  must reach the dunes. 

This wasn't a shell and there were a lot of them on the beach. They seemed to be soft like a jellyfish.

Sandollars were in abundance. I don't have good luck with sandollars though. I had them sitting in the back window of the car and when the rear side windows were opened they blew off and at least a couple didn't survive. 

Remnants of the Shrimp and Grits Festival held over the past weekend.

They were busy picking up tables and chairs and hauling off golf carts from the festival.

The largest cable-stayed bridge in Georgia. It provides access to the Golden Isles.

The Goodyear Cottage is a gift shop, museum and art gallery. It was completed in 1906 in an Italian Style. The first floor had 7 rooms and a 1/2 bath, the 2nd floor 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, and the 3rd floor was servant quarters.

Sago Palms aren't really Palms but cycads, a plant that has been around since prehistoric times. They are poisonous.  

Villa Marianna was completed in 1928 for Frank Henry Gould, a second generation member. This was one of the first properties renovated and it housed the Park Authority, followed by the executive directors until 1995. It's now a special event venue. 

Hollyborne Cottage was built in 1891 for bridge builder Charles Stewart Maurice, his wife, and 9 children. It is the only Cottage constructed with tabby, a concrete mixtire made with lime, sand and shell. With over 11,000 sq. ft. it had 9 bedrooms. Which 2 kids had to share a room, I wonder? To allow for an open first floor plan he used his bridge building experience to support the second floor with wood trusses and long steel bolts. It was a popular meeting spot for members of the Jekyll Island Club. 

Crane Cottage, the most expensive and elegant home, was built in 1917 for Richard Teller Crane. It had 20 bedrooms and 17 baths. Currently it is a bed and breakfast.

Back of Crane Cottage

In 1904 Dr. George Frederick Shrady moved into Cherokee Cottage. It had 20 rooms, 12 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 2 kitchens (one for servants). In 1925 it was sold to Walter B. James, who was then the current president of the Jekyll Island Club, who named it Cherokee Cottage. Renovated in 2001 it now offers 10 guest rooms and baths.

Faith Chapel was built in 1904. It was open today for meditation and prayer from 10-12.

This Tiffany Stained glass window is original and was installed in 1921. It depicts the theme "David Set Singers Before the Lord." It was created in memory of Frederick Bourne president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. 

Another Tiffany Window depicting the Life of Christ.

 Sans Souci was built in 1896 for a small number of club members, including J.P. Morgan. Originally built with 6 units it's considered one of the first condos. It has been renovated as part of the current resort with 24 rooms. Several original features remain.

Mistletoe Cottage

The Rockefeller Cottage, also called the Indian Mound Cottage, had 25 rooms, 9 bedrooms, 9 baths, and 7 servant rooms. It had several unique features including an elevator, cedar- lined walk-in safe and taps for hot and cold salt water in the master bathtub. It was built in 1892.

Lunch spot. Maybe better fish tacos here then at Coastal Grill in Galvaston, and that's quite a compliment. Pat and I shared the blackened taco plate. The tacos came with coleslaw and a sweet and spicey sauce in a lightly toasted shell. The beer battered onion rings were fabulous too.

It was hot so I went down to North Beach by myself. Never would have thought about bacteria before. No sandollars here.

Leaving the island:

Another hurricane coming. We're inland a few miles and should mostly get rain and some wind. A plant near us Monday had an explosion and a big chemical fire. They evacuated a mile out. We were included in the 3 mile shelter-in-place, but we were on Jekyll Island most of the day trying to get some siteseeing in before the rain starts on Thurs. or Fri.
Where are the Piepers now? Brunswick GA


  1. Thanks for all the info on this place! We drove to Jekyll Island for lunch on our way N one year and found it very interesting—with some shockingly large homes/resorts.

    1. It's hard to contemplate houses that extravagant around the turn of the century, as well as people having that kind of money.