Jekyll Island "Cottage"
The Island was once the site
of a vacation retreat for
America's most wealthy.
Jekyll Island, Georgia - Historic Sites and Points of Interest - Historic Sites of Jekyll Island, Georgia - Historic Sites of Jekyll Island, Georgia
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
The magnificent old hotel is located in the center of
Jekyll Island's famed Historic District, once the
playground of the nation's rich and famous.
Georgia's Stunning Historic Isle
One of the most beautiful coastal islands in
America, Jekyll Island is also one of its most
historic. The stunning island is one of the
best known in the South and has long drawn
people to the Georgia coast.

Jekyll Island's history is just as stunning as
its natural beauty. Originally inhabited by the
Guale Indians, the island was explored by
the Spanish and first settled by the English.
Major William Horton, who served under Gen.
James Oglethorpe, was granted 500 acres
on the island in 1735 and built a two story
home there the following year. His home was
destroyed by the Spanish six years later, but
its picturesque ruins can still be seen today
at the island's
Horton House Historic Site.

By 1800 Jekyll Island was owned by a French
privateer named Christophe du Bignon. He
and his family lived on the island and his
property was raided by the British during the
War of 1812. The Du Bignon Cemetery can
be seen near the ruins of the Horton House.

One of the most notorious incidents in
American history took place on the south end
of Jekyll Island in 1858 when the slave ship
Wanderer unloaded 409 African slaves there.
The importation of slaves had been outlawed
in the United States in 1808 and the men
involved in the operation were indicted (but
never convicted) by the Federal government.
It is believed that the
Wanderer incident was
one of the last major slave smuggling
incidents in U.S. history.

Confederate troops occupied the island
during the early years of the Civil War and
constructed an
artillery battery at today's
Jekyll Island Airport. Although the earthworks
are not accessible to the general public, they
can be viewed from a historic marker near
the airport entrance.

It was a former Confederate, in fact, who
launched the island's best known era of

Newton Finney was the brother-in-law of
John Eugene duBignon, a descendant of
Christophe du Bignon. The two men came
up with the idea of turning Jekyll Island into a
private hunting club for wealthy northerners.
Between 1879 and 1885, DuBignon acquired
all of the land on the island while Finney
worked to build support for the club among
the nation's wealthiest individuals.

In 1885, Jekyll Island was sold to the new
Jekyll Island Club, which included such
members as J.P. Morgan, Marshall Field and
Joseph Pulitzer. Over the years that followed,
the Jekyll Island Club became the nation's
premier resort for the rich and famous and
was described in one publication as "the
richest, the most exclusive, the most
inaccessible club in the world."

From 1886 until World War II, Jekyll Island
was a playground for millionaires. They built
massive "cottages" there and gathered for
meals and social events at the magnificent
clubhouse. In addition to the Morgans, Fields
and Pulitzers, the club's membership also
included the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and
Goodyears among many others.

With such a remarkable membership of the
wealthiest people in America, the Jekyll
Island Club figured prominently in some of
the most important events of its time. It was
here that a secret meeting involving the
nation's top financiers during an economic
recession led to the creation of the Federal
Reserve. And it was from Jekyll Island in
1915 that the president of AT&T made the
first public transcontinental telephone call.
The most remarkable event in Jekyll Island's
rich history, however, was its transformation
in 1947 from a playground for the rich to a
playground for all.

Changing times and World War II made the
island available for purchase and in 1947,
the State of Georgia bought it from the Jekyll
Island Club for $675,000.

Although some development has been
allowed, visitors are often amazed by the
remarkable unspoiled nature of Jekyll Island.
Miles of pristine beaches are open to the
public and paved back paths wind around
and across the island.

Hotels and beach front rentals are available,
but the carefully managed development of
the island has ended any threat of the clutter
and urbanization found on many of the
South's coastal islands. The most famous
hotel on the island is the historic Jekyll Island
Club Hotel, located in the original buildings
of the Jekyll Island Club.

Much of the
Historic District has been
restored and is now a fascinating heritage
tourism destination. Visitors can tour original
millionaire cottages, walk the grounds of
what was once the "most exclusive" club in
the world, visit the fascinating
Georgia Sea
Turtle Center where injured and sick sea
turtles are nursed back to health and learn
more about the island's picturesque and
significant history.

Also of historic interest on the island are the
ruins of the Horton House, the DuBignon
Cemetery, the Confederate Battery Site and
the south end of the island where the
Wanderer incident took place.

To learn more,
please click here to visit the
island's website and be sure to check out the
links below. Jekyll Island is open to the
public daily There is a $5 per day parking fee
required to visit the island, or you can buy an
annual permit for $45.
Historic Beaches of Jekyll
The beautifully preserved
beaches of Jekyll Island are
rich in both history and scenic
Civil War Battery
Confederates placed cannon
on Jekyll Island during the
Civil War. The earthworks can
still be seen at the airport.
Horton House Ruins
The house was built by Major
William Horton in 1736 and
burned by the Spanish six
years later.
DuBignon Cemetery
The historic cemetery near
the Horton House contains
the graves of members of the
influential Jekyll Island family.
The Marshes of Glynn
Made famous in a poem by
Sidney Lanier, the Marshes of
Glynn provide a picturesque
setting for Jekyll Island.
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Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 24, 2012