Guardian of the Golden Isles
The St. Simons Lighthouse is
a major landmark for visitors
to the Golden Isles.
The Golden Isles of Georgia - Historic Sites and Landmarks - The Golden Isles of Georgia - The Golden Isles of Georgia
Jekyll Island Club
The beautiful old Jekyll Island Club Hotel graces the
island's stunning historic district and now provides
accommodations for the general public.
Georgia's Historic Islands
The magnificent scenery of Georgia's Golden
Isles gives visitors the chance not just to step
back in time, but to step back into multiple
eras of time.

Named for St. Simons, Jekyll, Sea and Little
St. Simons Islands, the Golden Isles line the
Atlantic Ocean roughly halfway between
Savannah and Jacksonville. They are a gate-
way to history, nature, spectacular scenery
and mystery.

The Guale Indians lived along this coast
before the Spanish arrived during the 1500s,
farming on the large islands, hunting and
gathering oysters and fish from the local
waters. The Spanish maintained a chain of
missions here during the 1500s and 1600s,
but it was the English who finally took control
of the islands.

As part of his establishment of the colony of
Georgia, General James Oglethorpe came to
St. Simons Island in 1736 to establish the
town of Frederica. The ruins of his settlement
are now preserved at
Fort Frederica National
Monument.  Other ruins left by early English
settlers can also be seen on Jekyll Island at
Horton House Historic Site.

The English and Spanish battled for control
of the Golden Isles in 1742 during the War of
Jenkins' Ear (named for the severed ear of
an English sea captain). Oglethorpe's troops
won the Battles of
Gully Hole Creek and
Bloody Marsh and the Spanish withdrew to

Although Frederica faded by the time of the
American Revolution, the islands did play a
role in that conflict. Settlers returned after the
war and by 1808 enough residents lived on
St. Simons Island to successfully petition for
the establishment of
Christ Church there.

St. Simons Lighthouse was built to help
sea captains navigating the coast and the city
of Brunswick grew into a successful port on
the mainland.

Confederate troops built forts and batteries
on St. Simons and Jekyll Islands during the
Civil War, but withdrew from the Golden Isles
before Union troops could attack them. The
Northern army went on to occupy sections of
the islands, establishing settlements there
for freed slaves and looting and vandalizing
homes and even Christ Church.

The post war years brought new commerce
to the islands and they began their transition
to today's beautiful resort area. A coalition of
America's most wealthy families purchased
Jekyll Island, establishing its famed Jekyll
Island Club Hotel and "Millionaire's Village."
The complex is now publicly owned and
guests are welcomed at the once private
hotel and enjoy museum exhibits and shops
in the stunning "cottages" once owned by the
rich and famous.

Charming Old South elegance can also be
experienced on Sea Island, where The
Cloister treats guests with the same service
enjoyed by presidents and world leaders.

Also of interest is the
Georgia Sea Turtle
Center on Jekyll Island, a sea turtle rescue
facility that allows visitors to explore the rich
natural history of the Georgia Coast.
Sea Turtle on Jekyll Island
The fascinating Georgia Sea
Turtle Center on Jekyll Island
is a major center for helping
injured and sick sea turtles.
Colonial History of Georgia
The Golden Isles were a
battlefield during the 1700s
when England and Spain
battled for control of the coast.
The Marshes of Glynn
The stunning salt marshes
that separate the Golden
Isles from Brunswick and the
mainland were immortalized
by poet Sidney Lanier in 1878.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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