Monday, November 15, 2010

Jekyll Island

This island was purchased from the Jekyll Island Club by the state of Georgia in 1947.  Georgia saw its chance to take the island from the millionaires of this club when the club failed to pay the back taxes they owed for the property. The Jekyll Island Club had attained this property in 1886 when they bought it from the only owners of the island at the time, a French family who had been fugitives from the French Revolution. A group of tycoons (reportedly at the time they controlled one-sixth of the world's wealth) with such illustrious names as Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, John P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, and others desired a hunting club secluded and warm enough to bask in the sun during the severe winter months of January, February and March. They found everything they were looking for at Jekyll Island and purchased it for $125,000.  Two of their "cottages" have been preserved and now are museums which the public may tour. One of those homes, the Indian Mound (so named because it was built on an Indian midden) was a home owned by William Rockefeller. I was a bit surprised at how big and luxurious it was inside, certainly not my idea of a summer cottage!  Maybe Rockefeller did need all that room, I found out later that he had nine children.
This little cottage had no kitchen, which was true of all the homes except for one. Dining was done in the club house, for all meals. This was suppose to foster togetherness among the club members. That dining room, and the club meeting rooms, are all part of a hotel which is still  in use today for anyone wishing to visit the island. The tower, which can be seen at the left end of the hotel, was the dining area for the club members. If this place is a bit too fancy for your taste, there are other hotels on the island.
 One of the cottages, the Crane Cottage, is also a hotel. We were told that in this location of the island there are about five to six weddings over a week-end. The grounds of this historic area are quite beautiful with many plants and trees so there are some nice outdoor settings for a wedding.  The Jekyll Island Club also had a chapel which has been preserved and may be used for weddings. As I mentioned earlier, Jekyll Island is now a state park with some very beautiful beaches. After touring the historic area of the Jekyll Island Club we drove around the rest of the island, making a stop at Driftwood Beach, pictured below. In the background of the picture is St.Simmons Island and lighthouse.
We also walked on the beach at the South Dune Picnic Area, near this location scenes for the movie Glory were made. By this time the sun was setting and casting a warm orange glow over the beach.

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