Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jekyll Island - Historic Sites and Points of Interest

There can be little doubt that Jekyll Island on Georgia's Atlantic Coast is one of the most charming and historic spots in the South.

The Guale Indians were living here when the Spanish first arrived in North America during the 1500s. Missions were established in the area and for many years the Golden Isles of Georgia were considered a Spanish possession.

That changed in 1736, when General James Oglethorpe arrived across the channel on St. Simons Island to establish Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons. One of the general's top officers, Major William Horton, was granted 500 acres on Jekyll Island and in 1736 he became the island's first recorded permanent inhabitant.

Horton built a two-story fortified home on the northern end of Jekyll Island, cleared the first road across the island and opened fields for farming. He also operated a brewery which supplied beer for the troops occupying the coastal islnds. Horton's house was burned by the Spanish in 1742, but its stout tabby walls remained and the structure was rebuilt.

In the years that followed, Jekyll Island was the location of plantations and a Confederate artillery battery. After the Civil War, however, the entire island was acquired by a group of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the world. The Jekyll Island Club, as their private organization was known, began with 53 member-investors. Among them were J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Marshall Field and William K. Vanderbilt.

The clubhouse on the island opened its doors in 1888 and millionaires flocked to the island to build magnificent winter cottages. For nearly fifty years, Jekyll Island would be a seat of power unlike any in America. It was from meetings here that the idea for forming the Federal Reserve grew and it was from Jekyll Island that the president of AT&T placed the first transcontinental telephone call in 1915.

Jekyll Island today is owned by the State of Georgia and is a popular destination for visitors from around the world. To learn more, please visit

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