How the Other Half Lived

My knee & ankle were feeling much better this morning. I told Don I’d like to test my knee out by walking around Jekyll Island’s Historic District. He agreed so long as I wore my knee brace.

The historic district was once the Summer stomping ground of the very rich and very famous. It began with the Jekyll Island Club, a private resort on the Georgia coast. “Founded in 1886 when members of an incorporated hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 from John Eugene du Bignon.” The clubhouse was completed in 1888. It ‘s exclusive membership included many of the world’s wealthiest families of the period, notably the Goodyears, Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. The club lasted 54 years, closing in 1942 when WWII broke out. In 1947 the state of Georgia purchased the club from the remaining members but was unable to make a success of the resort, closing its doors in 1971. Designated a historic landmark 7 years later, it was restored and reopened in 1985 as a luxury hotel.

Jekyll Island Club, notice the croquet wickets on the front lawn.

Jekyll Island Club, notice the croquet wickets on the front lawn.

Originally opened as a hunting club, in which even the women were encouraged to participate in, as the membership grew other recreational activities were provided. In the 1920’s an oceanside course was built and golf quickly became the mainstay of the resort. During the club’s inception the membership was limited to a mere 100 but with the financial difficulties brought about by the Great Depression, the list was expanded to 150. The list reads like a Who’s Who of high society.

Indian Mound cottage, 1892

Indian Mound  Cottage, 1892

A few of the members elected to build their own Summer residences for privacy reasons but close enough to the clubhouse to utilize the dining room and facilities. Indian Mound was owned by the oil executive William Rockefeller. The cottage, built in 1892, derived its name from the mound on the front lawn believed to be an Indian burial ground. Later, it was discovered that the mound was nothing more than shells left by the Indians. The cottage has a total of 25 rooms on 3 floors, 9 of the rooms are bedrooms and 9 are baths.

Mistletoe Cottage, 1900

Mistletoe Cottage, 1900

Mistletoe Cottage was built by Henry Kirke Porter, a train locomotive manufacturer in 1900.

The Goodyear Cottage, 1906

The Goodyear Cottage, 1906

Frank Henry Goodyear and his wife were only able to enjoy this cottage for one season before he passed away at the early age of 58.


Moss Cottage, 1896

Moss Cottage, 1896

Moss Cottage, built in 1896 is my favorite. I love the appearance of it, especially the front porch that spans the entire length of the home. The original owner was William Strothers, proprietor of a marble works company. It later became the Winter home of George Henry Macy, president of Union Pacific Tea. The house was named after the Spanish moss that hangs from the island trees.


Sans Souci also called the Hyde House

This complex was built by Henry B. Hyde of the Equitable Life Assurance Company. He felt the clubhouse was becoming overrun by guests, seeking privacy but wanting to take advantage of the main parlor, billiards room and the dining options at the club, he built this elegant apartment house. Henry Hyde personally selected the men who could lease a flat in his building, holding them to high standards, if they had mistresses, he denied them access. Those with children were also turned away to ensure a quiet atmosphere. Some of the lessees were J.P. Morgan, James A. Scrymser, a distinguished veteran of the Civil War and president of the Central and South American Telegraph Co.; William Rockefeller, William P. Anderson, American Cotton Oil Co. and Joseph Stickney of Stickney, Conynham and Co.


duBignon Cottage, 1884

This farmhouse was built by John Eugene DuBignon once the owner of Jekyll Island, it was used to house the overflow guests from the clubhouse.

Many of the old employee cottages house businesses such as gift shops, snack shops, a book store and a sweet shop. Only a few of the lanes still allow motor vehicles, most are for biking and walking now.

The Wharf

The Wharf

After covering the southern half of the district Don and I dined at Latitude 31 on the wharf. We enjoyed waterfront dining. Don had a good ‘ol American burger with sweet potato fries and once again I noshed on shrimp tacos. I haven’t met a shrimp taco I haven’t liked yet. Then we continued our walking tour of the northern half.

Cherokee Hotel,

Cherokee Hotel

Open for business is the Cherokee Hotel. Accommodations are few so reserve far in advance. The hotel offers only 10 rooms and suites.

Faith Chapel, 1904

Faith Chapel, 1904

Faith Chapel was constructed in 1904 as a place of worship for the Millionaires Club. It was the second interdenominational chapel built by the Club. It is noted for the beautiful stained glass window behind the altar, called the Adoration of the Christ Child created by Maitland and Helen Armstrong. Another notable work is located at the west end of the chapel, this window is signed by the famous Louis Tiffany. We had hoped to enter the chapel to the view the glass works but found the entry locked.

At last we came to the Plantation Oak. Don and I had visited the Angel Oak of Johns Island, Charleston in 2009 and we were enthralled by it. Since that time, we’ve made it a point in our travels to view all the massive old trees of distinction we come across. The Plantation Oak is proclaimed to be the largest and oldest tree on Jekyll Island. It is estimated to be 350 years old with a 23 foot girth and a height of 112 feet. Not as awe inspiring as the Angel tree but a remarkable beauty in its own right.

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Plantation Oak

Plantation Oak

It was rife with Resurrection plants and Spanish moss.

Resurrection plants & Spanish moss

We also spotted this cute little critter. I was surprised to see him out in the middle of the day but Don noticed one of his rear paws was bound in Spanish moss. He kept circling, trying to get at it. I so wanted to help him out but Don said to stay back, he could bite. I do hope he manages to free himself.


Unbelievably we only walked a mere 2 1/2 miles today. Hopefully I won’t pay for this outing tomorrow.

Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………….






Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “How the Other Half Lived

  1. Awesome post Gayle. Hope your knee is OK today! The homes are beautiful, but I especially liked the church. What a beauty! And of course, reading about shrimp tacos makes my mouth water!


    • Thanks Gay. The knee has been fine, maybe wearing the brace while walking is the key. I’ll do that for awhile to get me over the hump. I really hate wearing it, especially when its warm outside. I have a feeling you’re partial to old churches, am I right?

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for that great tour. We visited Jekyll several years ago and are hoping to spend a winter month there soon. I so enjoy your blogs, yours is the only one I keep up with now. I am soon to be retired and are now considering our options! thank you again

    Springfield Mo

    • Welcome Joyce! We are always pleased and surprised when we learn that others besides our families are interested in our blog.But it does put the pressure on, we hope we can continue to keep you entertained and maybe even informed. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. I gather from your last sentence that you too are considering becoming a fulltimer. The lifestyle is definitely not for everyone but we are both glad we took the leap of faith. If you are considering a month’s stay in this campground, I highly recommend you make your reservations well in advance. I understand this is a very popular Snowbird park and many folks return year after year. Please let us hear from you again and do keep us informed at what you decide to do in retirement.

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