Category Archives: Jekyll Island GA

Faith Chapel, 1904, Jekyll Island

A non-denominational sanctuary built for the Jekyll Island Club by architect Howard Constable, Faith Chapel is one of the best-known structures in the National Historic Landmark District. It features a window signed and personally installed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and another stained glass panel behind the pulpit depicting the Adoration of the Christ Child designed by Maitland Armstrong and his daughter Helen. The chapel is well-maintained today and is often used for weddings and open for tours at times.

The gargoyles are a copy of those found at Notre Dame de Paris.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Villa Ospo, 1927, Jekyll Island

Villa Ospo was one of the last structures built in the Jekyll Island Club era. It took its name from the Guale word for either the island, or a village thereon, and has Spanish Eclectic and Italian Renaissance elements.

It was built by architect John Russell Pope* for Walter Jennings (14 September 1858-9 January 1933). Jennings was a member of Skull and Bones at Yale, a Columbia Law School classmate of Theodore Roosevelt, and director of Standard Oil of New Jersey. He was a student of history, as well, and helped successfully lobby the Georgia legislature to correct the long-used spelling ‘Jekyl’ to ‘Jekyll’, as it should have been all along since Oglethorpe named the island for Sir Joseph Jekyll.

*-Notably, Pope was also the architect of the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art].

Jennings died here on 9 January 1933. He and his wife were injured in an automobile accident on Oglethorpe Road on 4 January and though a heart attack was listed as his cause of death, it’s possible this was brought on from injuries sustained in the accident.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Crane Cottage, 1917, Jekyll Island

This Renaissance Revival Mediterranean-influenced “cottage” was built in 1917 for plumbing magnate Richard Teller Crane, Jr., (7 November 1873-7 November 1931). David Adler and Henry C. Dangler were the architects. Dangler died in 1917 and the house wasn’t completed and occupied until early 1919.

It was the largest and most elaborate home ever built on Jekyll Island.

It contained 30 rooms and 17 bathrooms , the pinnacle of modernity at the time.

The grounds and sunken garden are among the most beautifully landscaped public areas on the Georgia coast.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Moss Cottage, 1896, Jekyll Island

One of the most beloved homes in the National Historic Landmark District, Moss Cottage was built for William Struthers, Jr., (15 June 1848-12 December 1911) in 1896. Though the architect is unknown, it’s possible that Struthers himself was involved in the design.

Struthers and his brother, John, owned one of the largest marble firms in the country. It was established by their architect grandfather, John Struthers, who worked with William Strickland on the iconic Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia.

It was later occupied by George Henry Macy, Kate Carter Macy, and William Kingsland Macy.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Note: This replaces a post originally published on 5 March 2012.

South Dunes Beach, Jekyll Island

Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) are vulnerable to development yet essential to the retention of sand in the constantly-shifting dunal landscape of the Georgia Coast. South Dunes is a great place to observe their impact.

The beach is accessible from the South Dunes Picnic Area.

Just remember not to walk on the dunes if you visit, as they’re important nesting areas for sea turtles and are vulnerable to any intrusions.

Groups like Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and One Hundred Miles are great advocates for these fragile landscapes which make the coast so appealing to residents and tourists alike.

Note: This replaces a post originally published on 4 March 2012.

Cleanup of Golden Ray Wreckage Continues in St. Simons Sound

Shortly after departing the Port of Brunswick in the early hours of 8 September 2019, the 656′ cargo ship Golden Ray capsized in the waters of St. Simons Sound, between Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island) and St. Simons Island. Loaded with around 4000 new Hyundai and Kia automobile en route to the Port of Baltimore, the ship sent out an emergency call around 2:00 AM and within two hours, 20 crew were rescued.  4 remained unaccounted for and a fire was raging on the unstable vessel. Holes were cut in the hull and they were extracted safely by the Coast Guard on Monday. Sector Charleston Capt. John Reed told reporters it was the best day of his career.

It was initially thought that the ship could be saved, but that proved to be infeasible. A recent report in the Navy Times suggests that it could remain in the sea for the next year. Coast Guard Cmdr. Matt Bear says “…the Golden Ray has been slowly sinking in the sand because of the powerful tides…and…the situation makes it impossible to get the ship upright without breaking it apart and creating an even bigger problem.”

One of the biggest immediate concerns at present is the environmental impact of the wreck. The ship’s 30,000-gallon fuel supply has been removed but contaminants from the 4000 vehicles yet to be extracted from the wreckage continue to pose a threat and oil continues to leak. Altamaha Riverkeeper has been monitoring pollution impact and has discovered oil slicks and tarballs in the marshes and tidal rivers of St. Simons and Jekyll Islands. While any environmental impact is potentially problematic for the area’s tourist and fishing economies, it isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, according to the Riverkeeper. The incident well illustrates the balance that must be struck between economic and environmental concerns.

Shark Tooth Beach, Jekyll Island

Located on Jekyll Creek, Shark Tooth Beach is perhaps the least known beach on the island, likely because it’s not a beach in the traditional sense. It gets its name from the prehistoric shark’s teeth commonly found here.

There’s no sign pointing you to Shark Tooth Beach. The name doesn’t even officially exist on maps and charts, but judging by the number of people who had found their way here at the time I visited, it isn’t as unknown as it once was. Still, it requires a hike or bike ride of about a mile. No motor vehicles are allowed.

The beach is littered with oyster shells and the remains of other marine life. Wrack dominates the high end of the tide line.

If you’re looking for isolation on Jekyll Island, and don’t mind the short hike, this may become one of your favorite spots.

The entrance to Shark Tooth Beach is located slightly south of the entrance to Summer Waves water park . Look for a simple gate on the right side of the road. You can park near the gate. Follow the trail to its end and you will reach the site. Shoes are strongly suggested as cacti and other sticky plants dominate sections of the trail, not to mention the sharp shells and other detritus on the beach.

Club House Annex, 1901, Jekyll Island

Growth of the Jekyll Island Club around the turn of the century necessitated the need for more space. Charles Alling Gifford designed these condominiums to meet that need.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Chicota Cottage Swimming Pool & Ruins, Jekyll Island

Along with one of the Corinthian lions that once guarded the property, these ruins and the abandoned swimming pool are all that remain of Edwin Gould’s beloved Chicota College.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Servants Housing, 1890, Jekyll Island

Now used as offices of the Jekyll Island Authority, these two structures provided housing for servants of the wealthy families who vacationed here during the Club Era.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark