Jekyll Island, GA (Glynn County) – We recently took a trip to the Georgia coast, and decided to see the “cottages” at the Jekyll Island Club. Visiting the homes is like a “who’s who” of the Gilded Age – Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Goodyear, Macy, etc. Today we’ll be visiting the cottages that were known as Millionaires Row.
This was a road trip for us, which means pack the car to absolute capacity…practically a rolling Wal-Mart. Back in the day, many club members arrived on their private railroad cars.
The Jekyll Island Club operated as a private winter resort from 1886-1942
The du Bignon family owned all of Jekyll Island prior to the Civil War, sold several parcels, and bought them back in the 1880s. This was the start of the Jekyll Island Club. The du Bignon Cottage below, built in 1884, has been moved from it’s original location.
Owned by the club, this cottage could be rented for $300/month. Some notable guests here include Theodore Vail, president of AT&T.
The first transcontinental phone call took place in 1915. The call took place between President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, Alexander Graham Bell in NY, Thomas Watson in San Francisco – and Vail at Jekyll Island. Remember when long distance was expensive? It was REAL expensive when it first became available – a call between New York and San Francisco? $20.70 for the first 3 minutes.
Moss Cottage, a shingle style cottage was owned by the Macy family for about 20 years. This is thought to be the first cottage wired for electricity on the island.
Mistletoe Cottage was owned by locomotive manufacturer Henry Kirke Porter for about 25 years. Built at a cost of $28,000 it contained 7 bedrooms.
Annie Porter was known as a genial hostess and the family was known to entertain frequently. Check out the attire in the lawn party photo below!
The clubhouse is where members took meals, and there were rooms available to those who did not have a cottage.
Indian Mound Cottage, built in 1891 served as the Rockefeller Family retreat for about 20 years. The name came from a 10 foot mound in front of the cottage. It was thought to contain Indian bones, but later examination showed it was only oyster shells.
Joseph Pulitzer also had a cottage here, and would sail here on his private yacht.
Hollybourne Cottage, served as the winter home of the Maurice family from 1890-1940. It’s the only home built of the island’s native “tabby” material. Built for $18,000, it has 9 bedrooms upstairs.
Cherokee Cottage was built in 1904 for The Shrady Family. With 20 rooms and 6 bathrooms it’s one that has a curb appeal! Dr. Shrady was a well known physician, who had attended U.S. Presidents Grant and Garfield. Being a remote island, everyone was glad to have a doctor around.
The State of Georgia bought Jekyll Island in 1947
After the state bought all of Jekyll Island, Cherokee Cottage was spruced up in the 1950s. It had been planed to be the Governor’s “Little Executive Mansion” – but that was so controversial, that never happened.
The largest and most expensive winter home built on Jekyll is Crane Cottage. Richard Teller Crane, Jr – think Crane plumbing fixtures. 20 Bedrooms and 17 Bathrooms! It caused quite an uproar, as Club members valued the “simplicity” of their cottages. To try and be good neighbors, it’s said the Cranes had marble flooring removed and replaced with wood.
Villa Marianna was the last Jekyll Island Club cottage to be built. Frank Miller Gould, grandson of financier of Jay Gould, had visited Jekyll for years . The cottage is named for his daughter Marianne. It’s built in the Spanish electic style, that was extremely popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
With the U.S. at war, the club did not reopen. By 1947, the state had used condemnation proceedings and Jekyll Island became a state park.
Villa Marianna served as the original headquarters of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority when founded in 1950. And for a couple of decades it was used as the residence of the Executive Director of the Authority.
Thanks so much for taking the tour of Jekyll Island, really appreciate you taking the time to read the blog! Leroy, the official Old Georgia Homes pup thanks you too!