31•81, the Magazine of Jekyll Island: Vol 6, No 1

Page 1



A Timeless Family Favorite

Shifting Sands, Changing Times

Nature dictates how Jekyll's landscape morphs over time. That's not to be taken lightly.


A Taste of Jekyll's Past

Here's a hearty meal, appetizer to dessert, showcasing the island's rich culinary history.

A Touch of Asia on the Island

Jekyll's globetrotting elite brought their collections home.

There's still plenty here.


How the Sea Circus Was Sunk

A '70s-era seaside spectacle was submarined, in part, by island environmentalists.

Great Escape

Five ways to completely, gloriously, shamelessly do absolutely nothing on Jekyll.


Our storied history and grand traditions remain at the Jekyll Island Club, yet much has changed. With modern amenities and all the comforts of a southern resort, return to simpler times and explore our island paradise by bike, walk the beaches, or play a round of croquet while you recharge.

Spring/Summer 2023 • Vol. 6 No. 1 THE MAGAZINE OF JEKYLL ISLAND 32
brian austin lee
your island sanctuary
sandy beaches.
among our live
24 12 19 27 2 departments 12 & 27: BRIAN AUSTIN LEE; 19: BUSINESS ATLANTA MAGAZINE, 1984; 24: MOSAIC, JEKYLL ISLAND MUSEUM TAKE THE VIEWS WITH YOU... westinjekyllisland.com traces Wood Walking A restored breezeway in an odd cobblestone flora Fiery Flower Indian Blankets are warm-weather wonders fauna Cool Whip This stunning coral builds a veritable undersea palace guardian The Man Who Revived Jekyll Executive Director Jones Hooks leaves big shoes to fill firsts Triumphant A Black Union regiment found its glory on Jekyll artisan Island Architects John Russell Pope, Cormac McGarvey my jekyll Paul Truelove and Linda Thompson These Maryland transplants living island life at the marina paths A Gator's Tale Just keep an eye out for the telltale wake 12 14 16 19 24 27 30 72

Most commonly found along the trunk of the Southern live oak tree, the native resurrection fern is aptly named for its resilience.

Photograph by Brian Austin Lee

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about 31 · 81

Published twice a year, 31·81 pairs stunning photography with thoughtful articles to tell the stories of Georgia’s unique barrier island.

Jekyll Island lies at 31 degrees north latitude and 81 degrees west longitude.


To subscribe at no charge, sign up at jekyllisland.com/magazine.

To update your subscription information, email magazine@jekyllisland.com.


100 James Road • Jekyll Island, GA 31527 jekyllisland.com

executive director

C. Jones Hooks director of marketing & communications

Alexa Hawkins

creative director

Claire Davis digital Content Manager (Photographer)

Brian Austin Lee

Photography courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority unless otherwise noted. This magazine was published by the Jekyll Island Authority in cooperation with Atlanta Magazine Custom Media. All contents ©2023. All rights reserved.


Sean McGinnis

editorial director

Kevin Benefield editor

John Donovan

art director

Tara McCarthy associate publisher

Jon Brasher

production director

Whitney Tomasino



This issue is dedicated to Jones Hooks, the longest-serving Executive Director of the Jekyll Island Authority (2008-2023). Jones has been a champion of this publication since its inception, and he remains one of the island's greatest stewards.



THE MAGAZINE OF JEKYLL ISLAND SPRING/SUMMER 2023 CHARACTER GEO R GIA SS23_Cover_converted.indd 3/9/23 2:17 PM On the cover

Nestled Amongst the Live Oaks on Jekyll Island.

For decades, we have been celebrating life and love on our breathtaking stretch of beach on Jekyll Island. Weddings, group events, family reunions, anniversary celebrations and more are special affairs at the Beachview Club Hotel. Experience our Concierge style champagne check in, daily housekeeping, turndown service and our award-winning exceptional service level. Named as Best of Georgia Winners for 2021 & 2022 and most recently awarded Unique Hotel of the Year for the State of Georgia, the team at the Beachview Club is eager to serve you.

Dear friends,

It is always such a pleasure to introduce a new issue of this prestigious magazine, which touches on all the things that make Jekyll Island special. However, this issue is bittersweet.

With my recently announced retirement comes serious reflection. Fifteen years ago when I began my responsibilities, no one could have envisioned the turnaround this island would experience. What a privilege it has been for me to shepherd the completion of large world-class facilities like the Convention Center and Camp Jekyll as well as more intimate ones; we have all witnessed a transformation on Jekyll Island!

The JIA has tried to be methodical by enlisting professional guidance with numerous plans and studies to preserve, guide, manage, and limit development for the benefit of this unique island. Through the years as a Jekyll resident, I’ve walked along the beach or ridden my bike through the historic district and watched magnificent sunrises and sunsets, always pondering what might be next.

I am honored to have worked with outstanding Board members, Governors Perdue, Deal and Kemp, members of the State Legislature, private and public sector investment partners, and our island hotels and business owners—all who have shared in the vision to revitalize Jekyll Island. Of utmost importance, I thank the outstanding Authority staff for its dedication. The work these men and women do is evident across the stories you will read in this issue, as with every issue of 31•81. I am particularly proud of the work we've accomplished to bring about a new era for Jekyll; confident the island is in good hands. The staff is wholly committed and exceptionally qualified to assure Jekyll's character remains intact.

So, as I prepare to close my door and step away as Executive Director, I am fortunate to be retiring in this place I already fondly call home. You may very likely still see me around, riding my bike to catch a sunset!

Executive Director, Jekyll Island Authority

Dale Atkins chairman Baxley, GA

Mark Williams commissioner, dnr Atlanta, GA

Joy Burch-Meeks Screven, GA

Robert “Bob” W. Krueger vicechair Hawkinsville, GA

Ruel Joyner Savannah, GA

Dr. L.C. “Buster” Evans Bolingbroke, GA

William “Bill” H. Gross secretary/treasurer Kingsland, GA

Glen Willard Richmond Hill, GA

Joseph B. Wilkinson St. Simons Island, GA

721 N. Beachview Dr. Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527 (912)635-2256 beachviewclubjekyll.com
The team at Beachview Club can't wait to welcome you!
Fifteen years ago when I began my responsibilities, no one could have envisioned the turnaround this island would experience. What a privilege it has been"
Jones Hooks

The People Who Keep Jekyll's Wonders Intact

Once not too long ago, almost unimaginably now, a group of developers received the go-ahead to erect a SeaWorld-type tourist magnet on the beaches of Jekyll Island. If, somehow, the project would have come together, the island almost certainly would be unrecognizable today.

In this issue of 31•81, The Magazine of Jekyll Island, Tony Rehagen has the story of the ill-fated Sea Circus (page 64), which was scuttled by, perhaps as much as faulty financing and sloppy management, a burgeoning environmentalist movement. The people who recognized the true value of Jekyll Island stepped up to put a stop to that nonsense.

Throughout its storied history, people have come to define this place as much as its sublime beaches and leafy forests. Among them: outgoing Jekyll Island Authority executive director Jones Hooks (page 19), who is retiring after managing the island through a remarkable renaissance, all while honoring a commitment to protect the natural beauty that makes it unique.

Elsewhere in this issue, Josh Green writes of the ever-evolving natural look of the island in the face of climate change (page 32); Mary Logan Bikoff examines the roots of Asia-influenced culture on Jekyll (page 40); and, if too much nature and history don't appeal, Jacinta Howard has some ideas on how to do absolutely nothing while you're on-island (page 48).

Change is part of Jekyll Island. It always has been. But because of the people who cherish it and care for it—like those who objected to a SeaWorld clone, like those who give their time and effort to keep the beauty and history of the place intact—the best parts of the island remain. And, thankfully, a Sea Circus isn't among them.

Allison Entrekin is a freelance writer and executive editor of Southbound. Her work has appeared in USA TODAY, Travel + Leisure, and Garden & Gun. In 2019, her environmental-travel writing for Southbound took home the bronze award at the prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards.

Andy Lovell is a printmaker and illustrator based in the UK whose work revels in the elemental nature of landscape. His prints are widely collected. www.andylovell.co.uk

Tony Rehagen is a freelance writer and former senior editor at Atlanta. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and POLITICO, among others. His work was anthologized in Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.

9 contributors
editor’s note 8
John Donovan Editor
Throughout its storied history, people have come to define this place as much as its sublime beaches and leafy forests."





Located just a few steps from the ocean and complemented with warm hospitality, the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Jekyll Island welcomes you. Surrounded by lush maritime forests and the beautiful Atlantic ocean, the Hampton Inn and Suites exudes tranquility, but we are just minutes away from the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District.

Whether your visit to Jekyll Island is for leisure, a meeting, or to attend a wedding, the hotel’s modern, spacious 138 guestrooms feature generous services and amenities. Guests will enjoy complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool, kids pool and jacuzzi, and full service lobby bar. Pet friendly rooms are also available.

200 South Beachview Dr. 912-635-3733


More on page19

Tours depart daily from Mosaic, jekyll island museum. RESERVE your spot:

brian austin lee explorer
JIA Executive Director and island resident Jones Hooks,
with his wife Stephanie, is a "man of the people."
Traces p.12 | Flora p.14 | Fauna p.16 | Guardian p.19 | Firsts p.24 | Artisan p.27 | My Jekyll p.30

Wood Walking

Restored breezeway features a different kind of cobblestone BY REBECCA BURNS

For many of us, the word "cobblestone" conjures up misty images of ancient cities with stonepaved winding streets and the clatter of horsedrawn carriages. Those cinematic stereotypes aside, not all streets were paved with stone. For a large part of the 1800s, wooden pavers were commonplace. Wooden blocks, easy to cut in uniform size, proved ideal for paving streets as cities laid out new roadways along grids. In addition to conforming to straight lines, they were quieter, easier on horse hooves, and smoother for cyclists. Today, few wooden streets remain, most

replaced by harder, stone-based surfaces.

As the Jekyll Island Club was being developed, most roads leading to and through the resort area were simply cleared dirt, or covered with crushed shells. But when the clubhouse was built in the 1880s, a breezeway, which now runs under an elevated portion of the clubhouse lobby, was constructed adopting the practice of city planners; it was paved with wooden cobbles. "The lore is that the pavers were made of the remnants of building material," says Taylor Davis, historic preservationist with the Jekyll Island Authority. The blocks were

mostly cypress, soaked in an oily substance known as creosote to preserve the road.

Over the years, the pavers deteriorated and were replaced with brick and other material. A few years ago, Davis and his team at the JIA began the work of restoring the pavers that remained and recreating the breezeway. They worked with Kaswell Flooring, a Massachusetts-based firm that specializes in wood floors. For three generations, the Kaswells have installed floors in projects as wide-ranging as the Gates Foundation in Seattle, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and others in places like Paris, Dublin, and London.

Davis and his team worked with Norman Kaswell, the flooring firm’s technical services director, and came up with a plan that included new blocks that reflected the grain and texture of the original cypress pavers. The restored breezeway includes three courses (the edging in paved work) of the original pavers. The

new version was designed with a slight rise in the center to allow water to run off to help preserve the wood.

The restored walkway is known as the Cypress Breezeway. It's marked by a bronze plaque recounting its history.

"This was a detail we did not want to fade away," Davis says. "It’s a small piece of the landscaping, but we heard from so many who remembered this from early visits to Jekyll. It’s really neat to see it returned."

Opposite page: The fully restored breezeway at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. Above: The original cobbles appear darker in color than their modern counterparts.

Fiery Flower

Indian Blanket a natural warm-weather wonder

Indian Blanket flowers radiate waves of scarlet across Jekyll Island starting in late spring, and are fully aflame by mid-summer. Reminiscent of Native American blanket patterns, the wildflower is a talisman in native folklore. A chief's wife, as the legend goes, wove a red and orange blanket as a prayer for the warrior's safety in battle. When their daughter later was lost in the woods, she woke up covered in red and orange flowers, where the returning chief found her.

Also known as firewheel, the flower's goldtipped petals at one time cloaked Jekyll Island's dunes. Deer, rabbits, and butterflies feast on the flower (Gaillardia pulchella), which actually helps the flowers flourish. Some butterflies use it as a host plant to lay eggs. Bees use firewheel to make amber-hued honey with a buttery taste. The root can be ground into a digestive-soothing tea or emollient cream.

Sandy dry soil in hot, sunny climates is the best environment for home gardeners who want to grow the mostly carefree flower. It's also commonly planted along roadsides and meadows, and on Jekyll's causeway. "It does require frequent deadheading to promote further blooming," says Cliff Gawron, the Jekyll Island Authority's director of landscaping and planning. "It's a very reliable, tough-as-nails plant that readily reseeds itself year after year once it's been established."

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Mesmerizing coral forms a teeming underwater colony

Jekyll Island beachcombers

often find tangles of what, at first glance, appear to be strands of rope washed up on the shore. A closer inspection, though, reveals that it's not marine debris or water-logged plants, but one-time living animals with rainbow-colored "branches." It's sea whip coral, a nearshore cold-water coral species found up and down the mid-Atlantic coast. Scuba divers around Jekyll can spot sea whips on pilings in shallow coastal water, marked by fuschia, ruby, golden, vi-

olet, and creamsicle-colored fronds. This flexible coral latches onto just about any underwater hard surface, natural or manmade, from rock outcrops and shells to shipwrecks. A large colony of polyps makes up the cylindrical "branches" that are attached to the sea whip's skeleton. Eight tentacles, used for feeding, spring from each polyp. Sea whips are suspension feeders, using those swaying branches to suck up plankton as it floats nearby.

Divers can expect quite a show from the colonies of sea whips. Thanks to their flexible skeleton, the soft coral's boldly hued bodies sway with the ocean currents. The sea whip coral's "branches" can grow to three feet long, offering camouflage and concealment

Taste Beach Style on Jekyll Island

The Beach House sits just yards away from the beach with breathtaking views of the Atlantic. Whether you prefer to dine inside or at the bar, under the spacious screened in wrap around

to all sorts of critters like crabs, shrimp, and some fish. Sea whips can live up to 15 years, but their average lifespan is just six—and sometimes less in hostile environments. Like all coral, fishing traps and lines are a constant danger, pulling them away from their moorings and washing them onto shores. They have natural predators, too, including sea slugs and a type of striped puffer fish called a burrfish. Fortunately, sea whips are not an endangered species, at least not yet, says Yank Moore, the Jekyll Island Authority's Director of Conservation. "They are vulnerable, as are most coral species," he says, "but they do not have any official [endangered] listing."

Sea whip coral is a suspension feeder, sucking up plankton as it floats nearby.

Our culinary team takes tremendous pride in creating something for everyone in a family friendly atmosphere. From home made deserts, hand crafted salads, appetizers, and Artisan pizzas to the stars of the show with fresh local seafood. We feature a full wrap around bar with one of the largest draft beer selections in Southeast GA. From Porters to Ciders, we are able to showcase a variety of regional craft beers on one of our 24 tap handles.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pets are welcomed! Beach House is also available to host private parties and dining events in the state of the art event space.

715 N. Beachview Dr. Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527 (912)319-0033 jibeachhouse.com photograph by brian austin lee; illustration by amy holliday fauna
18 Outgoing JIA chief Jones Hooks brought new life to the island by diving boldly into its culture BY TONY REHAGEN The
Revived Jekyll 19 guardian OEG R G I A SEATUR T LE CENTE R JE K Y L L ISLA N D Get up close and personal at Georgia’s only coastal wildlife rehabilitation hospital. 912-635-4444 • gstc.jekylli slan d.com REHABILITATION • RESEARCH • EDUCATION
Man Who

In June 2008, when Jekyll Island Authority Executive Director Jones Hooks told the board that just hired him that he intended to live on the island he would be in charge of, many said the move was a mistake. And that was a nice way of putting it.

"They told me I was crazy," says Hooks. "They said I'd never get away from the job."

They were right. But that was the point. Hooks had spent the previous 30 years working in and around the public, first as an aide to the late Georgia congress-

man Ronald "Bo" Ginn and then heading up numerous organizations geared toward community or economic development at the local, state, and federal levels. He knew from experience that the only way to truly understand a place and its people was to live there—even if it meant he might not be able to take an evening bike ride without being stopped by a neighbor with a question or concern. "I had never represented an area where I had not lived," says Hooks. "You only really know an area when you are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

That devotion became a trademark as Hooks ushered in an unprecedented period of renewal on Jekyll Island, an era that is now ending. After 15 years helming the JIA, Hooks is retiring.

"He has been totally committed to Jekyll and to the renovation and enhancements that we brought," says Bob Krueger, Vice Chairman of the JIA Board of Directors. Krueger was on the selection committee when the board hired Hooks. "His demand for quality and the team he has brought on board have helped us maintain the natural beauty of Jekyll and natural charm of Jekyll and make it a special destination."

When Hooks first moved his family to Jekyll, the home they bought was in need of updating. It had to be gutted and rebuilt from the studs. The island Hooks inherited wasn't in much better shape. The number of visitors to the island had plummeted. Hotels had lost their national branding and were having trouble booking guests. Buildings were run down. The island had few restaurants and a sub-standard gas station. With an annual operating budget of only $15 million, Hooks was charged with developing Jekyll into a tourist attraction while preserving its history and delicate natural habitat. Former Governor Sonny Perdue had earlier determined that Jekyll should be revitalized and provided the necessary budgetary catalyst.

The crown jewel of development efforts was approval and construction of a new, more modern convention center and the adjacent beach village retail shops in 2010. This in turn brought back the international hotel chains, including The Westin Jekyll Island, which built its resplendent resort

Opposite page: Hooks speaks at a time capsule dedication ceremony for the state park's 75th anniversary. Above: Hooks and his mentor, former Congressman "Bo" Ginn.


five years later. On the other side of the island, Hooks oversaw upgrades to the Jekyll Island Club Resort area and its surrounding historic cottages, as well as the total revamp of old horse stables into what today is Mosaic, the island's museum, which documents and raises awareness of the island's rich history. Former Governor Nathan Deal and Governor Brian Kemp continued to support revitalization efforts led by Hooks. In all, more than $285 million in private investments and more than $82 million in public capital was spent on improvements to the island.

Hooks also used a shelved conservation study as a blueprint to cordon off Jekyll's natural treasures and invested in a new conservation plan, plus the staff necessary to execute it. "When I first arrived, our conservation was pretty much one employee running around with a butterfly net," says Hooks. Gradually he has been able to boost the conservation budget to

more than $700,000 a year, in addition to programming around the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Initiatives to save plovers, turtles, bobcats, dunes and marshes have been launched. The operating budget also includes annual funding for reforestation.

Hooks oversaw many more subtle improvements throughout the island, too, and not just by paving roads and replanting trees. He changed the work culture of Jekyll, and he did so by example.

"He went to almost every new-employee orientation and talked about setting the tone and how everybody and every job is important," says Marjorie Johnson, JIA Chief Accounting Officer. "It takes everybody to meet the goals of the JIA and Jones gives examples in orientation of ways that different jobs impact those goals. When Jones went out for a bike ride, he would stop and pick up trash along the way. He would also make a list as he was riding around of things he saw that needed to

be spruced up. He never 'clocked out.'"

Now, after serving longer than any executive director since the JIA's formation in 1950, Hooks has decided it's time to step aside. He aims to travel and spend more time with his wife Stephanie and their grandchildren. He and Stephanie aren't leaving Jekyll, though. They will continue to live in the same house he moved into 15 years ago, remaining a supportive citizen of the island he's grown to love.

"I've poured everything into this place," says Hooks. "This is the only place I know where you can walk to the beach, see a beautiful sunrise, and in the same day easily walk to the island’s other side and watch the sun set."

Opposite page: One of Jones' many speaking engagements as head of the Albany Chamber of Commerce. Above: Jones in Business Atlanta Magazine 1984. Inset: Jones with then Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia
behalf of the State of Georgia, I want to thank Jones Hooks for his years of service as Executive Director of the Jekyll Island Authority. Under his lead- ership, one of our state’s great- est natural assets and wonders has grown into a premier destination for tourists and business travelers alike. It’s my honor to congratulate him on a job well done and wish him all the best in his retirement.”
—Governor Brian Kemp

Rediscover Jekyll Island

“There’s nothing like it that exists, and when you break through the path leading to the beach and see it for the first time, it feels like you take a step back in time to another world.”


160 years ago, the first Black Union regiment found glory on Jekyll

For many it was a return, a bittersweet homecoming that celebrated a battle for independence in the truest sense of the term. In January 1863, the First South Carolina Volunteers—the first Black Union Army regiment—arrived at Jekyll Island and laid waste to the Confederate battery.

"Their story is moving," said Andrea Marroquin, curator of Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum. "This is a triumphant example of formerly enslaved people who freed themselves and others."

The First South Carolina Volunteers were residents of the Sea Islands who fled slavery in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina to join the Union Army. The First South Carolina Volunteers set out in early 1863, following the signing

of the Emancipation Proclamation, to bring the news to formerly enslaved residents in the Southeast. When they reached Jekyll, they labored to remove and salvage iron from the abandoned Confederate battery. Some of the troops had, in enslavement, worked for the Confederates to create the battery there.

"The men have been repeatedly under fire . . . and have in every instance come off not only with unblemished honor, but with undisputed triumph," wrote their commanding officer, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

The First South Carolina Volunteers, later known as the 33rd Regiment in the U.S. Colored Infantry, were the longest-serving Black unit in the Union army.

As the group moved through the South spreading news of the Emancipation Proclamation, it followed the motto, "the year of Jubilee has come."

The story of the regiment is being incorporated into exhibitions at Mosaic, part of ongoing efforts to showcase the island's African American history in programs and exhibits at the museum. "We want to make history relatable to more people, and tell a more complete history," Marroquin said.

912.635.4100 | info@jekyllislandfoundation.org | jekyllislandfoundation.org JIF is the official 501(c)(3) fundraising partner of the Jekyll Island Authority. JEKYLL
Conserve. Preserve. Educate.
The Jekyll Island Foundation is devoted to raising funds for conservation, preservation, and education initiatives on and for Jekyll Island. Experience what Jekyll Island has to offer today!
SEAN MCGINNIS, JEKYLL ISLAND FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER Emancipation Day in South Carolina. The Color Sergeant of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers addressing the regiment, after having been presented with the Stars and Stripes at Smith's Plantation, Port Royal Island, January 1, 1863
Jekyll Island’s Award Winning Hotel 60 S. BEACHVIEW DRIVE JEKYLL ISLAND, GA 31527 888-635-3003 DAYSINNJEKYLL.COM Come along with us and “Coast Awhile”! 27 artisan The Architects Works of John Russell Pope, Cormac McGarvey illustrate Jekyll's unique building styles

Amedley of architectural styles chronicles the history of Jekyll Island, from 18thcentury tabby ruins to the heavily ornamented Queen Anne Victorian clubhouse at the Jekyll Island Club Resort to midcentury modern ranches.

Perhaps no two architects display this stylistic range better than John Russell Pope and Cormac McGarvey. Pope, the famed classical architect behind some of the nation's most revered public buildings (including the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.), designed one of the last great Gilded Age mansions (or "cottages," as they're called) on the island in 1927. McGarvey was an accomplished local architect who drew up some of Jekyll's most distinctive, function-first midcentury modern residences following the purchase of the island by the State of Georgia in 1947.

"That's a pretty short distance, timewise," says Taylor Davis, historic preservationist for the Jekyll Island Authority, "to see such a massive change in style."

When Pope was hired in the late 1920s by Walter Jennings, a Standard Oil executive and new president of the Jekyll Island Club, to design a winter retreat for his family on the island, the private club was at its peak of glory. One of the last residences of that era, Pope's Villa Ospo, combined Italian Renaissance and Spanish Eclectic influences, with its arched windows and doorways, Ludowici tile roof, and classical pilasters.

Second-floor balconies, arcaded walkways, and arched corridors shed light on the relaxed but lavish lifestyle the Jennings family lived.

By the 1950s, with the island now in state hands, Jekyll witnessed new architectural energy, especially after the causeway was opened to automobiles in 1954. When Jekyll's first land leases became available in the late 1940s, the island was a "tabula rasa," as Davis puts it, of residential architecture, save for the "Millionaire's Village," which had quickly become an artifact. Jekyll's new neighborhoods—Pine Grove, Oak Grove, Jekyll Beach, and others—spoke to the more efficient, streamlined postwar lifestyle that middle-class vacationing families enjoyed. New homes were low-slung, flooded with light, and featured built-ins and fireplaces.

McGarvey, a Brunswick native who studied in Paris and worked in New York, would have been privy to high-style modern pioneers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. That influence was evident in his 1950s design of the no-longer standing community center known as the St. Simons Casino, a fashionable white modernist building designed as a horizontal component to the neighboring lighthouse. McGarvey also drafted some of Jekyll's most notable midcentury homes, showcasing flat roofs, floor-to-ceiling windows, overhanging eaves, and concrete breeze blocks for patio privacy and ventilation, a style that Davis has taken to calling "coastal Brutalist." There are at least a

half-dozen such McGarvey homes on Jekyll that Davis is currently researching. "They do all have similarities, and they stand out," he says. Many remain unrenovated, often featuring original bathroom and kitchen details, from turquoise tile to built-in cabinets.

These homes are a far cry from the monumental columns and arcades of Pope's work. But if you look closely, Davis says, the two architects share, in particular, an ability to pull the outside into their work in order to bask in the island's natural beauty.

28 artisan 29 Discover The Wharf – the island’s beloved waterfront restaurant and bar. Enjoy coastal comfort food and refreshing cocktails while you take in a stunning sunset. Unmatched views & southern seafood DINE ON THE WATER JEKYLLCLUB.COM/DINING | 912-635-3612
Opposite page left to right: John Russell Pope and Cormac McGarvey (Russell photo courtesy Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum. McGarvey photo courtesy of Cormac McGarvey Jr.) This page: Midcentury modern home designed by McGarvey.

"Jekyll Island is a place like no other. We brought our boat down from Annapolis [Maryland] for eight winters in a row and eventually decided we should stay. We live at the marina, which means we have yearround waterfront views and a constantly changing group of friends. The best thing about the island is its natural beauty. Since Georgia law mandates that only [a small amount] of the island can be developed, you find unspoiled beaches, live oaks, and wildlife here that you don't see anywhere else. And the historic district is incredible. It's like living in a history book."


Photograph by BRIAN AUSTIN LEE

paul truelove and linda

thompson work with jekyll island boat tours, paul as a dolphin boat captain and linda as office manager. they moved from annapolis, where paul taught at the annapolis school of seamanship and linda was a chef on a large private yacht. linda, who is also a licensed boat captain, often runs charters with paul.

30 my jekyll 31

Shifting Sands, ChangingTimes



Like all of Georgia's 14 barrier islands, Jekyll Island is dynamic. It's a 5,700-acre composition of sand, soil, and flora upon which wind and tidal forces constantly act, causing the island to both grow and shrink. The changes come in two primary ways: Either through erosion (Driftwood Beach, that picturesque boneyard of ocean-toppled, petrified trees didn't technically used to be where it is today, but closer to Jekyll's pier and the island's extreme northern tip, roughly a mile away), or through accretion, the gradual addition of

new land packed on at the beach and salt marshes.

The best example of accretion today is on the island's south end, which historical records show has extended half a mile southward since 1867. (It's grown by 500 feet just since 2002.)

Beachside homes on that part of Jekyll built decades ago now require a long walk or drive to the sand. Elsewhere, the undulating topography around Camp Jekyll, as one example, consists of old beachfront sand dunes that have stabilized and grown vegetation. At nearby St. Andrews Beach,

erosion is starting to claim upland ground and oak trees and create a miniature version of Driftwood Beach.

Two habitats are competing and, as always, the ocean is winning.

Another stark example: A couple of generations ago, the North Picnic Area, as 1960s postcards depict, was a hotspot for vacationing families. With views to St. Simons Island across the sound, the recreation area included spots for shaded lounging, benches, and large concrete picnic tables set back

from the waves. According to board minutes from August 1964, the Jekyll Island State Park Authority unanimously voted to install 1,200 feet of rock near the picnic area to protect against the sea. But the vote came too late.

The following month, Hurricane Dora swept up from Jacksonville and caused heavy damage to the North Picnic Area—if, in fact, Dora didn't wipe it away entirely. (Board minutes never mention the picnic area again, and other records are scant.)

These days, when tide conditions are right—or if another

storm lifts away sand on Driftwood Beach, as Hurricane Nicole did in November—the picnic tables emerge from the sea, peeking up like oversized tombstones from an old shoreline.

Visible topographical changes to Jekyll are not just natural but expected, and in many cases totally healthy. The forces that cause them, though, are becoming more frequent and stronger, requiring manmade action and preventative measures, both obvious and not.

"You'll see that changes flip flop sometimes on different parts

of the island, erosion and accretion, showing that the growth isn't constant, it's always changing," says Yank Moore, the Director of Conservation for the Jekyll Island Authority. "It all illustrates what the forces of change, the natural forces, can do."

While some continue to discount the causes, severity, and even the existence of climate change, it's clear that punishing natural forces are increasingly top-of-mind for Georgia's coast. Jekyll Island, like many of its coastal neigh -

Visible topographical changes to Jekyll are not just natural but expected ... the forces that cause them, though, are becoming more frequent and stronger, requiring manmade action and preventative measures, both obvious and not.

bors, is being forced to come up with innovative solutions to adapt and prepare.

Moore says changes to Jekyll's mature, protected maritime forest and marshes are detectable— mostly by noting basic plant succession and the transition of certain habitats—but are slow

High-tide floods exacerbate the erosion and wreak havoc on infrastructure up and down the coast, says Hill. That isn't limited just to beach erosion or damage to docks and other structures on the wetlands side of Jekyll, especially when big tides combine with storm events. "We have a lot

enough to be of relatively little concern. Sea levels throughout coastal Georgia are a different story. Historical data show that high-tide flooding events were rare until about 1990 (less than one per year). Between 2010 and 2019, that jumped to 6.5 events per year. The first two years of this decade have seen 11 tide-related floods a year. By 2050, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the number of events could swell to 70 per year, or roughly one every fifth day, according to Kelly Hill, Georgia Department of Natural Resource's green growth specialist.

of people," Hill notes, "that drive through salt water pooled on roads, unaware it's damaging the undercarriage of their car. Those are things that people are going to really have to start thinking about." Moore says sea level rise hasn't been as damaging on Jekyll as in other coastal areas, but "we are seeing more of those bigger tides, over that nine-foot level."

On the major storm front, Georgia's 100-mile coast has been impacted by 11 tropical storms and one hurricane across the first two decades of this century—more than the total between 1950 and 2000. "I think

"Sea turtles nest on dunes and open sand, but with vegetation, roots and things can constrict the growth of their eggs. The reset that hurricanes provide is good for turtles' success."

people who've been there the past decade have noticed impacts from more hurricanes—Matthew, Irma, Ian, and Nicole—with visual changes they've seen on the shoreline with sand dunes," says Hill, who's based in Brunswick. Still, hurricanes do provide some benefits, from a biological perspective, in that they can reset beach ecosystems and make it easier for species such as sea turtles and shorebirds to flourish. "A hurricane knocking back some vegetation, and throwing a bunch

of new sand up there, is actually a good thing, even though they might look destructive, and they are, from a human standpoint," says Moore. "We had one of our most productive shorebird years with our Wilson's plovers—a species that nests [on Jekyll's southern end]—following a hurricane, because it gave them a lot more room to spread out, and kept the predators away. Sea turtles nest on dunes and open sand, but with vegetation, roots and things can constrict the

Stormy Jekyll

Are big storms becoming more and more frequent around Jekyll?

growth of their eggs. The reset that hurricanes provide is good for turtles' success."

Is there anything that Jekyll visitors and residents can do to help stem the tide of change? Hill recommends diligently obeying educational signage and warnings posted around sensitive areas. "People don't understand how fragile the sand dune system is, and how important it is to protect our shorelines from erosion,"

she says. "Don't wander into the dunes and trample vegetation." Professional mitigation measures are nothing new on Jekyll, and they continue. (See the so-called Johnson rocks, an abetment of granite boulders stretching down the island's east coast to slow erosion, originally installed in the 1960s after Dora and recently restored.) More recent flood-fighting upgrades have come ashore, from bioretention areas and functional landscaping that helps keep soil in place, to permeable concrete in several places around the island, gravel bike trails, and permeable pavers that help water infiltrate the ground and relieve the burden on stormwater infrastructure. Elsewhere, bioswales in hotel parking lots, Hill says, are mistaken by visitors as gardens. (Bioswales are designed to control stormwater runoff.) Another tactic by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is more experimental; it involves dredge material pulled from the

bottom of Jekyll's intercoastal channel that's sprayed evenly over the marshland to raise its elevation, if only slightly, in the face of sea-level rise. Yet another measure that could have a broad, positive impact is Jekyll's adoption of a sea-level ordinance last summer mandating that future development be raised a specific height, per DNR recommendations, to accommodate for more frequent flooding events. Jennifer Kline, Georgia DNR's coastal hazards specialist, says Jekyll's government was the first in the 11-county coastal area to implement such an ordinance.

"Jekyll is not unique in its vulnerability on the coast," says Kline. "But, where Jekyll is unique is that they are being extremely proactive and have really stepped out front recently to address some of those vulnerabilities. Continuing down that path is a positive step forward in being able to adapt."

Impactful storms have come ashore throughout the island's existence, but the terminology for them has changed over the years. These days, according to the National Hurricane Center, a tropical storm is defined as a tropical cyclone (a cyclone is a "rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation") that has maximum sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Here's a summary of hurricanes and tropical storms in the area over the past 163 years.

Historical records indicate nine hurricanes struck coastal Georgia from 1851 to 1900.

Five hurricanes were logged from 1901 to 1950, when "tropical storm" designations began.

Just one hurricane (Dora) landed from 1951 to 2000, but 10 others were classified as tropical storms.

This century, two tropical storms were recorded from 2001 to 2012, but no hurricanes.

Since 2012, the coast has seen just one hurricane make landfall, though at least four have had a significant impact on Jekyll. Nine tropical storms have struck in the last decade.

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"We had one of our most productive shorebird years with our Wilson's plovers a species that nests [on Jekyll's southern end] following a hurricane, because it gave them a lot more room to spread out, and kept the predators away."




Collecting Asian art was all the rage in upper-crust society from the Gilded Age through the 1920s. Spurred in part by the Aesthetic movement of the late 19th century, which championed "art for art's sake" and distant travel, a lust for "exotic" cultures arose. So came a flood of blue-and-white porcelain, hand-painted nature motifs, and lacquered furniture from Asia into the homes of the American elite—like those who vacationed at the Jekyll Island Club. The result is a small but significant collection of historical Asian art and objects at Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum.

"At the time, the whole world had a fascination with Asian art," says Faith Plazarin, archivist and records manager at the Jekyll Island Authority, who is currently cataloging these works for a possible exhibition. "Jekyll was a localized piece of this world. It reflects what was going on at the time, demonstrating this fascination with traveling and collecting."

Left: Yellow quilted coat from North India worn by Oliver Jennings, 1926.
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The allure of Asia and Asian art has a long history on Jekyll. The original Jekyll Island Museum, which opened in 1954, showcased the tradition with an intricately carved, ancient-looking "Chinese Wishing Chair," the brainchild of original curator Tallu Fish. The massive wooden chair, stained or painted to resemble ebony, was replete with carvings of clouds, dragons, and monsters. For 25 cents, visitors could sit on the chair and make a wish. Generations of island guests have been photographed in the chair, which can still be seen on guided tours of Indian Mound Cottage today.

The first Asia-centric collections on island were perhaps best typified by those of the Jennings family, who spent winters at Jekyll's Villa Ospo in the 1920s and were well-known for their annual treks abroad. Walter Jennings, a Standard Oil Company executive, and his wife Jean were prolific collectors of Chinese porcelain and other objects. Their diaries document trips to Europe, Egypt, India, and China in the early 20th century. Their collections were bestowed to their youngest child, Constance Jennings Ely,

and then to her daughter, Day Ely Ravenscroft, who donated them to the Jekyll Island Museum before her death in 2012.

"They took really good care of their things, too," says Plazarin. "This collection came with a long note explaining some of the materials."

One spectacular piece from that trove is a silk robe brought from China in 1922 that features elaborate stitching of figures and landscapes. Woven with gold thread that glitters, the highly decorated sleeve cuffs were embroidered with a traditional needlepoint technique known as the "court stitch" or the "forbidden stitch," so detailed and intricate it was said to blind the craftsperson and thus was outlawed.

(More likely, it was named so because the emperor, whose palace was known as the Forbidden City, wanted the most beautiful embroidery for himself.)

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This page top left: Red velvet vest made in India with gold soutache braid detail and trim. Top right: Pair of leather Indian Mogul style shoes worn by Jeannette Jennings, 1920s. Above: 19th Century Chinese Wedding Mirror. Left: A figurine made from jade-colored soapstone from the Eugene O'Neill collection. Above: Tallu Fish's "Wishing Chair."

According to Ravenscroft's notes, the garments were worn extensively by her mother despite their fine nature. "Victorians did whatever they felt like," she writes. "So they could use their items that we would put in a museum." Still, at some point, the cuffs with the forbidden stitch were removed and one was framed alongside a hand fan with ivory sticks and embroidered silk leaves. (Ely may have replaced the prized sleeves so that she could wear the robe—and she did, until 1985.)

Also in the Jennings family collection were two robes purchased on a 1926 trip to India, leather and gold shoes, and a gold embroidered turban and cap. The family displayed these fashions—as well as exquisite saris since donated to a museum in Mumbai—at their annual Christmas costume party, captured in a grainy black and white photograph. Walter dons a purple and gold brocade coat stitched with flowers and ribbon from North India that his daughter Constance later wore regularly as an evening jacket. His son Oliver wears a yellow cotton quilted coat with a floral pattern and rogue betel juice stains, purportedly where the tailor "missed the spittoon," it says in Ravenscroft's notes.

The costumed affair points now to Americans' myopic perception of the world at the time. "They didn't see cultural sensitivity in the same way we do now," notes Plazarin.

The fascination with Asia ran deep in the Jennings family. They likely would have been aware of the collection of Asian art by their cousin, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, during the same era. Rockefeller, who had ties to Jekyll on both sides of her family, went on to co-found the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her son, John D. Rockefeller III, founded the Asia Society.

Other significant pieces in the Jekyll Island collection include a jade-colored soapstone sculpture and lacquered furniture passed down from the playwright Eugene O'Neill, who lived on neighboring Sea Island from 1932 to 1936. None of the Jennings' original furniture remains on Jekyll, but various antique Asian vessels were left on the island when it transferred hands to the state. These sit today on display at Villa Ospo, often seen by wedding parties renting the cottage.

Center: Detail of a purple and gold coat from India worn by Walter Jennings, 1926. Above: Detail of Oliver Jennings' North Indian coat.

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Above: Stitched skullcap from India and small gold skullcap, both from the Ravenscroft Collection. Center inset: Annual Jennings Family Christmas Costume Party, 1926.


Jekyll's Mistletoe Cottage, designed by Charles Alling Gifford for locomotive manufacturer Henry Kirke Porter, features a light-filled conservatory originally adorned with exported Chinese wallpaper, block-printed with colorful birds and rice grasses. A lattice of shellacked bamboo rods once outlined the panels. The paper—actually a whisper-thin cotton gauze adhered to paper—dates to 1900 and was all but lost to time at one point, remaining only on the ceiling, where it suffered from mold, UV light, insect debris, poor repairs, and decades of humidity. With a restoration expense of more than $86,000 including support from the nonprofit Friends of Jekyll Island, the Jekyll Island Authority called in conservators from the nonprofit Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC).

r A team of three preservationists spent several days removing the original paper, which was confirmed to contain lead, arsenic, and other toxins. Clad in protective gear and armed with spatulas and scalpels, the team carefully scraped the paper onto foam rolls. The bamboo rods around the panels were mapped and tagged so they could be reinstalled in exactly the original manner. Salvageable panels were cleaned, photographed, and archived at Jekyll Island.

r The section of paper in the best condition was sent to the NEDCC lab in Andover, Massachusetts, cleaned with brushes and sponges, and documented photographically and in writing. Because of its fragility, a traditional Japanese adhesive, funori, was applied. The section was blotter-washed and gently humidified and bleached to remove stains. Tears were repaired with toned Japanese paper and wheat starch paste.

r Collections photographers then took overlapping images of the panel, stitching it together meticulously in Photoshop. Individual motif elements were restored digitally, using sections that were protected behind bamboo for color testing.

r The pattern for installation was then reconstructed to ensure seamless repeats of the motif.

r The Jekyll Island Authority decided to enlist a local wallpaper hanger to install the reproduced paper rather than conservators, so tests were performed to find a suitable paper that would resist print fade and be durable enough to hang.

r The NEDCC then printed 1,555 square feet of panels, enough for all four walls and the ceiling. So far, only the ceiling panels have been installed, showing visitors what the paper would have looked like when it rolled out in 1900. The best-preserved, archivally framed original panel is on view in the conservatory.

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Preservationists painstakingly remove the original wallpaper, preparing it to be archived.



Jekyll Island is the perfect place to bask in the infinite joy of doing absolutely nothing. With its miles of gorgeous shoreline, lush maritime forests, and picturesque salt marshes, the island is ripe with beautiful scenery and natural wonders that inspire relaxed vibes. Whether the plan is to nap, take a leisurely stroll, chill in the shade with a cool drink, or abandon all plans entirely and let the salt air lift you through your day, the opportunities for hardcore R&R are bountiful.


Let your worries float away with the breeze as you roll over the causeway, windows down, on the way to your escape on Jekyll Island. Rich salt marshes decorate the landscape, creating a poetic backdrop for a carefree cruise. And while the serene marshes have inspired writers and dreamers, the causeway is also a favorite location for birdwatchers. You’ll have a good chance of spotting a soaring bald eagle, white pelican, or sea sparrow as you cruise. Remember, though: It’s a chill 55 mph when you first roll past the Spanish-style entrance towers of the Causeway toward the island, but speed limits change as you get closer.

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Allow the soft lull of ocean waves to coax you into complete tranquility at Driftwood Beach, known for its iconic fallen trees, carved and shaped by decades of erosion. Take a chair along to kick back and soak in the picturesque landscape, once a maritime forest but now lined with ancient tree trunks and weathered branches displayed like art on a sandy canvas. It’s a stunning spot, a favorite for weddings and world-renowned photo shoots. Curl up with a book, or simply enjoy the rich splash of colors colliding in the sky at dusk. Tuck your toes into the sand, or make space to lay out a blanket on a balmy night, where clear skies, bright stars, and the smell of saltwater provide an intoxicating air of calm.

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Wander the paths of the maritime forests, where sunbeams stretch through the canopy of towering oaks and southern magnolias. Take a leisurely stroll on one of the many trails to discover teeming wildlife, historic ruins, and lush vegetation. With more than a thousand acres of forest featuring miles of trail systems—including routes appropriate for any age—there’s plenty of opportunity to lose yourself in all the leafy beauty.

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Gilded Age opulence and an historic charm make Jekyll Island Club Resort a must-visit for those who need to unwind. Once a retreat for some of America’s wealthiest families, the original Jekyll Island Club opened in 1888 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1994. Its storied history and tasteful romantic ambiance have made it a popular haven for anyone seeking an escape. Disconnect and settle in on the porch rocking chairs while you sip your favorite cool drink and watch the breeze stir through the Spanish moss-draped oaks.

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Nothing says relaxation quite like a good afternoon nap. And there’s no better place to drift off into la la land than on the beach. With 10 miles of unspoiled shoreline, Jekyll Island beaches are a veritable sanctuary for those looking to take a load off. Pop over to St. Andrews Beach to unwind while birdwatching, or take in a sunset. Visit South Dunes Beach Park, where you’re more likely to spot a shorebird than another person. Or revel in the wistful sea oats and pristine sand dunes of Glory Beach. No matter which hideaway you choose, soft waves and fresh ocean air provide the perfect ingredients for the ideal daytime doze.

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Here’s a hearty meal straight from the island’s rich culinary history

Food and drink have been an integral part of Jekyll Island’s culture throughout its history. Native Americans cooked fish over open fires. Colonial settlers brewed the state’s first beers. Jekyll Island Club members entertained with large dinners, and State Era residents experimented with fancy seafood dishes. Here, we share historically inspired recipes that bring the flavors of Jekyll’s past to present-day kitchens.


Yield: 6 servings

1 cup butter

½ cup flour

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 cup chopped onions

½ cup chopped parsley

2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained

¼ cup anchovies, minced

1 ounce absinthe or sherry

3 dozen oysters on the half shell, 1 cup juice reserved Rock salt

Melt butter in a large sauce pot, stir in flour, and cook five minutes. Do not brown. Blend in oyster juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Place onions, parsley, spinach, and anchovies in a food processor and combine. Add to pot and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove cover and stir in absinthe or sherry; cook until thickened. Top each oyster with sauce and put half shells in a broiler over rock salt (which cradles the oyster and helps to distribute the heat) for about 6 minutes, or until edges of oysters begin to curl.

This recipe comes from a State Era seafood cookbook entitled A Pretty Kettle of Fish, by Tallu Fish. It was Fish who helped open the Jekyll Island Museum on December 11, 1954, the same day the Jekyll Island Causeway opened to cars on the island. Until her death in 1971, Fish compiled the museum’s archives and wrote books about Jekyll. The title of her seafood cookbook was a play on words: Yes, there were fish in many of the recipes, but to her, the prettiest kettle of ‘’Fish” were her 13 grandchildren. — Excerpted from A Pretty Kettle of Fish: Jekyll Island Seafood Cookery, by Tallu Fish

Yield: 15 servings

5-pound chicken

½ pack extra chicken gizzards

1-2 bunches scallions, chopped

1 pound bacon

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 tablespoons butter

8 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon paprika, or to taste

8 potatoes, chopped

1 pint half and half

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a large stew pot, along with extra gizzards. Add water to cover. Boil about 1½ hours, until falling off the bone. Let cool about 20 minutes. Debone chicken and place back in broth. Sprinkle scallions in broth. Cook bacon and set aside. Pour off some of the bacon grease, then sauté onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in remaining grease. Add butter and flour mixed with paprika to vegetables. Add everything to broth, stirring well. Chop bacon and add to broth. Add potatoes. Season to taste with parsley, thyme, salt, garlic powder, pepper, seasoned pepper, white pepper, red pepper, and dill. Add half and half. Simmer about an hour, until potatoes have cooked through. In a separate bowl, mix flour and cornstarch, then add water. Add to pot, stirring constantly to desired thickness. Simmer until ready to serve.

This recipe is emblematic of the kind of dish that Major William Horton, who settled Jekyll Island during the Colonial period, might have eaten. The Georgia Trustees granted Horton the island for one pound and one shilling in 1735; with the help of indentured servants, Horton went on to plant crops and build a tabby home (now known as the Horton House), the facade of which still stands today. This recipe would likely have been prepared in a large pot over an open flame and accompanied with beer; Horton planted hops and rye and founded Georgia’s first brewery on the island. — Recipe courtesy of Gretchen Greminger and Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum Curator Andrea Marroquin


Jean Brown Jennings, wife of Standard Oil Director Walter Jennings, acquired this recipe from a friend in August 1896. In 1927, the Jennings built a modern stucco mansion called Villa Ospo on Jekyll Island; Walter was president of the Jekyll Island Club, and he and Jean often welcomed island newcomers into their home. This recipe is something Jean might have offered at one of her many Club-era parties. To update this recipe for modern palates, consider including adding optional ingredients (see recipe) to the mixture. — Recipe from Mrs. J.A. Weekes, gathered by friends in the book of Jean Brown Jennings, wife of Club member Walter Jennings

Yield: 6 servings

1 loaf white bread, divided

10 tablespoons melted butter, divided

2 medium apples, divided

4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided

2 tablespoons molasses, divided (optional)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Yield: 8 servings

9 ears corn, husks and cornsilk removed (or substitute 2 cans cream-style corn and 2 cans wholekernel corn, drained)

2 cups milk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Optional: 8 ounces cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin or paprika, and/or 1 teaspoon minced garlic.

Fill a large soup pot with enough water to cover corn and bring to a boil. Boil corn approximately 10 minutes. Remove corn from boiling water and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Grate corn on a coarse grater into a 9x13 (x 2.5 deep) casserole dish. Add milk, eggs, salt, and sugar (and any optional ingredients, as desired). Stir until well blended. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until it sets (it should not jiggle when shaken) and top is golden brown.

Butter a 1.6-liter round CorningWare souffle dish. Remove bread crusts and cut as much bread as needed into shapes (rectangles, half circles, squares, triangles, as needed) to tightly fit the sides and bottom of the mold. Brush onethird of the melted butter on both sides of the bread pieces. Use buttered bread to line the bottom and sides of the dish.

Peel, core, and slice apples. Add a layer of apples on top of the bread. Sprinkle half the brown sugar on top of the apple slices. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of molasses on top (optional). Add another layer of bread brushed with one-third of the butter, the rest of the brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of molasses (optional). Cover with a final layer of bread and butter. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until apples are tender and bread browned. Cool for 30 minutes. Place plate on top of baking dish, and flip to unmold. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Jean Brown Jennings acquired this recipe from her friend, Mrs. J.A. Weekes, in August 1896. Jennings’ home on Jekyll Island, Villa Ospo, had a magnificent great room with easy access to sprawling, cypress-lined grounds. This dessert is something she might have served to members of the Jekyll Island Club when she and her husband Walter were in town. — Adapted from the original recipe by Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum Curator Andrea Marroquin

A '70s-era seaside spectacle was submarined in part by budding environmentalists

eyond the famed Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where visitors meet convalescing turtles and learn all about them and other marine life, Jekyll Island features a thriving ecosystem renowned for its varied wildlife. Within a short walk from hotels all over the island, visitors can mingle with ghost crabs, alligators, plovers, banded water snakes, bobcats, and all manner of other fauna in their natural habitat. The rich biodiversity on Jekyll is the result of a conscious and organized effort by the island's stewards to balance responsible development with historic preservation and conservation.

While the idea of featuring Jekyll as a natural wonderland in order to attract tourists is not new, public attitudes about the best way to show off that splendor have changed drastically through the years. In fact, there was a time, not long ago, when some locals believed that the best way to bring in vacationers and right the island's economic affairs was to build a sprawling seaside spectacle in which some of Jekyll's marine life would be paraded before onlookers in a permanent sea-life circus. Literally. In 1970, a group of Brunswick residents formed a company called Marineland of Georgia (later changed to Sea Circus, Inc.) which was to develop a six-acre oceanside "superaquarium" to be built where the South Loop Trail now becomes Beachview Drive. According to backers, there were to be trained seals and trick-performing dolphins and penguins. Sharks and barracudas would swim in huge glass tanks. Horace G. Caldwell, executive director of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority from 1967 to 1972, told the Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine that the Sea Circus would be "clean recreation." The project, though, almost immediately ran into complications from within and without, including zoning issues and troubled finances. But it was more than bureaucracy and money that prevented

the circus from coming to Jekyll. "This project was out of its time," says Faith Plazarin, archivist and records manager at Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum. "It would've meant massive change for the beach environment, and some people weren't pleased. It came at a time when our understanding of conservation was changing."

Looking back, this sea-themed water park may have been more than a simple casualty of shifting moods. The Sea Circus might have served as the catalyst to rouse island passions and set Jekyll on its current conservation-conscious course.

In June 1972, with the proposed Sea Circus still in limbo, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine published a cover story titled "Jekyll at the Crossroads." The impetus of the article was then Gov. Jimmy Carter's announcement that, starting on July 1, Jekyll would be responsible for paying its own

operating expenses. To generate that sort of revenue, the island needed to lure tourists.

At the same time, the JIA was working on a new land-use plan that would provide the layout for Jekyll's future. A major question at the time: How much of the island's natural beauty would be razed to make way for the concrete and steel of private development? The magazine mentioned the inland marsh that already had been turned into a public dump and the pit that provided dirt for new construction projects. These new projects already included two motels, an apartment complex … and the proposed Sea Circus.

By the time the article hit newsstands, the Sea Circus was likely already doomed. It had been nearly two years since the Brunswick owners first announced their plans for the $750,000 project, which was to be publicly funded by a sale of stock

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(ads for stock in Sea Circus, Inc. put the price at $7.50 per share). Modeled after similar Florida parks—in St. Augustine (Marineland) and Miami (Sea Aquarium)—Jekyll Island's Sea Circus sought to siphon off Northern travelers on their way south to the Sunshine State. The attraction would be a "living sea" exhibit, a "first of its kind in Georgia," according to developers. Renderings produced by architects Schlosser & Miller of Brunswick portrayed a spacious modernist park with signature shark fin-shaped awnings and spires. Inside, more than 454,000 gallons of water, mostly in three primary tanks, would house marine life and be available for research scientists. Still, the focus was squarely on entertainment, not science.

The facility will overlook the ocean from a garden of subtropical flowers, shrubs, and trees, said one local newspaper at the time. Trained porpoises, sea lions, and

possibly penguins will be featured in shows to be presented several times daily. An array of other marine life, from tropical fish to sharks, will be on view at all times.

In January 1971, the company (then known as Sea World, Inc.) declared it had secured the desired site on Beachview Drive, south of the former Stuckey's Carriage Inn. "The site we have leased is one of the most valuable pieces of undeveloped oceanfront properties on the coast," Ferman Ricks, president of Sea World, told the local press.

Developers weren't the only people who understood the value of that beachfront real estate. Some of the people who live on the island, residents of this state park, have discovered ecology, reads the 1972 AJC article. They are demanding that marsh be saved and that habitat not be disturbed and that sand dunes be preserved and that not all of the rest of the beachfront go commercial.


The dunes were of particular concern. Archivist Plazarin points out that, at the time, Jekyll was still recovering from damage caused by 1964's Hurricane Dora. Dunes were especially important in protecting the island against future storms, acting as a natural rampart against storm surges, waves, flooding, and coastal erosion. They also serve as a habitat for many species of wildlife. "There is no reason in the world the sea circus should be put on the sea," E. Reeseman Fryer, Jekyll resident and president of the Coastal Georgia Audubon Society, told the AJC. "Those dunes are up to 26 feet [tall]. That's the highest point on the island. They're invaluable as protective barriers."

Adding to the public furor was the fact that the Sea Circus site had not been designated for commercial development in the first place.

Despite the public protest, island and Sea Circus officials staged a ceremonial Sunday groundbreaking on the proposed site in June 1971. Two months later, they secured unanimous approval of the plans and building permits from the Jekyll Island State Park Authority (commonly known now as the Jekyll Island Authority, or JIA).

But not another shovel of sand or dirt was ever lifted for the project. According to minutes from subsequent JIA meetings, developers continually returned before the board with new financial backers. In February 1973, a representative reported that the company had secured permanent financing and planned to be under construction "within 15 to 30 days." Two months later, they were back with another plan.

The last mention of the Sea Circus is in minutes from a September 1973 meeting, in which the Jekyll board said "a letter had gone out to Sea Circus, Inc. stating that the Authority could not approve their proposed method of financing."

It's difficult now to know just how much the increased public environmental consciousness of the 1960s and 1970s influenced the fizzling financial sup-

port of the project. But it's clear that more than a few Jekyll residents and Georgia citizens realized what they had in the island's natural bounty. And they weren't about to give it up without a fight.

Whether this particular victory over unchecked development belonged to early environmentalists or not, the consequences of the failed project live on all over the island. Today, the South Dunes Beach Park sits near the one-time Sea Circus site. There, visitors can pack a lunch, stroll the boardwalk through scrub brush and trees, cross safely over 20-foot high sentinel dunes, and get a clear view of the beach, the sea, and the horizon beyond, without a fish tank or a penguin in sight.

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Howdy, neighbor. I know you see me; spotted my v-shaped wake cutting across the pond before I even broke the surface. But there's no reason to be afraid. Your kind and mine have coexisted for hundreds of years, pretty peacefully for the last few decades. We help each other. We gators are apex predators, regulating island populations of pesky deer, raccoons, and rodents. In return, you humans—especially important on Jekyll—mostly respect and preserve the wetlands and marshes that have been our home for millennia. Just remember, the key to this symbiosis is space. Don't feed us or try to touch us. Keep your pets on a leash, lest we mistake them for prey. And if we accidentally wander into your territory, call the authorities. Remember, we're always here, even if you don't immediately spot us. Just look for the wake. —tony rehagen

Escape Your Beach

72 Plan your island escape to our 40 all-suite oceanfront boutique hotel. Located just steps from the beach, all of our suites are lushly appointed with classic comforts, including a spacious living room, private balcony and porch. Enjoy Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar onsite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites. Come and stay awhile. JEKYLLCLUB.COM | 912-635-5234 | JEKYLL ISLAND, GA Recharge and rejuvenate with ocean air and simple comforts.


When a day at the beach becomes something unforgettable. Don’t just imagine it. Find yourself here. jekyllisland.com

Driftwood Beach

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