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Jekyll Island Club and Island History | Jekyll Island Club Resort

Storied History

From the moment you arrive, you'll be whisked away into the rich history of Jekyll Island and The Club that bears its name. This is a story for the ages, a great history preserved, and we approach each new day in our history with a sense of wonder. Navigate through our storied history below, and when you're ready, allow us to chart your own exploration of our historic resort.

1733

Colonization

General James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia and named Jekyll Island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.

1736

Diplomacy of Nations

English, Spanish, and Creek Indians met on the island in an effort to settle their differences through diplomacy.

1747

Georgia's First Brewery

William Horton purchased a Great Copper Pot and began brewing beer on Jekyll Island at what would become recognized as the state's first brewery.

1792

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Fleeing the French Revolution, Christophe DuBignon purchased property on Jekyll Island.

1879

Hunting Club

Newton Finney, and brother-in-law, John Eugene DuBignon, a descendant of Christophe DuBignon, collaborate to turn Jekyll Island into a private hunting club for the nation’s wealthiest individuals, quickly becoming their winter hideaway.

1886

Exclusivity

The Island was purchased by the newly formed Jekyll Island Club which Munsey’s Magazine called, “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”

1888

THE CLUB OPENING

The Club officially opened its doors in January 1888, quickly becoming a retreat for families that represented one sixth of the world's wealth.

1901

THE ANNEX

Built as an addition to The Clubhouse, The Annex featured eight suites for members and their guests on the first and second floors, some offering enclosed parlor rooms and river views.

1896

Sans Souci

Owned in part by J.P. Morgan, this six-unit building is recognized as one of the first condominiums in the United States. The floors, leaded art glass, stairway and skylight are all original still today.

1904

Cherokee Cottage

Cherokee Cottage, named after a wild rose, reflects the Shrady family's life of elegant leisure. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, the Cottage is complete with double front doors, a spacious great room, and ten guestrooms.

1910

THE FEDERAL RESERVE

Under the cover of night, and using only first names to keep their identities secret, Senator Nelson Aldrich led a party of financial leaders to Jekyll Island to conceptualize a federal banking system. Coined the First-Name Club, together the group drafted the modern day Federal Reserve.

1915

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

The nation's first transcontinental phone call took place between President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, DC, Alexander Graham Bell in New York, Thomas Watson in San Francisco, Henry Higginson in Boston, and AT&T President Theodore Newton Vail at Jekyll Island Club.

1917

CRANE COTTAGE

Built in the Italian Renaissance style for Richard Teller Crane, Jr. and his wife, Crane Cottage is the largest, most lavish of the cottages. Featuring a sunken garden, fountains, and an upper terrace, today Crane Cottage is still as awe-inspiring as ever, making it an ideal wedding venue.

1924

GOLFER'S PARADISE

Even golf as we know it was shaped here. In 1924, the USGA selected Jekyll Island as a testing ground for golf, replacing hickory shafts with new steel clubs, and testing ball performance. Together these strokes of genius resulted in the use of a lighter ball and steel shafts, forever changing the game.

1926

GREAT DUNES

The Island’s seaside course, Great Dunes Golf Course, was designed by Walter J. Travis exclusively for Jekyll Island Club in 1926. Great Dunes is still regarded as one of the best golf courses in Georgia for its coastal terrain and varied level of difficulty.

1928

The Cottages

Families with names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Baker built elegant cottages designed for comfort in Victorian architectural styles. Villa Marianna was the last of 18 cottages to be completed, in 1928.

1942

World War II

The Jekyll Island Club flourished throughout the 1930s, but world events took their toll. The Great Depression changed people’s priorities, and half of the Club’s membership dropped away. The final blow was World War II when the government ordered evacuation of Island due to the threat of enemy submarines off the coast.

1948

THE STATE ERA

The state of Georgia purchased Jekyll Island from the Jekyll Island Club for $675,000. The Island opened to the public as a State Park in 1948.

1954

NEW BEGINNINGS

The drawbridge to the Island opened, and renowned curator and journalist, Tallu Fish, founded the Jekyll Island Museum. Operating out of Indian Mound Cottage, once owned by William Rockefeller, the museum featured Club-era furniture, a taxidermy display, a pottery exhibit, and an ornate wishing chair.

1978

Landmark District

The historic district achieved Landmark District status, becoming known as the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District.

1985

RESURRECTION

After a decade of neglect and abandonment, two friends, one a lawyer, the other an architect, climbed through an unlocked window and fell in love with the deteriorating Clubhouse. Together, they planned to preserve and renovate The Club to its original splendor and re-open it as a hotel.

1987

Grand Re-Opening

The hotel's Grand Opening ceremony included remarks from Joe Frank Harris, Governor of the State of Georgia, and Paul Warwick, Mayor of Brunswick. The celebration included harp players and an ice sculpture in the form of The Clubhouse turret.

1999

STARS OF THE STAGE

Robert Redford's Legend of Bagger Vance starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron is shot along the Riverfront Lawn. Other notable films shot on Jekyll Island include X-Men: First Class, Glory, and Live By Night.

2007

CONSERVATION

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center opened in the renovated power plant of the Jekyll Island Club.

2010

MORGAN CENTER

Once an indoor tennis court for guests of the Jekyll Island Club, a joint venture between the Jekyll Island Authority and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel restored the Morgan Center to a conference center.

2017

OCEAN CLUB

The ocean played a key role throughout the history of the Jekyll Island Club – from the natural beauty, to the season-opening arrival of the Member’s yachts. Jekyll Island Club Resort's all-suite, oceanfront, boutique hotel, Jekyll Ocean Club opens summer 2017.

Historic Photos Courtesy Of The Jekyll Island Museum



TURNING THE PAGE

Today, we start a new chapter in The Club history with numerous resort upgrades and openings in 2017. Notably, Jekyll Island Club Hotel is now Jekyll Island Club Resort, and Jekyll Ocean Club opens summer 2017. In addition, we are thrilled to introduce modern amenities to Jekyll Island Club Resort, including Jekyll Wheels, The Pool House, and The Wharf.

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