Jekyll Island Club Resort History

Trace the storied steps of countless American icons.

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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1733 Colonization Of Georgia.

Colonization

1733
General James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia and named Jekyll Island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.

Diplomacy of Nations

1736
English, Spanish, and Creek Indians met on the island in an effort to settle their differences through diplomacy.

Jekyll Island Club History 1736 Meeting On Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Club History 1747 Georgias First Brewery.

Georgia’s First Brewery

1747
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.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

1792
Fleeing the French Revolution, Christophe DuBignon purchased property on Jekyll Island.

Jekyll Island Club History 1792 Meeting On Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Club History 1879 Hunting Club.

Hunting Club

1879
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.

Exclusivity

1886
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.”

Jekyll Island Club History 1886 Original Members Of The Worlds Most Exclusive Club.
Jekyll Island Club History 1888 Exclusive Club Opens.

The Club Opening

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

Sans Souci

1896
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1896 Sans Souci The First Condominium Build Out.
Jekyll Island Club History 1901 The Annex Addition.

The Annex

1901
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.

Cherokee

1904
Cherokee, named after a wild rose, reflects the Shrady family’s life of elegant leisure. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, Cherokee is complete with double front doors, a spacious great room, and ten guestrooms.

Jekyll Island Club History 1904 Cherokee Cottage.
Jekyll Island Club History 1910 Senator Aldrich Secret Plans For The Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve

1910
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.

Can You Hear Me Now?

1915
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1915 First Phone Call.
Jekyll Island Club History 1917 Crane Cottage.

Crane Cottage

1917
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.

Golfer’s Paradise

1924
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1924 Golfing On Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Club History 1926 Great Dunes Golf Course.

Great Dunes

1926
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.

The Cottages

1928
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1888 1928 Affluent Families Build Cottages On Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Island Club History 1942 World War Two.

World War II

1942
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 an evacuation of Island due to the threat of enemy submarines off the coast.

The State Era

1948
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1947 To 1948 Jekyll Island Club Purchased By The State Of Georgia.
Jekyll Island Club History 1954 Drawbridge Opens On The Island.

New Beginnings

1954
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.

Landmark District

1978
The historic district achieved Landmark District status, becoming known as the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District.

Jekyll Island Club History 1978 Landmark District Status.
Jekyll Island Club History 1984 To 1986 Hotel Restorations Club Enterance.

Resurrection

1985
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.

Grand Re-Opening

1987
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1987 Grand Reopening.
Jekyll Island Club History 2000 Stars Of The Stage.

Stars of the Stage

1999
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.

Conservation

2007
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center opened in the renovated power plant of the Jekyll Island Club.

Jekyll Island Club History 2007 Turtle Conservation Center Opens.
Jekyll Island Club History 2010 Morgan Center Renovations.

Morgan Center

2010
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.

Ocean Club

2017
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 is now open.

Jekyll Ocean Club Grand Opening 2017.
Jekyll Island Club History 1733 Colonization Of Georgia.

Colonization

1733
General James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia and named Jekyll Island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.

Jekyll Island Club History 1736 Meeting On Jekyll Island.

Diplomacy of Nations

1736
English, Spanish, and Creek Indians met on the island in an effort to settle their differences through diplomacy.

Jekyll Island Club History 1747 Georgias First Brewery.

Georgia’s First Brewery

1747
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1792 Meeting On Jekyll Island.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

1792
Fleeing the French Revolution, Christophe DuBignon purchased property on Jekyll Island.

Jekyll Island Club History 1879 Hunting Club.

Hunting Club

1879
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1886 Original Members Of The Worlds Most Exclusive Club.

Exclusivity

1886
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.”

Jekyll Island Club History 1888 Exclusive Club Opens.

The Club Opening

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

Jekyll Island Club History 1896 Sans Souci The First Condominium Build Out.

Sans Souci

1896
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1901 The Annex Addition.

The Annex

1901
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1904 Cherokee Cottage.

Cherokee

1904
Cherokee, named after a wild rose, reflects the Shrady family’s life of elegant leisure. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, Cherokee is complete with double front doors, a spacious great room, and ten guestrooms.

Jekyll Island Club History 1910 Senator Aldrich Secret Plans For The Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve

1910
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1915 First Phone Call.

Can You Hear Me Now?

1915
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1917 Crane Cottage.

Crane Cottage

1917
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1924 Golfing On Jekyll Island.

Golfer’s Paradise

1924
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1926 Great Dunes Golf Course.

Great Dunes

1926
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1888 1928 Affluent Families Build Cottages On Jekyll Island.

The Cottages

1928
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1942 World War Two.

World War II

1942
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 an evacuation of Island due to the threat of enemy submarines off the coast.

Jekyll Island Club History 1947 To 1948 Jekyll Island Club Purchased By The State Of Georgia.

The State Era

1948
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1954 Drawbridge Opens On The Island.

New Beginnings

1954
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1978 Landmark District Status.

Landmark District

1978
The historic district achieved Landmark District status, becoming known as the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District.

Jekyll Island Club History 1984 To 1986 Hotel Restorations Club Enterance.

Resurrection

1985
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 1987 Grand Reopening.

Grand Re-Opening

1987
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 2000 Stars Of The Stage.

Stars of the Stage

1999
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.

Jekyll Island Club History 2007 Turtle Conservation Center Opens.

Conservation

2007
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center opened in the renovated power plant of the Jekyll Island Club.

Jekyll Island Club History 2010 Morgan Center Renovations.

Morgan Center

2010
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.

Jekyll Ocean Club Grand Opening 2017.

Ocean Club

2017
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 is now open.

Island Treasures

Book our Island Treasures package and explore the island for your very own globe. The package includes half day bike rentals and breakfast for two each morning.

BOOK NOW

Island Treasures

Book our Island Treasures package and explore the island for your very own globe. The package includes half day bike rentals and breakfast for two each morning.

BOOK NOW

PACKAGES & OFFERS

Bed and Breakfast

Rise, dine and shine. Start your day on Jekyll Island off right with daily breakfast for two in the Grand Dining Room, The Pantry or Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar.

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Gift Cards Now Available

Give the gift of exploration, adventure, or relaxation on Jekyll Island. Gift cards to Jekyll Island Club Resort and The Wharf are now available for purchase.

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