Explore Living History on Jekyll Island, Once a Millionaire's Retreat During America's Industrial Age.
Jekyll Island was once an exclusive winter retreat for some of America's wealthiest families. Their exclusive Jekyll Island Club, a collection of "cottages" and a variety of support structures are now a National Historic Landmark, the Historic District is open to the public. Today, owned by the State of Georgia, the island retains much of its natural beauty and offers a wealth of amenities and activities including 63 holes of golf, tennis, beaches, 20 miles of bike paths, mini-golf, nature tours and Summer Waves Waterpark. Be sure to take in the abundant history programs at Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum, located at 100 Stable Rd.
The Jekyll Island Historic District is a captivating area on Jekyll Island, Georgia, known for its rich history and well-preserved structures. The Jekyll Island Historic District offers a glimpse into the island's storied past and the extravagant lifestyles of the wealthy elite. It's a place where history, architecture, and natural beauty come together to create a unique and memorable experience for visitors.
The Jekyll Island Historic District is famous for its beautiful historic cottages. These cottages were once owned by prominent wealthy families, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans. The district showcases the architectural elegance and opulence of the early 20th century.
The historic district is often referred to as "Millionaires' Village" due to the affluent individuals who once owned these cottages. Visitors can stroll along the streets lined with these grand homes and marvel at the unique architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Italian Renaissance.
Within the historic district, you'll find several notable landmarks. The Jekyll Island Clubhouse, a magnificent clubhouse turned hotel, stands as the centerpiece of the district. Other landmarks include the Faith Chapel, Crane Cottage, Sans Souci, and Indian Mound Cottage.
To fully appreciate the history and architecture of the Jekyll Island Historic District, consider taking a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will share stories and anecdotes about the wealthy families and their luxurious lifestyles during the Gilded Age.
Located in the Jekyll Island Clubhouse, the Mosaic Museum features exhibits and artifacts that highlight the history of Jekyll Island and the people who shaped it. The museum provides insight into the island's unique past and its significance during the Gilded Age.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Although not directly part of the historic district, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is nearby and worth a visit. It is a sea turtle rehabilitation and education facility that offers exhibits and programs to raise awareness about marine conservation.
Shopping and Dining
The historic district is home to a variety of charming shops and restaurants. Visitors can browse unique boutiques, art galleries, and gift shops, as well as enjoy delicious cuisine in historic settings.
Jekyll Island is rich in history and legend. Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, English settlers, French planters, millionaires, modern residents and tourists have all played a part in the evolution of Jekyll Island. Jekyll Island is now a family resort with ten miles of public beaches. The Jekyll Inn is the largest oceanfront resort on the Island, with 15 acres of oceanfront property.
After a period of private plantation ownership ending with the DuBignon family, the Island was sold to a group of very wealthy individuals who formed the Jekyll Island Club, including such family names as Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Crane, Goodyear, Macy, J.P. Morgan and others. One-sixth of the world's wealth vacationed on Jekyll Island at that time. The conferences leading to the development of the Federal Reserve Bank were held at the Jekyll Island Club. Jekyll Island was also a participant in the first transcontinental telephone call on January 25, 1915. In 1946, Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia and is currently maintained as a state park.
Millionaire's Village refers to the collection of grand and opulent cottages that were owned by prominent millionaires and industrialists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These cottages were often used as winter residences for the wealthy families.
The Crane Cottage was built for Richard T. Crane, Jr., whose father founded the toilet company. It was in this cottage that the Federal Reserve System was crafted by John. D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and other members of the Jekyll Island Club.
Architecture and Design
Crane Cottage is a stunning example of the Classical Revival architectural style. Built in 1917, it features a combination of Greek and Roman architectural elements, including Ionic columns, pediments, and ornate detailing.
Crane Cottage was originally commissioned by Richard Teller Crane Jr., a prominent Chicago industrialist and philanthropist. It was designed by the architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings, known for their work on the New York Public Library and the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida.
The cottage boasts over 13,000 square feet of living space, making it one of the largest cottages on Jekyll Island. It includes 14 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a grand ballroom, a formal dining room, and several other rooms that showcase the opulence and grandeur of the era.
Grounds and Gardens
Surrounding Crane Cottage are beautiful gardens and landscaped grounds. The gardens feature manicured lawns, flowering plants, and walking paths. It's an idyllic setting for a leisurely stroll or to simply admire the picturesque surroundings.
Visitors to Jekyll Island have the opportunity to tour Crane Cottage and learn about its history and architectural significance. Guided tours provide insights into the cottage's construction, the lifestyle of its wealthy owners, and the unique features of the interior.
Crane Cottage is a popular venue for special events, including weddings, receptions, and private parties. Its elegant and historic ambiance creates a memorable setting for celebrations and gatherings.
Jekyll Island Club Resort
Crane Cottage is part of the Jekyll Island Club Resort, a historic hotel and resort complex. Guests of the resort have the chance to experience the charm and luxury of Crane Cottage, as well as enjoy the amenities and activities available on the island.
Crane Cottage is an architectural gem that showcases the grandeur of the Gilded Age and the luxurious lifestyle of the wealthy families who once owned the cottages on Jekyll Island. It's a must-visit destination for those interested in history, architecture, and the island's rich past.
America's Most Prominent Families
The grounds and landscape throughout the Jekyll Island Historic District have been lovingly maintained to capture the essence of how the priviledged lived during Jekyll's halycon days. Millionaire's Village was home to families such as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, and Morgans, among others. These wealthy families, known as the "Gilded Age elite," owned and occupied the cottages, enjoying the island's natural beauty and exclusive lifestyle. The cottages in Millionaire's Village exhibit a range of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Italian Renaissance, Colonial Revival, and Mediterranean Revival. Each cottage has its own unique design and character, reflecting the taste and preferences of its original owners.
Jekyll Island is renowned for its landmark Historic District, termed the "Millionaire's Village" long ago, with its 240-acre site containing 33 historic structures, including the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and surrounding cottages that were once home to some of America's most wealthy and prominent citizens. The cottages in Millionaire's Village have been carefully preserved and restored over the years, maintaining their original architectural integrity. Visitors can take guided tours of some of the cottages to learn about their history, architectural features, and the lifestyles of the wealthy families who once resided there.
Wealthy and notable Jekyll residents included the Crane family, the Pulitzers, Morgans, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Goodyear clan to name but a few. These privileged few used Jekyll Island as a hunting and golf retreat, escaping cold winters here and building these historic homes that have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a historic hotel located on Jekyll Island, Georgia that was originally established in 1886 as a private retreat for America's wealthiest families, known as the "Gilded Age elite." These families, including the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans, built luxurious cottages and enjoyed the exclusive amenities and leisure activities offered on the island.
The hotel is a stunning example of Victorian-era architecture. It features a blend of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Italianate, and Colonial Revival. The hotel's grand design and intricate detailing reflect the opulence and elegance of the Gilded Age.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and needs. Guests can choose from traditional rooms, suites, or even stay in one of the historic cottages that have been converted into guest accommodations.
The hotel provides a variety of amenities to enhance guests' stay. These include a swimming pool, fitness center, spa services, and access to the private beach. Guests can also enjoy dining options that feature regional cuisine and historic settings.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel played a significant role in American history. It was at the hotel where the Federal Reserve banking system was conceived during a secret meeting in 1910, known as the Jekyll Island Club meeting. The meeting led to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.
The hotel offers guided tours that provide insights into its rich history and the lives of the wealthy families who once resided there. The tours take visitors through the hotel's grand public spaces, showcasing its historic charm and architectural details.
Wedding and Event Venue
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel serves as a picturesque wedding and event venue, offering stunning indoor and outdoor spaces for ceremonies, receptions, and other special occasions. Its historic ambiance and scenic surroundings create a memorable setting for celebrations.
Staying at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel allows guests to experience the luxurious and elegant lifestyle of the Gilded Age. It's a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the island's rich history, enjoy modern comforts, and explore the beautiful surroundings of Jekyll Island.
The grounds of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel offer a fabulous spot to enjoy a leisurely game of croquet. It was in this building that telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental phone call between Jekyll Island, Washington D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. Visiting Millionaire's Village on Jekyll Island offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the opulence and grandeur of the Gilded Age. It's a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and anyone interested in exploring the island's rich heritage.
The inner courtyard of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel features plenty of shade and a variety of tables for eating or resting for a spell. Lovely fountains and manicured landscaping offer visitors a trip back in time to a more relaxed way of life.
The historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel showcases the restored architecture and pristine grounds that have earned this place a spot on the Historic Hotels of America. The Jekyll Island Club was a social club established by the wealthy families who owned the cottages. The club served as a gathering place for social activities, entertainment, and leisure pursuits. Today, the Jekyll Island Clubhouse serves as a hotel and a historic landmark within the village.
Stepping away from the Hotel you'll find the Jekyll Harbor Marina, offering overnight docking, fuel and snacks. This was once the spot where America's wealthy millionaire industrial barons arrived to spend their summers at the Jekyll Island Club. Located just outside of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, the marina provides access to the Jekyll Sound via the Jekyll Creek / East River that later spills into the greater Atlantic.
At the Jekyll Harbor Marina you'll find The Wharf, which is the island's only waterfront restaurant and bar, and the best outdoor music venue on Jekyll Island. The Wharf features open air dining, live music, and all-day menus focused on Southern favorites including peel and eat shrimp, fish 'n chips, hushpuppies, crabcakes, and fried chicken. Gather with family and friends for a memorable meal, and witness the legendary riverfront sunset from our unmatched location on the pier. Savor an all-day menu of Southern favorites and enjoy fresh, coastal air and lively entertainment.
You never know what you'll find while strolling the grounds in the Jekyll Island Historic District. On this hot summer day, we stumbled upon a classic automobile driving through the narrow pathways that traverse the 240-acre site.
The Mosaic Museum, located within the Jekyll Island Clubhouse, offers exhibits that provide a glimpse into the island's history and the lives of the wealthy families who once called it their winter retreat. The museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the Gilded Age era to life. Explore the rich history, culture and natural habitats of Jekll Island with engaging and interactive exhibits for all ages. Admission required. Open daily 9am - 5pm.
History Programs (Available Year-Round)
Family Fun Day
First Sunday of each month, 12-3pm
Enjoy a themed craft or activity suitable for the whole family.
Daily, 11am; 1pm; 3pm
The Rockefeller Experience
Daily on the hour, 10am - 4pm
Indian Mound Cottage, Historic District
Historic Faith Chapel Experience
Admission included with purchase of any historic district tour. Walk-up tickets available.
Horton House Historic Site
Built in 1743 by Major William Horton, this structure is one of the oldest tabby buildings in Georgia and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1145 Riverview Drive
Wanderer Memory Trail
An interactive exhibit remembering the voyage and historic events of the landing of the Wanderer - one of the last slave ships to reach the shores of Georgia.
St. Andrews Beach Park
Jekyll Island offers a variety of dining options to choose from, from casual to fancy, as well as places to grab a quick bite or take the whole family. We've compiled a complete directory of all the local restaurants on Jekyll, along with contact information and an interactive map so you can easily find the one you're looking for.
View Jekyll Island Restaurants »
Terrapins are the only turtle species in the world known to live their whole life in brackish water (a mixture of salt and fresh water, common in the Golden Isles). Found in the marsh habitat of Georgia's Barrier Islands, they have webbed feet with claws on each toe, allowing them to swim well and also walk on land at low tide.
Diamondback terrapins are one of the most common turtles to see along the causeway. Female terrapins are almost twice as big as the males. Because of their hard shell, female terrapins can't expand their bodies to accommodate eggs. A female terrapin grows to about 8 to 10 inches long in comparison to a male and she lays 8 to 10 eggs which take about 65 days to incubate.
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