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Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site This beautiful plantation represents the history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast. In the early 1800s, William Brailsford of Charleston carved a rice plantation from marshes along the Altamaha River. The plantation and its inhabitants were part of the genteel low country society that developed during the antebellum period. While many factors made rice cultivation increasingly difficult in the years after the Civil War, the family continued to grow rice until 1913. The enterprising siblings of the fifth generation at Hofwyl-Broadfield resolved to start a dairy rather than sell their family home. The efforts of Gratz, Miriam and Ophelia Dent led to the preservation of their family legacy. Ophelia was the last heir to the rich traditions of her ancestors, and she left the plantation to the state of Georgia in 1973. A museum features silver from the family collection and a model of Hofwyl-Broadfield during its heyday. A brief film on the plantation’s history is shown before visitors walk a short trail to the antebellum home. A guided tour allows visitors to see the home as Ophelia kept it with family heirlooms, 18th and 19th century furniture and Cantonese china. A stop on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, this is an excellent spot to look for herons, egrets, ibis and painted buntings. A nature trail that leads back to the Visitors Center along the edge of the marsh where rice once flourished.
 
 
 
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ALICE RICHARDS BOTANICAL TRAIL
ALICE RICHARDS BOTANICAL TRAIL The Alice Richards Botanical Trail connects to Frederica Park, located north of the Lawrence Road roundabout. When Frederica Park opened in 2009, it was the first new park on St. Simons Island in 50 years and was made possible by the Sea Island Company, members of the St. Simons Land Trust, and a generous donation from the estate of Alice Richards. St. Simons Land Trust partnered with island garden clubs to reintroduce native plant species to the Alice Richards Botanical Trail, such as the East Palatka Holly. Starting in 2014, the Trail will feature 13 interactive signs that highlight the plant life and species on view as one meanders through the woods. These signs will each have a QR code which, when scanned by a smartphone, will take visitors to an online site with more in depth information about the trail's special ecology. The Alice Richards Botanical Trail also features a labyrinth, gazebo, and faerie houses - all perfect for a nature hike with the whole family!
 
Address:
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Battle of Bloody Marsh Monument
In 1742, during the War of Jenkins' Ear, English and Spanish forces fought in an encounter later known as the "Battle of Bloody Marsh". The name came from old tales claiming the marsh "ran red with the blood of Spaniards". However, official Spanish records indicate that only seven grenadiers died during this battle. Due to the efforts of Lt. Patrick Sutherland of the (old) 42nd Regiment of Foot and the Highlanders from Darien, the battle was a British victory, ending the Spanish claim to Georgia. The Bloody Marsh Unit is located on St. Simon's Island, off of Demere Road. It is open 8:30 am to 4:00 pm 7 days a week, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. *NOTE: new traffic pattern merges Demere onto Airport Road. At first traffic light before the airport, turn left to get back onto Demere and proceed to Bloody Marsh. For GPS purposes Bloody Marsh is located at 11806 Old Demere Road. However most GPS units will not reflect the latest traffic pattern.
 
Address:
11806 Old Demere Road
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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CANNON'S POINT PRESERVE
EXPLORE CANNON'S POINT PRESERVE Planned Public Opening in 2014 Click to enlarge Cannon's Point Preserve will be open to the public in 2014 and will be integrated into the St. Simons Land Trust's existing Greenprint and trail system. Activities available to the public in 2014 will include biking, hiking, kayaking, picnicking and enjoying the scenic expanse of the property. The Land Trust will also offer educational opportunities and tours for those visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the historical depth and ecological uniqueness of the property. The tentative Site Plan for the South End of Cannon's Point Preserve is depicted (right) which details the various structures, infrastructure, and trails to be put in place by the Land Trust in phases over the following years. All parking areas are contained within the South End of the Preserve as the North End will be limited to only foot or bike traffic. Check out our latest Summer 2013 Newsletter for more information on Cannon's Point and stay tuned for our “We're Open” announcement in 2014!
 
Address:
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Cassina Garden Club Slave Cabins
Hamilton Plantation, owned by James Hamilton, a native of Scotland, was located on Gascoigne Bluff near Fort Frederica. The Bluff was named for Captain James Gascoigne, commander of the British sloop “Hawk.” The Bluff became a storehouse for marine supplies, ship repair facilities and in effect, was Georgia’s first naval base. Hamilton Plantation was a working plantation, producing long staple Sea Island cotton along with oak and pine timbers. Of the several tabby slave cabins built on the plantation, two remain today. They were constructed of tabby, which is a concrete-like mixture of lime, sand, water and oyster shells. The mixture is poured into wooden frames to harden. The cabins were divided in the center by a fireplace, thus creating two rooms that housed two families. Glass windows and wooden outside doors indicate that these cabins were probably living quarters of slaves that were high in the privilege hierarchy. Cassina Garden Club began meeting in these cabins in 1932 and was deeded the property in 1950. As owner of this beautiful historic site, the Cassina Garden Club has carefully restored and preserved the integrity of the cabins and displays many artifact and graphical histories. The cabins are located adjacent to Epworth-by-the-Sea, a Methodist Conference Center. General Oglethorpe’s secretary, Charles Wesley and his famous Anglican clergyman brother, John, considered by many the founder of the Methodist Church, trod these grounds. All of this property was formerly part of Hamilton Plantation. Not surprisingly, this beautiful historic property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior in 1988.
 
Address:
100 Arthur J. Moore Drive, Next to Epworth By The Sea,
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Fort Frederica National Monument
Centuries old conflict decided on St. Simons Island. Georgia's fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on St. Simons Island. Fort Frederica's troops defeated the Spanish, ensuring Georgia's future as a British colony. Today, the archeological remnants of Frederica are protected by the National Park Service. In the early 18th century, the land lying between British South Carolina and Spanish Florida was known as the debatable land. This land (today's Georgia) was the epicenter of a centuries-old imperial conflict between Spain and Britain. Fort Frederica was established in 1736 by James Oglethorpe to protect the southern boundary of his new colony of Georgia from the Spanish in Florida. Colonists from England, Scotland, and the Germanic states came to Georgia to support this endeavor. Named for Frederick Louis, the Prince of Wales (1702-1754), Frederica was a military outpost consisting of a fort and town. The entire area was fortified with a palisade wall and earthen rampart. The fort's location on the Frederica River allowed it to control ship travel. Oglethorpe's foresight in establishing Frederica was rewarded in 1742 during the War of Jenkins' Ear. Spanish forces from Florida and Cuba landed on St. Simons Island. Oglethorpe's attack on a Spanish reconnaisance party at Gully Hole Creek led to the battle at "Bloody Marsh". Despite the name, casualties were light and the Spanish continued their campaign on St. Simons. Clever deception on Oglethorpe's part convinced the Spanish to retreat from Georgia seven days later. This British victory not only confirmed that Georgia was British territory, but also signaled the end for Frederica. When peace was declared, Frederica's Garrison (the original 42nd Regiment of Foot) was disbanded, and eventually the town fell into decline. Today the archeological remains of colonial Frederica are protected by the National Park Service.
Phone: 912-638-3639
Fax: 912-634-5357
 
Address:
6515 Frederica Rd.
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Gascoigne Bluff
Historically, Gascoigne Bluff was the first possible landing area for a ship entering the harbor. The site of an Indian settlement long before the Wesleys landed here with James Oglethorpe, Gascoigne Bluff has been headquarters for a military invasion, a Sea Island cotton plantation, the site of a lumber mill and a shipping point for timber. Live oak timbers milled here in 1794 were used in building “Old Ironsides,” the U.S.S. Constitution. In 1874, timbers were cut here for the Brooklyn Bridge. At Gascoigne Bluff, you can visit the Cassina Garden Club Slave Cabins from the Plantation Era, a Southern Red Cedar tree that is the second largest of its kind in Georgia, a fishing pier, and a beautiful stand of live oak trees. Across the Frederica River, you will see three “ballast hammocks”, small islands formed from ballast dumped by European ships before taking on cotton or lumber. In addition to being a historic site, Gascoigne Bluff features a public fishing pier, a floating dock, a picnic pavilion, two grills, a disc golf course, a fitness trail and restroom facilities. The park is free, open year round and host to numerous events such as the annual Kingfish Tournament. The 6-hole disc golf course is spread throughout the live oak grove. Along the Southeast side of the live oak grove you will see the entrance to the Southeast Georgia Health System Fitness Trail which is a paved fitness trail with signs along the way educating visitors about the “Fit-Trail” balanced program of total fitness conditioning. Gascoigne Bluff is a great place for a family picnic/BBQ under the pavilion and provides easy access to the pier for fishing or boating. Since Gascoigne Bluff is the location for many annual events and fishing tournaments, it is a good idea to check our events calendar before you visit. Restrooms are on-site near the Pier.
 
Address:
100 Arthur J. Moore Drive, Next to Epworth By The Sea,
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Historic Brunswick Courthouse
The mainland, port city of Brunswick is laid out in a formal grid similar to Savannah's, with city streets and squares still bearing their colonial names. Docked at the wharf, the array of shrimp boats are ready to trawl the local waters—evidence of the area’s rich seafood industry. Watch the ocean vessels come into port, see the shrimpers unload at the docks along Bay Street and then sample the catch of the day at one of the fine restaurants. Mary Ross Waterfront Park and the adjacent Brunswick Landing Marina play host to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the annual events include: the Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee, the Rhythm on the River concert series, and the Blessing of the Fleet. Historic Downtown Brunswick, also known as the Old Town Brunswick, is enjoying a renaissance, with the ongoing renovation and restoration of historic buildings and public squares. Old Town Brunswick is centered at the intersection of Newcastle and Gloucester Streets, the traditional commercial corridors of the city. Newcastle Street is anchored on the south end by Old City Hall (1888) with its distinctive clock tower. At the north end of Newcastle Street is the Historic Ritz Theatre. Built in 1898 as the Grand Opera House, the Ritz Theatre is Brunswick’s center for quality exhibits and performances by local, regional, national and international artists. The historic restoration of the Ritz Theatre is still underway with the most recent addition of the restored, original Ritz sign. Additional restoration is being done by a local preservation group, Signature Squares of Brunswick, who have restored many of the local squares in the downtown. Homes in Old Town reflect a variety of styles dating from 1819, including Queen Anne, Jacobean, Eastlake, Mansard, Gothic and Italianate architecture. The Brunswick Landmarks Foundation works to educate the public and protect and enhance the special historic character and charm of Old Town. The downtown district features a growing mix of antique shops, specialty shops, art galleries, theatres and restaurants. During the First Friday of each month, take a stroll through our beautiful downtown district. Galleries and shops will be open and serving wine & snacks, with live music in the pocket parks. With ideal weather conditions throughout the year, Brunswick also supports an active and healthy outdoor life. The beautiful natural scenic landscape invites jogging and walking, from the challenging Sidney Lanier Bridge to the Old Town Brunswick National Historic District and from Mary Ross Waterfront Park to the Howard Coffin Park. By day, you can try your hand at shrimpin’ aboard the Lady Jane, the only shrimp vessel on the entire east coast that has been certified by the USCG to carry 49 passengers offshore, or fish with any of Brunswick’s local charters. By night, catch a show at the historic Ritz Theatre or enjoy a unique dinner experience on the Emerald Princess II casino cruise ship sailing seven days a week from Gisco Point near the entrance of Jekyll Island.
 
Address:
Brunswick GA 31520
 
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Historic Ritz Theatre
Originally, the Grand Opera House, a three-story Victorian building featuring ornate brick and stone work, was built for the legitimate stage. Later, it served as a theatre for vaudeville. In the 1920's, as motion pictures became the rage, the Opera House was converted into a movie palace. To give the building a more modern art deco look, the first story brickwork was covered with carrara glass and an elaborate marquee and cascading signs were added. Thus, the Grand Opera House became the Ritz Theatre. In 1956, the world premiere of "A View From Pompey's Head," filmed primarily at the Oglethorpe Hotel (the grand hotel that used to sit across from the Ritz), was introduced by the film's star, Richard Egan, at the Ritz Theatre. The Ritz Theatre (and single movie houses in general) fell into decline in the 60's and 70's. In 1981, the City of Brunswick purchased the Ritz, and again, the theatre was modernized and substantially altered; however, the Ritz sign was left intact. The extensive reconstruction was due in part to the collapse of the roof over the auditorium. This phase was completed in 1983. In 2008, the Ritz became part of the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), the only comprehensive theatre preservation organization in the U.S. and the premiere resource for historic theatre restoration and revitalization in Georgia, offering mentoring programs, preservation expertise, operational counseling, and educational opportunitites. In 2010 Golden Isles Arts and Humanities applied for and received a restoration assistance grant, matched by the City of Brunswick, to restore the building's 58 original windows, which were loose and in danger of falling.
 
Address:
1530 Newcastle St., Corner of F Street
Brunswick GA 31520
 
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Horton House Historic Site
he second in command of Oglethorpe's regiment, Major Horton cleared fields, built a barn and engaged in other activities on the northern end of Jekyll Island. He is credited with cutting the first road across the island, a sandy lane that can still be traveled today. The house was built of tabby, a unique material commonly used along the Georgia coast during the 18th and 19th centuries. To create tabby, Horton burned oyster shells to obtain lime. He then mixed the lime with equal parts of sand, water and water. The thick mixture was poured into forms to create the walls that stand today. The Horton House once again fell into ruin and today only the time-scarred walls stand as a reminder of the thriving activity that once buzzed on the north end of Jekyll Island from around 1740 to 1886. The ruins have been designated as the Horton House Historic Site and are maintained by the Jekyll Island Historic District. The site is open to the public daily and includes the ruins, historical plaques and markers and the historic DuBignon Cemetery across the road. The paved path near the cemetery offers beautiful views of the Marshes of Glynn, made famous during the 19th century by the poet Sidney Lanier. Horton House Historic Site is located on North Riverview Drive north of the main historic district. There is no cost to visit other than the admission to access the island.
 
Address:
North Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
 
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Jekyll Island
A LEGACY OF LEISURE In 1886, Jekyll Island was purchased to become an exclusive winter retreat for America’s most elite families, known as the Jekyll Island Club. For more than half a century, the nation’s leading families, including the legendary Rockefellers, Morgans, and Pulitzers, came to Jekyll Island “to secure an escape.” Today, the Jekyll Island Museum tells their stories, giving an inside look at what life was like for both club members and their employees. Offering exhibits, tours, and a museum store, the Jekyll Island Museum provides an introduction to the vibrant cottage life of the National Landmark Historic District and beyond. The Jekyll Island Museum maintains three historic sites: the Horton House Historic Site, the Wanderer Memorial, and the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District. There is also an extensive archival collection of more than 20,000 artifacts showcasing the island’s unique heritage. At the Jekyll Island Museum, embark on a journey of discovery through exhibits, tours and programs that are adventures into a bygone era. National Historic Landmark District At first, it was the farm and home of John Eugene duBignon. But, with the help of his brother-in-law Newton Finney, it became what Munsey’s Magazine called “the richest, most inaccessible club in the world” – the Jekyll Island Club. The Wanderer Memorial On November 28, 1858, the Wanderer sailed into the St. Andrews Sound south of Jekyll Island. On board were roughly 400 enslaved Africans who were illegally imported to the United States in one of the most sensational and controversial moments in Jekyll Island history, and was an incident brought the island into the middle of the most heated periods in our country’s history. Horton House Major William Horton was granted Jekyll Island by the Trustees of the colony of Georgia in 1738, and in 1743, constructed a home here.
 
 
 
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Jekyll Island Museum
The Jekyll Island Museum is your Gateway to the Gilded Era. Throughout its history, Jekyll Island is a place where people have imagined an alternative. People have come here to be different, and they still do. From Native Americans, to English colonists, to French privateers, to the members of the Jekyll Island Club - people have imagined Jekyll Island as a place where dreams can be built. The Island's present day prominence as a beloved vacation destination was prefaced by an era of unrivaled status and prestige. Beginning in 1886 and continuing for over four gilded decades, the Island was the exclusive domain of the renowned Jekyll Island Club - the winter retreat for some of America's most elite families. We invite you to explore this rich, varied history at the Jekyll Island Museum and its Historic Sites - the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District, the Horton House and the Wanderer Memorial. The Jekyll Island Club was founded in 1886 as a winter retreat for America’s wealthiest families. Among its members were such powerful men as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William Rockefeller and William K. Vanderbilt. In its heyday, the Club was referred to as the “richest, the most exclusive, and most inaccessible club in the world.” The site is now one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States.
 
Address:
100 Stable Rd.
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
 
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Jekyll Island National Historic District
At first, it was the farm and home of John Eugene duBignon. But, with the help of his brother-in-law Newton Finney, it became what Munsey’s Magazine called "the richest, most inaccessible club in the world" – the Jekyll Island Club. Club members included men such as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and Marshall Field, to name only a few. Members prized the island for its "sense of splendid isolation," as well as its beautiful landscape and moderate climate. At a time when the idea of a modern seaside resort was still a novelty, members experienced levels of luxury and service that were remarkable, even by today’s standards. Members and their guests enjoyed hunting, horseback riding, skeet shooting, golf, tennis, biking, croquet, lawn bowling, picnics, and carriage rides. Several members built "cottages" which were simple in comparison to structures in their urban areas or Newport, Rhode Island. Though designed simply and somewhat eclectically, they certainly met the comfort levels that the members were accustomed to. In 1972, the Jekyll Island Club was designated as historic by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Jekyll Island Club House is now the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, a Historic Hotels of America member. Additional recognition was gained in 1979 when the National Park Service awarded Landmark status, creating the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District. By placing the 240-acre site and 33 historic structures into the National Historic Landmark program, the importance of Jekyll Island’s place in American History was recognized.
 
Address:
Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
 
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John Gilbert Nature Trail
THE JOHN GILBERT NATURE TRAIL One of the earliest gifts to the Land Trust was a 40-acre marsh-front property on Frederica Road, donated to the Land Trust by Dorothy Gilbert in honor of her husband, John. In 2006, the Land Trust, with the help of volunteers, designed and installed a half-mile nature trail through these dramatic woods. Bridges and a boardwalk cross wetlands and lead to a viewing deck on the eastern marsh, looking toward Sea Island; at the trail's center, there is a magnificent 200-year-old oak tree aptly named, "John's Oak." The trail receives hundreds of visitors a week. Such an overwhelming response is an indicator of how great the need is on the island for more protected woods and nature trails and has encouraged the Land Trust to provide similar access to other protected properties. The St. Simons Land Trust has protected 170 acres of land on the island, as well as 200 acres in a nearby county in a partnership with another Land Trust. These lands include conservation easements and land owned by the Land Trust, many of which have been donated by caring property owners. Following are some highlights of acquisitions that have had the greatest impact either in terms of protecting open space or enhancing quality of life in the community.
 
Address:
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 
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Neptune Small Family
Neptune Small was a slave from Glynn County, in coastal Georgia, who accompanied members of the Thomas Butler King family to fight in the Civil War (1861-65). Small was born into slavery Neptune Small on September 15, 1831, on Retreat Plantation, the home of the King family of St. Simons Island. He was chosen to look after the older King sons and bonded quickly with the third son, Henry Lord Page King (known as Lord), who was only five months older. Together they learned to read and write under the tutelage of Anna Matilda Page King, Thomas Butler King's wife. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Henry Lord Page King and his brothers enlisted in the Confederate army, and Small accompanied King as his manservant. For almost two years Small cared for King as they marched across the country and fought the battles of the Peninsula (Virginia), Richmond (Virginia), Sharpsburg (Maryland), and Harpers Ferry (West Virginia). On December 13, 1862, during the battle of Fredericksburg (Virginia), King volunteered to carry a dispatch from Major General Lafayette McLaws to Brigadier General Thomas R. R. Cobb. He was shot while returning to his regiment after delivering the dispatch. Small waited for King until dark, but when he did not return, Small began searching the battlefield, where he found King's body. The next morning Small enlisted the help of some officers to make a pine box to carry King's body to Richmond. There, he purchased a coffin and then accompanied the body to Savannah. It is believed that King's brothers and sisters joined Small in Savannah to bury their brother in a temporary grave—it was not safe to return the body to their home on St. Simons Island, as the Union forces were using it for their island headquarters. Although U.S. president Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 made him a free man, Small returned to the front to serve R. Cuyler "Tip" King, the youngest son, until Confederate forces surrendered in 1865. After the war Neptune Small Grave Marker Small traveled to Savannah to accompany Lord King's body to the family plot at Christ Church Cemetery on St. Simons. The King family gave Small a piece of property on their plantation, where he built his home and lived for many years with his wife, Ila, and their children. Later, a portion of his property was sold to the city of St. Simons and turned into a park that bears his name and overlooks the ocean pier. As a free man, in what may have been a humorous reference to his stature, he chose the last name "Small" and returned to Retreat Plantation, where he continued working for the King family. In addition to helping them rebuild, tending to the gardens, and keeping up the graveyard at Christ Church, Small also helped to plant the rows of oak trees that still line the entranceway to Retreat. Small lived more than forty years as a free man. He died at the age of seventy-five on August 10, 1907, and is buried in a cemetery for Retreat Plantation slaves and their descendants.
 
Address:
St Simons Island, Georgia 31522
 

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