Golden Isles 2017 Visitor Guide Page 31 Heritage & Culture

Heritage & Culture 31 Photo credits: Coastal Georgia Historical Society, Fort Frederica National Monument, Jekyll Island Museum Archives and Sea Island. 1886 Jekyll Island Club, an exclusive club consisting of America's most elite, was established after the island was purchased from the island's original owners for $125,000. The Club was built by 1887 and opened its doors to the Pulitzers, Rockefellers, Goodyears, Morgans and the like. The rich and famous enjoyed Jekyll Island each year from Christmas to Easter until the start of World War II. The state of Georgia bought the island in 1947. 1928 The Cloister at Sea Island opened. Howard Coffin first purchased the island in 1926 and hired renowned architect Addison Mizner to design the original Cloister Hotel. The Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club, opened in the summer of 1927. 1924 F.J. Torras Causeway was built, connecting Brunswick and St. Simons Island. The series of bridges were designed by Brunswick native Fernando Joseph Torras, who also served as Brunswick's city manager for more than 30 years. The causeway was named for Torras following his death in 1953. 1943 - 1945 During World War II, Brunswick's shipyards bustled with activity critical to America's war efforts. Approximately 16,000 workers were employed in the shipyards where they built 99 liberty ships. NAS Glynco, now currently the site of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, began producing blimps used to escort U.S. cargo ships through the Atlantic Ocean. The base featured two giant wooden hangers, each about the size of 6 football fields and was the only naval air station to accommodate all types of aircraft - blimps, propeller planes, jets and helicopters. NAS Glynco was decommissioned in 1974. 1831 Neptune Small was born into slavery at Retreat Plantation on St. Simons Island. He was chosen to look after the plantation owners' son Henry Lord Page King. The two formed a close bond and when King enlisted in the Civil War in 1861, Neptune accompanied him. Henry was fatally shot during a battle in Virginia and Neptune dutifully recovered his body from the battlefield and brought it back to Georgia to be buried. Small later bought property and built a house north of the St. Simons Pier in what would become the African- American community called "South End." Today, the area is known as Neptune Park. View a handcrafted sculpture of Neptune Small by local artist Kevin Pullen at the St. Simons Welcome Center, 529 Beachview Drive. 1858 The Wanderer, the last ship to smuggle enslaved people from Africa to America made landfall on Jekyll Island. Congress passed the Slave Importation Act in 1807, making the importation of slaves illegal. The Wanderer, a luxury sailing vessel known for its high speed, was secretly converted into a slave ship. The ship arrived on Jekyll Island with 409 slaves acquired in West Africa, and news rapidly spread. The owners of the ship were taken to federal court, but unfortunately prosecutors were unable to prove the case, resulting in a not guilty verdict. 1859 The First African Baptist Church was organized at Pike's Bluff Plantation on St. Simons Island. At most plantations across the south, slaves were prohibited from practicing religion. However, slaves on St. Simons Island had the opportunity to form a church and congregate regularly. Slaves from the island's plantations attended the First African Baptist Church each Sunday. The church can be visited at 5800 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island.

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