Jekyll Island Club
Jekyll Island Club Historic District
Club House and Annex
|Location||Jekyll Island, Georgia|
|Area||240 acres (97.1 hectares)|
|Architectural style||Queen Anne|
|NRHP reference No.||72000385|
|Added to NRHP||January 20, 1972|
|Designated NHLD||June 2, 1978|
The Jekyll Island Club was a private club on Jekyll Island, on Georgia's Atlantic coast. It was founded in 1886 when members of an incorporated hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 (about $3.1 million in 2017) from John Eugene du Bignon. The original design of the Jekyll Island Clubhouse, with its signature turret, was completed in January 1888. The club thrived through the early 20th century; its members came from many of the world's wealthiest families, most notably the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. The club closed at the end of the 1942 season due to complications from World War II. In 1947, after five years of funding a staff to keep up the lawn and cottages, the island was purchased from the club's remaining members for $675,000 (about 7.4 million in 2017) during condemnation proceedings by the state of Georgia.
The State tried operating the club as a resort, but this was not financially successful and the entire complex was closed by 1971. The complex was designated a historic landmark in 1978.
It was restored and reopened as a luxury resort hotel in 1985. Today, Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
At the end of the plantation era of Jekyll Island, Newton Finney, suggested to Dubignon, his brother-in-law, that they might acquire the island and then sell it to Northern businessmen as a winter resort. A New York banker helped with the purchase of the entire island. By 1885, Dubignon was the sole owner of Jekyll.
In 1885, Finney and a New York associate, Oliver K. King, gathered a group of men and petitioned the Glynn county courts, becoming incorporated as the "Jekyl Island Club" on December 9, 1885. They agreed to sell 100 shares of the Jekyll Island Club stock to 50 people at $600 a share (about $15,000 in 2017).
Finney had no difficulty selling the shares. Six of the first seven shares went to the men who signed the charter petition: Finney, Dubignon, King, Richard L. Ogden, William B. D'Wolf, and Charles L. Schlatter. In all, Finney was able to find 53 people to join the Club, including such famous names as Henry Hyde, Marshall Field, John Pierpont Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, and William K. Vanderbilt.
On February 17, 1886, Finney signed an official agreement with Dubignon, who sold Jekyll Island to Finney's Jekyll Island Club for $125,000. On April 1, 1886, a meeting was held in New York to create the constitution and by-laws, and to nominate officers for the club. The first president was Lloyd Aspinwall, vice president was Judge Henry Elias Howland, treasurer was Franklin M. Ketchum, and Richard L. Ogden became secretary. These men faced the difficult task of turning the undeveloped property into a social club for the wealthy upper class of America.
Lloyd Aspinwall served just 5 months as the club president before he died suddenly. Henry Howland then took up the position as president of the Club.
Committees were formed to get the club off the ground. Charles A. Alexander of Chicago was chosen to design the clubhouse, and Horace William Shaler Cleveland, a famous landscape architect, was chosen to design and lay out the grounds.
Ground was broken on the clubhouse building in mid-August 1886. After some setbacks the clubhouse was completed on November 1. The club officially opened its doors when the executive committee arrived for the 1888 season on January 21.
Several nationally important events took place on Jekyll Island during the Club era, including the first transcontinental telephone call made by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T, to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Watson and President Woodrow Wilson in 1915; and the development of the Aldrich Vreeland Act for the National Monetary Commission in 1908.
Recreation during the club era
The Jekyll Island Club was a unique resort, more family-oriented than the Union Club or the Chicago Club. It enjoyed great popularity among the elite classes, maintaining a highly exclusive character for 60 years.
When the club started out, hunting was a major recreational activity. A gamekeeper was hired to keep the island well-stocked with pheasants, turkeys, quail and deer.
All members were to report daily what they had killed and turn it over to the club. Wild game was a common sight on the menu of the clubhouse. A taxidermist shop was located within the club compound, specifically for mounting the prize game.
As the club grew, other recreations became popular. Golf eventually took over as the Club's dominant sport. The first course was located just to the north of the Club compound. Later, in the 1920s, an ocean side course was built. A portion of this historic golf course is still intact, and can be played.
Role in the history of the Federal Reserve
Jekyll Island was the location of a meeting in November 1910 in which draft legislation was written to create a central banking system for the United States. Following the Panic of 1907, banking reform became a major issue in the United States. Senator Nelson Aldrich (R-RI), chairman of the National Monetary Commission, went to Europe for almost two years to study that continent's banking systems. Upon his return, he brought together many of the country's leading financiers to Jekyll Island to discuss monetary policy and the banking system, drafting legislation which was introduced in Congress as the "Aldrich Plan". Some ideas from the Aldrich Plan were later incorporated into the Federal Reserve Act.
On the evening of November 22, 1910, Sen. Aldrich and A.P. Andrews (Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury Department), Paul Warburg (a naturalized German representing Kuhn, Loeb & Co.), Frank A. Vanderlip (president of the National City Bank of New York), Henry P. Davison (senior partner of J. P. Morgan Company), Charles D. Norton (president of the Morgan-dominated First National Bank of New York), and Benjamin Strong (representing J. P. Morgan), together representing about one fourth the world's wealth at the time, left Hoboken, New Jersey on a train in complete secrecy, dropping their last names in favor of first names, or code names, so no one would discover who they all were. The excuse for such powerful representatives and wealth was to go on a duck hunting trip on Jekyll Island.
Picture a party of the nation's greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundreds of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written ... The utmost secrecy was enjoined upon all. The public must not glean a hint of what was to be done. Senator Aldrich notified each one to go quietly into a private car of which the railroad had received orders to draw up on an unfrequented platform. Off the party set. New York's ubiquitous reporters had been foiled ... Nelson (Aldrich) had confided to Henry, Frank, Paul and Piatt that he was to keep them locked up at Jekyll Island, out of the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, the real birth of the present Federal Reserve System, the plan done on Jekyll Island in the conference with Paul, Frank and Henry ... Warburg is the link that binds the Aldrich system and the present system together. He more than any one man has made the system possible as a working reality.
Decline and closure of the club
The Great Depression in 1929 caused great changes on Jekyll Island. This depression touched even the very wealthy across the country and membership in an exclusive club became an extravagance. Membership dropped slowly through the 1930s as the depression continued.
With the financial situation of the club worsening, the executive committee decided to create a new level of club membership in 1933. A more affordable level of membership, the Associate membership was designed to fit the needs, and pocketbook, of anyone. It was an attempt to draw in new and younger people as well as to draw more members back to the clubhouse. This new membership did revitalize the club membership roster, although only for a brief period.
World War II was the final blow to the life of the Jekyll Island Club. The club opened as usual for the 1942 season. However, by the beginning of March it was announced there would be an early close to the season due to the club's financial situation and the strain the war had on the labor situation. The 1942 season would turn out to be the final season for the Jekyll Island Club.
There was hope by the president that the Club might be reopened after the war with renewed interest. However, in 1946 the state of Georgia entered the picture. The state's revenue commissioner, Melvin E. Thompson, wanted to purchase one of Georgia's barrier islands and open it to the public as a state park. Finally, on June 2, 1947, the state purchased the island through a condemnation order for $675,000 (or approximately $5,563,416 in 2003 dollars).
The club was turned into a public resort by the state, but closed by 1971, a financial failure. It was made a historic landmark in 1978 and restored and reopened as the Radisson Jekyll Island Club Hotel in 1985. Radisson ceased managing the hotel some years later, and it currently operates as the Jekyll Island Club Resort.
List of members
During the club's inception, a limit of 100 members was imposed to ensure the club's exclusiveness. During the financially difficult Great Depression period, the club began referring to its members as founders and created the new Associate Membership. This membership was purchased at a lower price, but with all of the benefits that the founders enjoyed, and limited to a total of 150.
|John J. Albright||1890-1931|
|Nelson W. Aldrich||American politician, daughter Abby married John D. Rockefeller Jr.||1912-1915|
|Lloyd Aspinwall Jr.||1886-1892|
|George Fisher Baker||Founder of First National Bank of the City of New York predecessor to Citibank||1901-1931|
|John Eugene du Bignon||1886-1896|
|Cornelius Newton Bliss||1886-1911|
|Cornelius Newton Bliss Jr.||1912-1921|
|Matthew Chaloner Durfee Borden||The "Calico King", owner of the American Printing Company||1892-1912|
|Frederick Gilbert Bourne||President of the Singer Manufacturing Company between 1889 and 1905.||1901-1919|
|Robert Elbert Bourne||1926-1929|
|Robert Brewster||Son of Benjamin Brewster (financier) an early Standard Oil Trustee||1912-1939|
|Charles S. Brown||1924-1935|
|McEvers Bayard Brown||1886-1926|
|John Claflin||1886-1912, 1921-1938|
|Charles Richard Crane||Eldest son of plumbing parts mogul, Chicago manufacturer, Richard T. Crane||1916-1924|
|Florence Higinbotham Crane||1919-1940|
|Richard T. Crane||Founder of R.T. Crane & Bro., a Chicago-based manufacturer of valves and pipes that would later become an aerospace and plumbing manufacturer.||1911-1931|
|Robert Fulton Cutting||1923-1934|
|William Bayard Cutting||1886-1912|
|Charles M. Daniels||1924-1932|
|John Eugene du Bignon||1886-1896|
|Duncan Steuart Ellsworth||1895-1908|
|Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank||1886-1903|
|Walton Ferguson Jr.||1902-1906|
|Marshall Field||Founder of Marshall Field's department stores.||1886-1906|
|Newton Sobieski Finney||1886-1897|
|Ogden Goelet||New York real estate developer and director of The Chemical Bank. He had residences in 608 Fifth Ave., New York and a seasonal residence Ochre Point in Newport, Rhode Island||1886-1897|
|Robert Goelet||New York real estate developer and director of The Chemical Bank. He had residences at 591 Fifth Avenue, New York and seasonal residences at Tuxedo Park, New York and Ochre Point in Newport, RI||1886-1899|
|Frank H. Goodyear||Chairman of the board of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Co., Buffalo, New York and lumber business magnate.||1902-1907|
|Frank H. Goodyear Jr.||1916-1930|
|Edwin Gould||Son of railroad financier Jay Gould||1899-1933|
|George Jay Gould I||Son of railroad financier Jay Gould||1895-1916|
|Edward S. Harkness||Philanthropist and one of four sons of Stephen V. Harkness, a harness-maker who invested in the forerunner of Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller's oil company||1911-1923|
|Edmund B. Hayes||1886-1921|
|James J. Hill||1888-1916|
|Bayard C. Hoppin||1925-1931|
|Gerard B. Hoppin||1923-1938|
|Dr. Walter James||1917-1927|
|Morris Ketchum Jesup||1888-1908|
|John Stewart Kennedy||1898-1909|
|Thomas W. Lamont|
|Cornelius "Connie" Lee||1919-1947|
|Pierre Lorillard IV||Heir of the Lorillard Tobacco Company||1886-1886, 1888-1891|
|George Macy||Founder of The Heritage Press||1902-1918|
|Valentine Everit Macy||1909-1927|
|Charles Stewart Maurice||1886-1924|
|Cyrus Hall McCormick Jr.||1891-1936|
|JP Morgan||Financier, created United States Steel Corporation by buying Carnegie Steel and formed General Electric||1886-1913|
|J. P. Morgan Jr.||1913-1943|
|William Fellowes Morgan||1925-1934|
|Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst||1894-1909|
|Henry Kirke Porter||1891-1921|
|Joseph Pulitzer||Today, best known for the Pulitzer Prizes. Pulitzer was a journalist.||1886-1911|
|William Rockefeller||American financier, was a co-founder of Standard Oil with his older brother John D. Rockefeller.||1905-1922|
|Grant B. Schley||1903-1917|
|Dr. Frederick Shattuck||1912-1929|
|George Frederick Shrady Sr.||1904-1907|
|Frederick Snow||1915-1918, 1925-1929|
|George Baker St. George||1925-1933|
|Theodore Newton Vail||1912-1920|
|Cornelius Vanderbilt II||The first son of William Henry Vanderbilt, an American industrialist and philanthropist who built his wealth in shipping and railroads, and grandson of "The Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt.|
|William Kissam Vanderbilt||The second son of William Henry Vanderbilt, from whom he inherited $55 million, and grandson of "The Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt,||1886-1902|
|William Warren Vaughn||1919-1931|
Associate Members: (This class of membership was adopted in 1933)
|William Truman Aldrich||1933-?|
|John Foster Dulles||1933-?|
|David Sinton Ingalls||?|
|George Herbert Walker||1933-?|
- 1886–1887 — Lloyd Aspinwall
- 1887–1896 — Henry Howland
- 1897–1914 — Charles Lanier
- 1914–1919 — Frederick Bourne
- 1919–1927 — Dr. Walter James
- 1927–1933 — Walter Jennings
- 1933–1938 — J.P. Morgan Jr.
- 1938–1942 — Bernon Prentice
Jekyll Island Club Historic District
Jekyll Island Club Historic District is a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) historic district and National Historic Landmark District in Glynn County, Georgia. Located on the west side of Jekyll Island, the 240-acre (97.1 hectares) district is roughly bordered by Riverview Drive to the west, and the long arc of Stable Road (Old Village Boulevard) to the north, east and south. It contains thirty-three contributing properties from the Jekyll Island Club, including the separately-NRHP-listed Rockefeller Cottage and Faith Chapel. Jekyll Island Club Historic District was added to the NRHP on January 20, 1972, and was designated a national historic landmark district on June 2, 1978.
From 1967-1968, Savannah landscape architect Clermont Huger Lee created a master development plan with the goal to restore the area known as “Millionaire’s Village” to its 1910-1929 era. Though not fully implemented, Lee’s plans served as a foundation in the redevelopment of today’s Jekyll Island Historic District.
|Baker-Crane Carriage House||Built c.1890||101 James Road||Queen Anne Revival||Built for Frederic Baker, whose adjacent cottage, Solterra,|
burned in 1914
Later owned by Richard Teller Crane Jr., who demolished
Solterra to build Crane Cottage
|Boat Engineer's Cottage||Built 1916||21 Pier Road||Built by the Club to house its boat engineer, John Courier|
Currently houses a gift shop, Something For Everyone
|Built 1900||32 Pier Road
||Built by the Club to house its bookkeeper, Julius A. Falk|
Currently houses The Cottage Gift Shop
|Chauffeurs' Dormitory||Built 1905||17 Pier Road
||Currently houses Island House Gifts|
The rear addition houses Jekyll Island U.S. Post Office
|Built 1904||191 Old Plantation Road
||Carrere & Hastings||Italian Renaissance Revival||George Frederick Shrady Sr.|
Later owned by Dr. Walter Belknap James
Cherokee Cottage in 1911:
|Club House||Built 1887||371 Riverview Drive
||Charles A. Alexander||Queen Anne Revival|
|Club House Annex||Built 1901-1903||Old Plantation Road
||Charles Alling Gifford||Italian Renaissance Revival||"The Annex" featured eight 4-bedroom condominium apartments|
on the first and second floors, twenty guest bedrooms on the
third floor, and servant bedrooms on the fourth floor.
|Commissary||Built c.1900||24 Pier Road
||Currently houses Just By Hand, a handicrafts shop|
|Crane Cottage||Built 1917-1918||371 Riverview Drive
||Adler & Dangler||Mediterranean Revival||stucco over brick
terracotta tile roof
of Solterra (burned 1914)
|171 Old Plantation Road
||Stick Style||Only building that pre-dated 1886 establishment of the Club|
Originally stood on site of San Souci Apartments
Relocated to present site, 1896
|Faith Chapel||Built 1904
|181 Old Plantation Road
||Howard Constable||Shingle Style||wood shingles|
those of Notre-Dame de Paris:
King David Window by Louis Comfort Tiffany:
|Furness Cottage||Built 1889-1891
|101 Old Plantation Road
||Furness, Evans & Company||Shingle Style||wood shingles||Built for Walter Rogers Furness|
Relocated 1896 and 1930.
Served as Jekyll Island Infirmary, 1930-1942
Damaged by Hurricane Matthew, 2016
|Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Jekyll Island Power Plant
|214 Stable Road
||brick||The Georgia Sea Turtle Center opened in 2007|
|Goodyear Cottage||Built 1903-1906
|321 Riverview Drive
||Carrere & Hastings||Italian Renaissance Revival|
|Gould Casino Auditorium||Built 1902
|203 Old Plantation Road
||Walter Blair||Built by Edwin Gould as indoor tennis courts.|
|Hollybourne Cottage||Built 1890||379 Riverview Drive
||William H. Day||tabby concrete||Charles Stewart Maurice|
Hollybourne Cottage in 1911:
|Jekyll Island Authority
|100 James Road||Built as a dormitory for married servants.|
Currently houses offices of the Jekyll Island Authority
|Jekyll Island Authority Offices||James Road
||Built as a dormitory for single servants.|
|Jekyll Island Museum
|100 Stable Road
||Reopened April 27, 2019, following a two-year renovation|
|Jekyll Island U.S. Post Office
(rear of Chauffeur's Dormitory)
|17-A Pier Road
|Built 1900||Riverview Drive
||Charles Alling Gifford||Dutch Colonial Revival||wood shingles||Built for Henry Kirke Porter|
John Claflin purchased it in 1926
|Morgan Tennis Court||Built 1930||151 Old Plantation Road
||Named for Club president J. P. Morgan Jr.|
|Moss Cottage||Built 1896||341 Riverview Drive
||Dutch Colonial Revival||wood shingles|
Later owned by George Henry Macy
Moss Cottage in 1911:
|Pump House||Built c.1925||south of Morgan Tennis Court|
Indian Mound Cottage
|361 Riverview Drive
||Shingle Style||wood shingles|
Built for Gordon McKay
Bought by William Rockefeller, 1905.
|San Souci Apartments||Built 1896||365 Pier Road
||Charles Alling Gifford||Shingle Style||wood shingles||Built by Henry Baldwin Hyde as a 6-unit condominium|
J. P. Morgan owned one of the apartments
|San Souci Boiler House||Built 1896||150 Old Plantation Road
Built to provide heat and hot water for San
Currently houses the Island Sweets Shoppe
|Solterra Dovecote||Built c.1890
|Old Plantation Road|
Built for Frederic Baker
Survived 1914 burning of Solterra Cottage
|Staff Dining Hall||c.1910||13 Pier Road
||Currently houses Remember When|
|Villa Marianna||Built 1929||201 Old Plantation Road
||Mogens Tvede||Mediterranean Revival||Built for Frank Miller Gould, named for his daughter|
|Villa Opso||Built 1927||381 Riverview Drive
||John Russell Pope||Mediterranean Revival||Built for Walter Jennings|
Takes its name from the Guale name for Jekyll Island
Jekyll Landing Wharf
|1 Pier Road
Non-contributing and demolished properties
|North Riverview Drive
||William Burnet Tuthill||Queen Anne Revival||Built for McEvers Bayard Brown|
|Chichota Cottage||Built 1897
|375 Riverview Drive
Entrance through a courtyard with swimming pool
Edwin Gould purchased the cottage in 1900
Chichota's entrance steps, flanked by lions,
and its swimming pool survive
|Dairy Barn||Built 1910||North Riverview Drive
||Remnants of the dairy barn's concrete grain silo survive|
|Doc's Snack Shop|
|James Memorial Swimming Pool||1927||west of Club House||Named for Club president Dr. Walter Belknap James|
|Jekyll Island Amphitheater||Built 1973||North Stable Road
|Public Restroom||behind Faith Chapel|
|Pulitzer-Albright Cottage||Built 1897-1898
Expanded 1899, 1904
||Charles Alling Gifford||Italian Renaissance Revival||Built for Joseph Pulitzer|
Pulitzer relocated the Furness Cottage to his building plot, 1896,
and lived in it while his cottage was under construction
Later owned by John J. Albright
|Red Row||North Stable Road
||Ten houses built by the Club for African-American employees|
The workers were displaced in 1947, when Georgia purchased
Jekyll Island Amphitheater was built on the site in 1973
|Schoolhouse||Built 1901||Schoolhouse Lane||Children of white employees were taught at the schoolhouse.|
A schoolhouse for black children was later built.
|Skeet House||Built 1930s
||Relocated about 1 mi (1.6 km) from former shooting range|
Currently stands beside DuBignon Cottage
||Queen Anne Revival||Built for Frederic Baker|
Crane Cottage (1918) was built on Solterras's site
Solterra Dovecote and the Baker-Crane Carriage House survive
|Union Chapel||Built 1898
|North Stable Road||African-American church, near Red Row|
|Water Tower/Windmill||Built 1891
|Old Plantation Road||Located just east of the Club House|
Both water towers/windmills were destroyed by hurricanes
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Georgia (U.S. state)
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Glynn County, Georgia
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
- "Jekyll Island". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- "Jekyll Island Club Hotel". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Hutto, Richard Jay (2006). Their Gilded Cage: The Jekyll Island Club Members. Macon, Georgia: Henchard Press, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9770912-2-5.
- Konolige, Kit & Frederica (1978). The power of their glory : America's ruling class, the Episcopalians (1st ed.). New York: Wyden Books. p. 79. ISBN 0883261553.
- McCash, William Barton and June Hall McCash (1989). The Jekyll Island Club: Southern Haven for America's Millionaires. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-1070-0.
- Griffin, G. Edward (1998). The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. American Media. ISBN 0-912986-21-2.
- Bagwell, Tyler E. (2001). Jekyll Island, A State Park. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 6–8. ISBN 0-7385-0572-2.
- Bagwell, Tyler E. (1998). The Jekyll Island Club. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-1796-4.
- Ced Dolder. "WHO WAS CLERMONT LEE AND WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE?" (PDF). LA LETTER. Georgia Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects. XXVII (1): 18–19. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
- The National Register of Historic Places Supplement 1974 (National Park Service, 1972), p. 120.
- McCash, June Hall (1998). The Jekyll Island Cottage Colony. University of Georgia Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780820319285.
- Solterra Dove Cote, from Hidden Jekyll via YouTube.
- Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, vol. 59, no. 1,525 (June 5, 1897), New York, C. W. Sweet, p. 970.
- The Jekyll Island Museum - The Jekyll Island Museum
- Jekyll Island Club Hotel - official website
- New York Times - 1994 article about the restored hotel
- Jekyll Island Club Wharf historical marker
- The Boat House Site historical marker
- Media related to Jekyll Island Club Historic District at Wikimedia Commons