Jekyll Island Club Hotel
In 1886, a group of society’s elite - the Astors, Rockefellers, Goulds and Morgans among them – incorporated to form the Jekyll Island Club, a private winter hunting retreat. Architect Charles A. Alexander was commissioned to design and build a 60-room clubhouse. A six-unit apartment building, named San Souci was erected in 1896, becoming America’s first condominiums.
In 1901, an annex was constructed to handle the expanding needs of members. Between 1888 and 1928, several members built "cottages" on the island, offering more expansive and private accommodations. The first golf course was laid in 1898 and a marina, swimming pool, tennis courts, bocci, and croquet lawns followed.
The Club dwindled during the Depression and the government asked members to refrain from using it for the duration of World War II. They never returned and the island was sold to the state of Georgia in 1947 and they attempted to operate it as a hotel until 1972. In 1978, the 240-acre club district was designated a National Historic Landmark. After a $20 million restoration in 1986, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel opened, bringing grand style back to the island.
Guest Historian Series
Read more about the history of Jekyll Island Club Hotel, as told by Historic Hotels of America 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year Stanley Turkel. Excerpt is taken from his latest book Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013).