Tag Archives: Coastal Georgia Documentary

Fairhope, Georgia, 1916

On a Bullock Wagon at Fairhope, Real Photo Postcard, Photographer Unknown, 20 March 1916. Collection of Brian Brown*

A group of businessmen from Akron, Ohio, purchased 7000 acres on the Sapelo River at the site of the old Mallow Plantation in 1911 and planned a community known as Fairhope. According to Buddy Sullivan (Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater), the Fairhope Land Company built a three-story hotel at the site in 1915, though “it never turned a profit and the Fairhope plan struggled to stay afloat.” By early appearances it had a promising future. In addition to the hotel, a few private lots were sold and a post office operated from 1913-1916. A couple of stores were also present. The biggest boost came from a rail spur run by the Georgia Coast and Piedmont Railroad from Eulonia to the town site. But the resort community didn’t materialize as planned and the Land Company was bankrupt by early 1916. After changing hands at least twice, it came into the ownership of the Georgia Land and Livestock Company in late 1916, at which time it came to be known by its present name, Pine Harbor. The name was suggested by surveyor Ravenel Gignilliat. The hotel was dismantled in 1931 and the lumber sold for scrap in Savannah. The old depot was moved to the waterfront and remodeled as a residence. Other than Fairhope Road at Pine Harbor, little evidence of the community can be found today.

*- This antique card from my personal collection was mailed to Cleveland, Ohio, on the date indicated at the caption and sends news to the recipient that an older couple, the Millers, are going to stay on at Fairhope for a short time before returning home. This was mailed from the short-lived Fairhope post office not long before it closed and the women on the bullock wagon were likely investors in the community. The structure depicted is not the hotel, so it was likely one of the few private residences constructed as part of the failed venture. 

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Fairhope GA, Pine Harbor GA

Cleanup of Golden Ray Wreckage Continues in St. Simons Sound

Shortly after departing the Port of Brunswick in the early hours of 8 September 2019, the 656′ cargo ship Golden Ray capsized in the waters of St. Simons Sound, between Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island) and St. Simons Island. Loaded with around 4000 new Hyundai and Kia automobile en route to the Port of Baltimore, the ship sent out an emergency call around 2:00 AM and within two hours, 20 crew were rescued.  4 remained unaccounted for and a fire was raging on the unstable vessel. Holes were cut in the hull and they were extracted safely by the Coast Guard on Monday. Sector Charleston Capt. John Reed told reporters it was the best day of his career.

It was initially thought that the ship could be saved, but that proved to be infeasible. A recent report in the Navy Times suggests that it could remain in the sea for the next year. Coast Guard Cmdr. Matt Bear says “…the Golden Ray has been slowly sinking in the sand because of the powerful tides…and…the situation makes it impossible to get the ship upright without breaking it apart and creating an even bigger problem.”

One of the biggest immediate concerns at present is the environmental impact of the wreck. The ship’s 30,000-gallon fuel supply has been removed but contaminants from the 4000 vehicles yet to be extracted from the wreckage continue to pose a threat and oil continues to leak. Altamaha Riverkeeper has been monitoring pollution impact and has discovered oil slicks and tarballs in the marshes and tidal rivers of St. Simons and Jekyll Islands. While any environmental impact is potentially problematic for the area’s tourist and fishing economies, it isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, according to the Riverkeeper. The incident well illustrates the balance that must be struck between economic and environmental concerns.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA, St. Simons Island GA

The Breakfast Club, 1976, Tybee Island

Locals will quickly point you to Jodee Sadowsky’s legendary Breakfast Club, on the corner of Butler Avenue & 15th Street near the Tybee Pier. There’s nothing pretentious about the place and you can tell when you walk in the door that it’s a temple to good food. It’s made right in front of you by friendly cooks and the staff are as welcoming to tourists as they are to locals, always a good sign. But you likely won’t find it with any empty stools unless you go in the winter and even then that’s not guaranteed. Blogger Nick Dekker sums up Breakfast Club “etiquette”: …The place runs like a well-oiled machine, so you need to know how the process works. First, expect a line. Things move quickly at Breakfast Club (don’t hang around when you’re done eating), but waiting is often part of the game. Line up outside, and server will poke his/her head out once in a while to check on your group size (your whole group needs to be present to get seated).

It may cost slightly more than a breakfast at McDonald’s but it’s exponentially better. The Breakfast Club makes their own sausage and uses as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Tybee Island GA

Oyster Roast, Altama Plantation

When the weather on the coast turns cooler an invitation to an oyster roast is the one most coveted by locals. Whether an impromptu affair in one’s backyard or an orchestrated event benefiting a special cause, these gatherings are central to the folklife of the coast and it’s not a recent phenomenon. The Guale people perfected the art of roasting oysters long before Europeans ever arrived.

Oyster etiquette, if such a thing exists, requires no more than an open fire, a sheet of metal (often the inverted hood of an old junk car or truck), and enough wet burlap to cover your bivalves. Beer and other adult beverages also figure mightily into the ritual.

Folks who live along the Gulf of Mexico will argue for their oysters’ superiority but they only have size on their side. It’s true that ours live in complex razor-sharp beds known as clusters and as a result don’t get as large as Gulf oysters, but what we sacrifice in size we more than make up in taste. Georgia’s oysters are more flavorful, hands down, with a sweet saltiness not found in their Gulf counterparts.

The tender at this particular roast (known as Clam Jam) benefiting Altamaha Riverkeeper at Altama Plantation was busy all evening taking shovelfuls of freshly steamed oysters from fire to table in short order.

Newcomers to oyster roasts are often put off by the shucking but there are always folks around who will help the uninitiated. Most locals have their own gloves and oyster knives. Tables with long legs that position the oysters in easy reach of the diner are essential at a large gathering like this one.

Thanks to Jen Hilburn for inviting me to Clam Jam 2017. Mike McCall and I had fun showing guests around the Altama property while waiting for supper.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY

Croquet at the Jekyll Island Club

Croquet was a favorite of the millionaires who were members of the exclusive Jekyll Island Club in the late 19th century, and in honor of that tradition a beautiful croquet law is still maintained for visitors of the Jekyll Island Club Resort.

Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Baptism, St. Simons Island

True Life Ministries of Atlanta has been conducting “open water” baptisms on St. Simons Island for 21 years. The church welcomes all who want to take part and have baptized over 1000 since they began the annual event. It’s a wonderful thing to see, no matter your background or faith.

Often associated with African-Americans, mass baptisms were equally popular with white churches (especially rural congregations) into the mid-20th century. Indoor baptismal pools have largely replaced the outdoor ritual today.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Foggy Morning in Darien

I live near Darien so I’ve photographed the shrimp boats here more times than I can count. With all the challenges facing independent fishermen, I think it’s important to document their presence.

Seeing them in a coastal fog is a totally different experience.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA