Tag Archives: Restoration in Coastal Georgia

Major Columbia Downing House, 1886, Brunswick

Designed by Alfred Eichberg, who also designed Brunswick’s Old City Hall and Temple Beth Tefiloh, this is now home to Brunswick Manor, the most popular bed and breakfast in town. The original owner, Major Columbia Downing (1845-1924), was a big booster for commercial and residential development and chartered the National Bank of Brunswick in 1884. He was also the founder of the Downing Company, a naval stores factor, in 1890.

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brunswick GA

Hollybourne Cottage, 1890, Jekyll Island


Superlative in appearance and history, Hollybourne is the only tabby-walled house to have been built in the cottage colony and the Maurices were the only family associated with the Jekyll Island Club from its inception until its disbanding in 1948. Charles Stewart Maurice was a Union midshipman in the Civil War, seeing service on several ships. After the war he took a job with the Lower Hudson Steamboat Company and was involved for a time in a tannery business with a childhood friend.


Around the time of his marriage in 1869, Maurice worked as a timber supplier to the Oswego Midland Railroad for the construction of bridges. He entered into a partnership with Charles Kellogg in 1871 to build railway bridges and soon, the firm of Kellogg and Maurice was pioneering the construction of iron bridges. In 1884 the firm merged with several others to form the Union Bridge Company. Union Bridge built some of the best-known bridges of the era and made Maurice a very wealthy man. The Maurices lived in Athens, Pennsylvania, during much of this time.


When Maurice became one of the first members of the newly formed Jekyll Island Club he enlisted architect William H. Day to build his cottage. Day’s design for the house is of a style referred to as Jacobethan. The term was coined by Sir John Betjeman in 1933 to describe a Renaissance/Tudor Revival form blending Jacobean and Elizabethan elements.


The Maurices spent all but two Christmases at Hollybourne from 1890-1942 and had a great love for the home and the island. Joan Hall McCash notes in The Jekyll Island Cottage Colony (Athens, University of Georgia Press, 1998) that the family was generous with others on the island at Christmas, and from about 1900-1920, Hollybourne was  the center of life during the club season.


Hollybourne is the most architecturally interesting home on the island and its preservation should be commended.Though there has always been a desire to save it, its future was uncertain for many years.


Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark


Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Solterra Dovecote, Circa 1890, Jekyll Island


Solterra Cottage, the retreat of Frederic and Frances Baker, was built in 1890 and became known for its lavish parties, even hosting the newly-elected President William McKinley, along with his wife and the Vice-President’s family, in 1899. A fire consumed the cottage in 1914, but this dovecote survived. Over the years, it was moved several times but has finally been placed between the ruins of Chicota and Hollybourne Cottage, near its original location.


Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Jekyll Island GA

Rose Manor Guest House, 1889, Brunswick


In its 20th-century heyday, this was a guest house, though it’s probably best remembered as a private residence today. It’s been restored since I made this photograph in 2011 and is now for sale.

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brunswick GA

Drayton Arms Apartments, 1951, Savannah

savannah ga drayton arms apartments photograph copyright brian brown vanishing coastal georgia usa 2016

Designed in 1949 by Cletus W. & William P. Bergen for the Federal Housing Authority, the Drayton Arms Apartments (now known as Drayton Tower) was the first Modern or International style structure built in Savannah. It was also the first large scale apartment building in Georgia to have air conditioning. It’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 caused great controversy and it remains one of the most hated and unpopular buildings in the downtown historic district. However, when it was completed in 1951, Savannah had not yet begun a move toward preservation and the Drayton was thought to fill a niche for low cost urban housing for veterans and other applicable tenants. Regardless of its controversial nature, it is the most important work of Modern architecture in the city.

National Register of Historic Places


Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

Gable Front House, Darien

darien ga gable front house photograph copyright brian brown vansihing coastal georgia usa 2016

This is one of numerous vernacular houses that’s recently been restored in Darien.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Ashantilly, Darien


Now known as The Ashantilly Center, a non-profit educational and cultural historic site, the focal point of this property is “Old Tabby”, which was the mainland home of early Georgia planter and legislator Thomas Spalding. Originally built around 1820, the home burned in 1937. The present structure was built by William G. (Bill) Haynes, Jr., incorporating what remained of the original structure. I made these photographs in 2011 at the invitation of Harriet Langford, Ashantilly’s most ardent advocate and chairman of its board of directors.


This is a section of the original tabby.


Bill Haynes worked hard to preserve the historical integrity of the property, though additions were necessary to make the house livable.


Period furniture collected by Haynes over the years can be seen in the parlor and in other areas of the house, like the dining room, seen below.


Bill Haynes was a man of many talents. He made the oil painting below in which Old Tabby can faintly be seen in the background, as it appeared before the fire of 1937.


His interest in Southern subjects is evident in this watercolor of a sweet potato harvest.


An avid bibliophile, Haynes’s collection fills library shelves throughout the house.


The attic served as a workshop for Haynes. It’s presently being cataloged and organized.


Because the house faces Black Island Creek, the rear elevation is what many people see first.


National Register of Historic Places





Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA