Jekyll Island History

In 1733, General James Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia and named Jekyll Island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.


In 1736, English, Spanish, and Creek Indians met on the island in an effort to settle their differences through diplomacy.


In 1879, Newton Finney, and brother-in-law, John Eugene DuBignon, a descendant of Christophe DuBignon, collaborate to turn Jekyll Island into a private hunting club for the nation’s wealthiest individuals, quickly becoming their winter hideaway.


The Island in 1886, was purchased by the newly formed Jekyll Island Club which Munsey’s Magazine called, “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”

Jekyll Island Club Opens

The Club officially opened its doors in January 1888, quickly becoming a retreat for families that represented one-sixth of the world's wealth.

Sans Souci is Completed

Completed in 1896, and partly owned in part by J.P. Morgan, this six-unit building is recognized as one of the first condominiums in the United States. The floors, leaded art glass, stairway and skylight are all original still today.

The Annex

Completed in 1901, built as an addition to The Clubhouse, The Annex featured eight suites for members and their guests on the first and second floors, some offering enclosed parlor rooms and river views.

The Cherokee

In 1904 the Cherokee, named after a wild rose, reflects the Shrady family's life of elegant leisure. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, Cherokee is complete with double front doors, a spacious great room, and ten guestrooms.

The Federal Reserve

Under the cover of night, and using only first names to keep their identities secret, Senator Nelson Aldrich led a party of financial leaders to Jekyll Island to conceptualize a federal banking system. Coined the First-Name Club, together the group drafted the modern day Federal Reserve.

First Transcontinental Phone Call

In 1915, the nation's first transcontinental phone call took place between President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, DC, Alexander Graham Bell in New York, Thomas Watson in San Francisco, Henry Higginson in Boston, and AT&T President Theodore Newton Vail at Jekyll Island Club.

Crane Cottage

In 1917, Crane Cottage is built in the Italian Renaissance style for Richard Teller Crane, Jr. and his wife, Crane Cottage is the largest, most lavish of the cottages. Featuring a sunken garden, fountains, and an upper terrace, today Crane Cottage is still as awe-inspiring as ever, making it an ideal wedding venue.

The Cottages

Families with names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Baker built elegant cottages designed for comfort in Victorian architectural styles. Villa Marianna was the last of 18 cottages to be completed, in 1928.


In 1924, golf as we know it was shaped here. The USGA selected Jekyll Island as a testing ground for golf, replacing hickory shafts with new steel clubs, and testing ball performance. Together these strokes of genius resulted in the use of a lighter ball and steel shafts, forever changing the game.


Resurrection begins in 1985. After a decade of neglect and abandonment, two friends, one a lawyer, the other an architect, climbed through an unlocked window and fell in love with the deteriorating Clubhouse. Together, they planned to preserve and renovate The Club to its original splendor and re-open it as a hotel.

Grand Reopening

The hotel's Grand Opening ceremony included remarks from Joe Frank Harris, Governor of the State of Georgia, and Paul Warwick, Mayor of Brunswick. The celebration included harp players and an ice sculpture in the form of The Clubhouse turret.

Holywood Stars Visit

Beginning in 1999, Robert Redford's Legend of Bagger Vance starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron is shot along the Riverfront Lawn. Other notable films shot on Jekyll Island includeX-Men: First Class, Glory, and Live By Night.

Jekyll Ocean Club

2017 marks the opening of Jekyll Ocean Club. The ocean played a key role throughout the history of the Jekyll Island Club – from the natural beauty, to the season-opening arrival of the Member’s yachts. Jekyll Island Club Resort's all-suite, oceanfront, boutique hotel, Jekyll Ocean Club is now open.