Jekyll Island, in so many respects, is one of the most unique places on America’s east coast, yet many of its most special features remain relatively unknown. In order to make Jekyll’s rareness less of a secret, IPJI is adding a new feature to its website which will house articles and anecdotes about the island’s history, ecology, and environment as well as other subjects of interest. The new posting, entitled “Fascinating Stories of Jekyll, Past and Present,” will also include entries from individuals whose families have visited Jekyll and who would like to share some of the unique experiences they have had while on the island.

Our goal in adding this new feature is not only to paint a portrait of Jekyll as a haven for families seeking memorable vacation experiences but also to make it clear that Jekyll Island is a remarkable place in so many respects—an island that is not only blessed with a wealth of natural beauty but has an abundance of captivating episodes and lore in its long history.

For further information or to submit an entry for “Fascinating Stories of Jekyll, Past and Present,” write to David and Mindy Egan at

The Jekyll Island Banding Station: Georgia's Oldest Continuous Operating
  Banding Station    click here
Fascinating Stories of Jekyll, Past and Present
Local Jekyll Island author Pamela Bauer Mueller is now working on her eighth book.  This will be about the Jekyll Island Millionaires' Club; an historical novel, written through the voices of several of the Club employees.  Each month Pamela shares with her website readers several tidbits about the story, some of which you can read below.  For more information, visit her website: and scroll down to BLOG.  Some of you may be able to answer the questions she poses, and she's offering a free book for your answers and information!   

Did you know that from 1888 to 1942, about 100 of the nation’s most powerful millionaires lived on Jekyll Island, GA during three months of the year? This exclusive club mandated that you could only step foot on the island as a member or an “invited stranger.” Every year one-sixth of the world’s wealth co-existed on this tiny barrier island, where they spent carefree hours hunting, fishing, riding, and exchanging ideas. They debated politics, discussed wars, families, and world news issues. Joseph Pulitzer was invited to join the club only so he wouldn’t write badly about the rest!       

At the inception of the Millionaire’s Club in 1886, the charter members misspelled Sir Joseph Jekyll’s name. Sir Joseph Jekyll was one of the original British financial brokers for the 13th American colony, Georgia. General James Oglethorpe named this small barrier island on Georgia after Sir Joseph Jekyll. Unfortunately, the charter members of the Jekyl Island Club (northerners, mostly) did not know the correct spelling of his name.

Through correspondence with the Jekyll family, the spelling error was discovered. Club members agitated for the name of the island to be corrected. On July 31, 1929, the Georgia State Legislature passed a resolution to change the spelling of “Jekyl Island,” declaring “the correct and legal spelling of the name of said island is and shall be Jekyll Island.” Thus, 191 years after his death, the name of Sir Joseph Jekyll was corrected in every piece of legal correspondence in Georgia. This seems to be a fitting end to the tale of a lawyer, judge, and politician.

This month’s tidbit about the Millionaires: During the era of the Big Apple dance craze, the Millionaires decided to have a dance on Jekyll but realized they didn’t know how to dance it. Earl Hill, son of Charlie Hill who worked years for the Maurice family, was talked into inviting twelve black couples to the island to teach them. The Jekyll Island Club members bought new tuxedos for the men and gowns for the ladies, and they were brought over to teach the Millionaires how to dance the Big Apple. The Club employees made up the band, led by “Washboard” Robert Ivory, who later became a professional musician. The band struck up a lively tune and the dancing began. The twelve couples showed how the dance was done, and then the Millionaires tried it, but just couldn’t get the hang of it. So, the couples split up and each danced with one of the Millionaires. Now these twenty-four dancers could rightfully say they had danced with a Millionaire!

Did you know that Joseph Pulitzer loved Jekyll Island so much that he wanted to spend his last days in unlimited privacy? Sadly, he died on his yacht, Liberty, in the harbor of Charleston, S.C., desperately hoping to reach his Jekyll Island cottage. You’ll learn more about his eccentric character and personality in the book.

Hollybourne Cottage: Spirits of the Past….

By Greg Lowery,
Rentz, GA

Jekyll Island’s historic district offers a unique opportunity to travel back in time and experience the Gilded Age.  The rambling brick Club House, now a five-star hotel, continues to be the hub of activity in the old millionaire’s village.  Guests may also spend the night at Crane or Cherokee Cottage, or in the island residence of J.P. Morgan, the Sans Souci.  The remainder of the club compound offers a variety of shops, museums, and art exhibits, housed in the elegantly appointed “cottages” of the Captains of Industry.  These homes have been restored to their former glory, with one notable exception:  Hollybourne.

Hollybourne stands near the north end of the historic district, vacant and apart.  Its yellow brick chimneys and terra-cotta-trimmed walls are framed by shrouds of Spanish moss on ancient cedars.  Charles Stewart Maurice, the renowned bridge engineer, began work on the house in 1890, to accommodate his wife Charlotte and his ever-growing family of eight children.  Maurice, in a nod to the vernacular construction methods of the colonial coast, built his cottage with “tabby”, a concoction of lime, sand, and oyster shells.  He insisted on employing bridge-building techniques, with trusses in the attic and brick piers in the basement.

The Maurice family embraced their island home, often arriving before the official club season began so that they could celebrate Christmas on Jekyll.  Charles and his sons were avid hunters, keeping the Club's taxidermist busy.  Charlotte and her daughters were meticulous in recording the details of everyday life in a millionaires’ village, with journals and with photographs.  The family was known for treating their servants well, forging friendships that endured beyond the life of the club.  Charlie Hill, longtime butler and carriage driver for the Maurices, remembered a particular family ritual in his later years:  "Every afternoon, if weather was good, I drove up to the house in the carriage.  Mr. Maurice would yell, 'The wheels roll at 4'.  If everybody wasn't standing out on the porch he would roll off without them."  Today’s visitors to the cottage will notice a protruding slab in the center the front porch.  This feature made it easy to step into an awaiting carriage.

The cottage that once rang with the laughter of children is now silent and empty.  Plaster walls inside are crumbling, and efforts at full-fledged restoration have been met with only limited success.  The solarium on the right side of the house was taken down years ago.  The windows are dark and occasionally a loose shutter bangs in the breeze.  Unwittingly, the once-warm family refuge has gained a reputation as Jekyll’s “haunted house”.

Fanciful tales of a Haunted Hollybourne are not hard to find.  The abundant stories tell of cold interior places, falling objects, flying objects, messages on mirrors, sounds of conversation and chamber music, and visions of lonely ladies in flowing white gowns. One late-night visitor claims that when she stepped from the darkness, she and her companions were covered with powdery white footprints.

Whether these legends have a basis in fact, or are simply the products of active imaginations, this much is known:  the two surviving Maurice sisters left the house under very unpleasant circumstances.  When the state of Georgia purchased Jekyll Island from the Club in 1947, the sisters petitioned the state to allow them to continue to live in their beloved Hollybourne.  It seemed to them a reasonable request; after all, they had grown up wintering in that house.  The Maurice family had been active in the Jekyll Island Club for its entire life span.  The government refused, and the sisters went to their grave with disdain for the Great State of Georgia.  So displeased were they, that on trips to Florida later in life, they insisted on making their way south...through Alabama.