Tuesday, April 7, 2015

St. Simons Island, GA

To get to St. Simons Island you must cross the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized by Georgia poet, Sidney Lanier, in the 1800s.
A place where the grass and the sea become one at high tide:
"Look how the grace of the sea doth go 
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
Here and there, Everywhere, 
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying lanes, And the marsh is meshed with a million veins…and all is still; and the currents cease to run; 
And the sea and the marsh are one. "
We stopped at Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park

Once on the island multiple historic markers tell the history.
The Avenue of Oaks: "GLOOMS of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven...That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within the wide sea-marshes of Glynn." Sidney Lanier

Our first stop was at St. Simons Light, built in 1872. It is the second lighthouse in this location. The first was built in 1810 by James Gould, made famous in Eugenia's historical novel, The Lighthouse, that recounts the island's early history.
The 100-foot tower has a 129-step cast iron spiral staircase. You can rest and read the signs on the landings.
It was closed our first visit, and when we came back to climb it, it was so foggy you could barely see Jekyll Island. 
Nan coming up the staircase. 
These islands were on contested land between the English Colonies and Spanish territory to the south. So St. Simons Island had two forts, one here, and Fort Frederica on the northern end.
The historic Coast Guard Station houses a Maritime Museum. It was also closed on Easter, so we did not get to tour it.
We did learn a little WWII history from this marker outside. I never realized how close the war came to our eastern shores.
Easter beachgoers.
It was windy and the waves were high.
Which was great for the sailboarders.
WE drove to the north end of the island to visit the ruins of Fort Frederica.
We watched a film in the Visitors Center, and tried some hands-on activities.
We learned about the Spanish attack on St. Simons in 1742, resulting in a victory for the British. Georgia's claim to the island was never again disputed.
Not only was there a fort here, but an entire community called Frederica.
The remains of the Military Road that connected the two forts. It was up this road that the Spanish marched after taking Fort St. Simons, and the British ambushed them at Bloody Marsh.
Not much remains or is known about the burying ground. No one knows who from the settlement may have been buried here.
Evangelists John and Charles Wesley were the spiritual leaders here during this time.
Much has been learned by careful excavation of the site and from written documents. This is where the town gate was located. 
A diagram of the town.

The settlement was surrounded by a moat and a wooden palisade. Only the moat remains.
What the town's main street may have looked like.

Nan walks down Broad Street.
Some of the homes in the settlement have been excavated. You can see the tabby foundations that remain.
Information about who lived in the house, anecdotes, and a drawing of what the house looked like are included on the interpretive signs.
This house belonged to General Oglethorpe's Indian interpreter. Interestingly, we later met one of her descendants,  an elderly lady looking for the Musgrove Plantation on the island.
The display also included artifacts that were found during excavation of the house.
This house belonged to a candlemaker.
The Calwell house with double fireplaces and oven.
This was an interesting story of home ownership and marriage.
Once she married, her house became his house.
This was the ruin of two houses that shared a common wall.
There is an interesting story about these close neighbors.
A drawing of the Hawkins-Davison house.
Artifacts found here.
The fort overlooked the river to protect the island from attack by sea. Only a couple structures remain.
What the fort looked like.
There were two storehouses that have been excavated. They doubled as a place for worship.
Foundation of one of the storehouses.
This is an original cannon (with a new base). The other two cannons are replicas.
This magazine for guns and ammunition is all that remains of the tabby fort.
A portion of the barracks is also still standing.
The tower is where the soldiers entered the gateway into the barracks area. There were about 200 soldiers stationed at Frederick when the Spanish attacked. About half of them were housed here. Married soldiers lived in houses in town, and others lived in huts built nearby.
Near the fort is a Memorial Garden in honor of John and Charles Wesley.
Entry to the garden...
A week or two ago it would have been breathtaking when the azaleas were at their peak.
Our last stop was at Christ Church, built on the location where Wesley once preached under the Live Oak trees.
It is still an active congregation.
Christ Church on Easter Sunday. Visitors were invited to add a flower to the cross display.
On our second visit, on Tuesday, all the flowers on the bottom had been eaten by deer at night.
Inside the church are beautiful stained-glass windows.
This one is made of Tiffany Glass. 
Two windows depict historical events rather than Biblical scenes. This one shows General Oglethorpe with the Indians.
 And this one shows John and Charles Wesley preaching under the oak trees.
 Presidents Coolidge, Carter and Bush have all worshipped here.
 The pews where they sat are marked with a small plaque.
Many early church members are buried in the cemetery here. Nan is looking at the grave of a Revolutionary War soldier. Note the flag from that era.
British colonists have a British flag beside their graves.
Civil War soldiers
Perhaps one of the most famous graves is that of novelist Eugenia Price who lived less than a mile from the church and made this area famous with her many historical novels.
"After her conversion to Jesus Christ October 2, 1949, she wrote: Light and eternity and love and all are mine at last."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to recent spam in comments, all new comments will be moderated and approved before publishing.