St. Simons Island historic preservation; there’s a lot that brings people here.
Right near the Pier Village on St. Simons Island, and a short stroll from the pier itself, is the majestic St. Simons Lighthouse, where visitors can enjoy some breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The St. Simons Island Lighthouse fits perfectly in this setting. It’s a place to watch boats sailing by, or to follow the gulls as they swoop in to beat the fishermen to their meals. But in addition to the beautiful structure itself – which includes a museum in the Keeper’s Dwelling – it offers something else: a fascinating amount of history waiting to be discovered.
It’s the history of both the island and Coastal Georgia. In the museum, visitors can begin their journey back in time by viewing the rare artifacts and historical photographs that recount the history of a structure that dates back to 1804.
St. Simons Island truly owes a lot of its distinctive character to that well-preserved history. This charming island, home to more than 12,000 people, attracts residents and visitors alike because of it truly is a unique place. Historic monuments like the St. Simons Lighthouse, the oldest brick structure in the area, add considerably to that appeal. So do the nature preserves that attract people who love the outdoors. People love the St. Simons Island beaches, the nature trails, and the wildlife preserve on St. Simons Island.
On St. Simons Island, history truly does meet nature.
How does the island’s history work in its favor?
The Lighthouse is a fascinating reminder of just how long people have been inhabiting this island off the South Georgia coast. It was in 1804 when John Couper, owner of a local plantation, deeded four acres of land at the southern end of St. Simons to the federal government for a lighthouse. The contact to construct it went to James Gould in 1807, and he would also serve as its first keeper.
That structure no longer exists. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, the local Glynn Guards Infantry Company blew up the Lighthouse so it would be kept out of the hands of the Union Navy.
The current St. Simons Lighthouse and Keeper’s Dwelling were completed in 1872 by Charles Cluskey, an architect known for overseeing a lot of outstanding buildings in Georgia. At 104 feet tall, it was constructed of Savannah grey brick, with decorative iron brackets supporting the Lighthouse gallery at the top. The federal government has allowed the Dwelling to be used as a museum since 1971. The Lighthouse is still maintained as an operational light by the U.S. Coast Guard today.
It’s a fascinating story with a lot of rich details. But it’s also one of many on the island. The Lighthouse can be just the start of a fascinating trip back in time.
Why is St. Simons an island filled with stories?
There are so many stories on St. Simons Island, just waiting for newcomers to visit the island and discover them. One of the best-known properties is the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, a beachfront property that’s been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dating back to 1935, the property started out as a private dance hall on the beach. The name of the resort came from the fact that one of the entrepreneurs was tall and thin, the other short and fat, so the dance hall’s workers used to joke, “Here come the king and the prince.” As it turns out, name stuck. It became a hotel in 1941.
That story is symptomatic of the island’s natural appeal – the fact that on a relatively small island that’s just 12 miles long by three miles wide, you can discover pre-Revolutionary history through the plantation years and the Civil War, up to the emancipation of slaves and the contributions they made to the island’s history as well.
There are so many other rich stories to be discovered here. Gascoigne Bluff, overlooking the Frederica River, was a favorite Native American campground. During Colonial days, the landing at the bluff became Georgia’s first naval base. Even the live oak timbers on Gascoigne Bluff have a story to tell. Those oak timbers were milled in 1794 and used to construct “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution, in 1874. Timbers cut here were also used for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Bloody Marsh Battle Site dates back to a battle fought here on July 7, 1742, when Spanish troops landed on the south end of St. Simons Island, and ended up getting crushed decisively by the British, ending the threat of a Spanish invasion of the Colony. It’s been recorded that the marsh ran red with Spanish blood, hence of the name of this preserved site.
How is nature preserved on the island?
Bicycles are a very popular form of transportation on St. Simons Island, which is home to a paved network of winding bike paths. Bike rentals are easily available here for that reason.
And another popular pastime is the Georgia Beachwalk Nature Programs, giving people an opportunity to explore what life is like along the shore. On those muddy salt marshes, there’s so much to discover, including shorebirds, periwinkles, fiddlers and sea oats.
The island’s salt marshes contribute solidly to South Georgia’s multi-million-dollar seafood industry and are an important part of the local economy. This is a natural habitat that’s become home to so much of the island’s wildlife, including shrimp, fish, oysters and crabs, as well as critters like otters, raccoons, marsh wren and rabbits.
It’s hard to believe an island of this size can offer so much, creating a paradise for lovers of the outdoors, for those who love exploring history – and those who also appreciate modern pleasures. That includes the shops found in the Pier Village area, or the many unique restaurants readily available on the island.
St. Simons Island is a truly unique mix of the modern and the historic, where the beauty of the great outdoors and the conveniences we come to expect in today’s world co-exist happily. One minute, you can be exploring the shops in the Pier Village or dining at one of the great family restaurants there.
The next minute, you can be walking along the salt marshes, or on the island’s stunning nature preserves, feeling very much like you left civilization far behind.
This unbeatable combination keeps attracting people, not only to visit but also to settle down on St. Simons Island. If you’re also considering becoming a permanent resident and looking for St. Simons Island homes for sale, contact Palmetto Building Group today.
We have new, move-in ready single-family homes, cottages, condominiums and townhouses available. In many instances, we offer homes with fabulous views of the marshes close by. We also have homes close to the Pier Village, or right near the beach.
Whatever it is that draws you to life on St. Simons Island, we have a home to match your concept of the ideal setting, and we can help you with real estate on St. Simons Island.
Contact Palmetto Building Group today at 912-266-8401 or email us at Palmettoleads@gmail.com to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you, but most of all, we’re thrilled to know you’re looking for a new home on one of the most spectacularly beautiful and historic parts of South Georgia.