St. Simons Island history; history is a big part of St. Simons Island and its enduring appeal. Because this island that’s just 18 miles long has a truly stunning number of richly preserved historic landmarks. St. Simons Island history is critical here.
Those sites draw in visitors interested in history and culture. They also serve another purpose: to continuously remind people of the sacrifice and devotion to duty of our nation’s veterans.
And with Veterans Day coming up on Sunday, Nov. 11, St. Simons Island will join with the rest of our nation in paying tribute to the veterans who defended our country in times of crisis.
St. Simons Island is not only a very historic place but a deeply patriotic one.
How Does St. Simons Island Honor our Nation’s Veterans?
In past years, Veteran’s Day has been one of the most solemn and emotional times of the year on St. Simons Island. Residents take quite seriously the need to continuously honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while defending their nation – and those serving in uniform today.
One way the island has done that is through Veteran’s Walk, a brick walkway and memorial in front of the bandstand at Neptune Park by the Pier Village. This engraved brick walkway was created by the Rotary Club to reflect their admiration for those who have served the country through military duty.
That walkway is for all veterans, including those who did not serve during wartime. Anyone can purchase a brick there. Proceeds of engraved brick sales go to the local, national and international activities of Rotary International.
The island also hosts the annual Golden Isles Veteran’s Day Parade and Ceremony, which starts at Mallery Park and finishes on the casino stage at Neptune Park.
The parade is followed by a ceremonial salute to Veterans.
This is a regional effort. Veterans Day ceremonies will also be hosted in nearby Brunswick and throughout the entire Golden Isles community.
What New Historic Sites Honor Veterans?
A month after Veterans Day, St. Simons Island will welcome the newest addition to the island’s tradition of preserving and honoring its past. That’s when the new World War II Home Front Museum opens its doors to the public. It covers a unique chapter in St. Simons Island history, the role that residents of Coastal Georgia played during World War II.
That story will be vividly brought to life in this inspirational cultural attraction. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. was drawn into the Second World War. And Americans started to marshal resources to support the war efforts.
In Glynn County, Ga., home to St. Simons Island, there were shipyards building Liberty ships, airship bases for operating blimp patrol, and naval radar training schools. The island played a significant role in the war efforts.
The Home Front Museum was developed by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. It looks at the role St. Simons played in helping protect the Atlantic Coast from German submarines. It’s housed in the Historic Coast Guard Station on St. Simons Island. That’s a community icon built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society, founded in 1965 to tell inspiring stories of Coastal Georgia through historic structures entrusted to its care, also is responsible for the St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum and the A.W. Jones Heritage Center.
These sites are ideal for history buffs. But they also serve as a fitting reminder of the role veterans have played on St. Simons Island for more than a century.
St. Simons Island’s rich history dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
What’s Unique About St. Simons Island History?
The name St. Simons can be traced back 16th-century Spanish explorers who called it “San Simone.” And the island truly has some remarkable ways to allow visitors to travel back in time.
That history dates back as far as 1794, when oak timbers cut from Cannon’s Point on the Island’s north end were used to build the frigate U.S.S. Constitution.
Nearly 100 years later, in 1874, timbers from the Island were cut for use in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
That’s why the Island’s legendary Avenue of Oaks on Frederica Road is still so significant. The beautify of those live oaks remains a highlight well worth seeing.
So is Gascoigne Bluff overlooking the Frederica River. Originally a Native American campground during Colonial days, the landing at the bluff became Georgia’s first naval base.
The St. Simons Island Lighthouse and Museum, located on the coast near Neptune Park, is the oldest brick structure in the area. It’s still maintained as an operational light by the U.S. Coast Guard. If you’re ambitious, the top offers a spectacular view of the island. It just requires climbing 129 steps to get there.
It was first constructed in 1807 but was destroyed during the Civil War by retreating Confederate forces in 1862. The 104-foot lighthouse was reconstructed in 1872 on the same site, this time with a lighthouse keeper’s home.
Another significant landmark is the First African Baptist Church at 5800 Frederica Road, a two-story frame structure constructed with round arch windows. It was built in 1869 by former slaves of the St. Simons plantations. Electricity wasn’t added until the 1950s. The church’s history dates back to the late 1800s when First African Baptist began to establish mission churches around St. Simons.
Equally significant is The Christ Church at 6329 Frederica Road, home to a congregation that traces back to 1776, the earliest days of St. Simons Island. The first church structure was built in 1820, then partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. The present structure was built in 1884. Today the beautiful church is known for its magnificent stained-glass windows and heavily wooded grounds.
Then there are the island’s museums like the A.W. Jones Heritage Center at 610 Beachview Drive, which has exhibits from the Coastal Georgia Historical Society’s huge collection of objects, artifacts, archival materials, and a research library. The Maritime Center at the Historic Coast Guard Station on East Beach has seven galleries filled with exhibits exploring the beaches, marshes, and forests on the island.
The Bloody Marsh Battle Site off Demere Road allows visitors to rediscover the battle fought here on July 7, 1742, when Spanish troops landed on the south end of St. Simons Island. The marsh ran red with Spanish blood after they were defeated by the British.
You can also visit the site of Fort Frederica, a national park, and see the ruins of the fortifications, barracks, and homes there.
You get the idea. St. Simons Island has everything that we love about our modern world – amazing family restaurants that you can’t find anywhere else, antique stores and other great shops, as well as boating excursions off the ocean and kid-friendly parks.
This remarkably well-preserved history is another aspect of the great experience that St. Simons Island offers.
And that history is also a reminder of why our veterans will always deserve our deepest, most heartfelt thanks and appreciation.
St. Simons Island is an amazing place to discover – for its natural beauty, spectacular views of the ocean, and its historic landmarks. And it’s an island where the residents are always happy to honor our veterans, and those currently serving in the Armed Forces.
There’s no surprise that this is also a place that a growing number of people want to call home.
If you’re looking at becoming a permanent resident of St. Simons Island, Palmetto Building Group has new, move-in ready single-family homes, cottages, condominiums and townhouses available, often 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 living on St. Simon’s Island, we have a home to match your concept of the ideal setting.
Contact us 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.