Posts Tagged ‘St. Simons’

A Last Look At St. Simons

September 24, 2008
Tabby (oyster shells, lime, ash, sand and water) was used in construction during the colonial period.

Tabby (oyster shells, lime, ash, sand and water) was used in construction during the colonial period.

Betsy and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to St. Simons Island in June of this year.  The highlights of our time on the island were the Lighthouse, Epworth By The Sea, Fort Frederica, and Christ Church, Frederica.  But there were many other interesting things to see on the island.

I’ve always been fascinated by ships and the sea.  In 1961 I was in Boston and had the opportunity to tour U.S.S. Constitution, the famous Old Ironsides.  I must admit that it was awesome to be able to board that piece of history.

One of the places we visited on St. Simons was Gascoigne’s Bluff.  The bluff has been an Indian settlement before the English arrived, the site of the most beautiful plantation on the island, and the headquarters of a Spanish invasion in 1742.  But what was most interesting to me was the fact that the timbers that were used to construct Old Ironsides in 1794 came from trees growing on Gascoigne’s Bluff.  In 1874 timbers from this bluff were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We also visited two slave cabins on what was once the Hamilton Plantation.

We also visited the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh.  This was the place where the British ambushed the Spanish in 1742 and won a decisive victory which resulted in the Spanish leaving St. Simons Island and returning to St. Augustine.

To see more of St. Simons Island click HERE.

Christ Church, Frederica

September 22, 2008
Christ Church, Frederica, St. Simons Island.  June 25, 2008.

Christ Church, Frederica, St. Simons Island. June 25, 2008.

While Betsy and I were visiting St. Simons Island in Georgia, we stopped at Christ Church, Frederica.  Christ Church is an Episcopal Church built on the site of the first Episcopal church on the island.

Actually, the history of worship on the site goes back even further.  In March, 1736, Charles Wesley held worship services for the new settlers at Frederica.  In 1737 John Wesley established a church for the people of Frederica and the other settlement on the island, Fort St. Simon.  When John Wesley left St. Simons he was replaced by George Whitefield.  All three men held services on the site of the present church.

The building of a church structure was delayed by the Revolutionary War, and it wasn’t until 1810 that the construction of a church building on the site began.  The building was completed in 1820 and used until the Civil War.

Returning at the end of the Civil War, residents of St. Simons found Union troops had destroyed much of the church.  Windows had been broken, pews smashed and burned, the roof was heavily damaged and both the altar and the organ had been destroyed.

The congregation met in homes until 1884, when Anson Green Phelps Dodge rebuilt the church as a memorial to his first wife.  It is this church which we visited.  The church building is cruciform in design, with a trussed Gothic roof.  The building contains beautiful stained glass windows depicting incidents in the life of Christ and the early history of the church on St. Simons.

To see more of our visit to Christ Church click HERE.

Fort Frederica

September 19, 2008
Cannon along the river at Fort Frederica.  June 25, 2008.

Cannon along the river at Fort Frederica. June 25, 2008.

After visiting Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, Betsy and I drove  to Fort Frederica National Monument, also on the island.

The town of Frederica was founded by General James Oglethorpe in 1736, three years after the founding of the Georgia colony at Savannah.  In the 1730s Great Britain was engaged in a struggle with Spain for land in what is now the southeastern United States.  Both countries claimed the land between St. Augustine (held by the Spanish) and Charleston (held by the British).  The British founded Georgia to serve as a buffer along their southern frontier.

In 1736 Oglethorpe landed on St. Simons Island with 44 men (mostly skilled workers) and 72 women and children.  Their first task was to build a fort to command the river, but they then built the town of Frederica.  By the 1740s Frederica was a tsubstantial village of about 500 people which would easily fit in the English midlands.

War broke out between Spain and Great Britain in 1739.  In 1742 the Spanish invaded St. Simons and got to within sight of Frederica, but were beaten back.  Later that same day the British won a decisive victory against the Spanish at Bloody Marsh and the Spanish left the island within a week.

Peace brought about the fairly rapid decline of Frederica as soldiers were no longer stationed in the  town.  The town survived a fire in 1758, but fell into ruin soon thereafter.

To see more of our trip to Frederica click HERE.

Epworth By The Sea

September 17, 2008
George at Lovely Lane Chapel, Epworth By The Sea, Georgia.  June 25, 2008.

George at Lovely Lane Chapel, Epworth By The Sea, Georgia. June 25, 2008.

When we were planning our anniversary trip Betsy wanted us to go to St. Simons Island, since she had been there previously and wanted to show me around.  In addition to St. Simons Lighthouse, she especially wanted me to see Epworth By The Sea, the Methodist Conference Center on the island.  The purpose of Epworth is to provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship.

The ties between Methodism and St. Simons are strong.  John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, visited St. Simons Island and Fort Frederica in March of 1736.

One of the features of Epworth By The Sea is Lovely Lane Chapel.  The chapel is a church built in 1880 as St. James Union Church and is now the oldest church building on St. Simons.  When the Methodist Church purchased the property containing the church in 1949, the church was renamed Lovely Lane Chapel after the site of the 1784 founding conference of American Methodism in Baltimore, Maryland.

Epworth By The Sea is a beautiful place and I understand why Betsy wanted to share it with me.  To see more of our visit to Epworth By The Sea click HERE.

St. Simons Light

September 14, 2008
George at the walkway leading to the beach at St. Simons Lighthouse.  June 24, 2008.

George at the walkway leading to the beach at St. Simons Lighthouse. June 24, 2008.

On our anniversay trip, after exploring Savannah for much of the day, we headed south to St. Simons Island.  We reached St. Simons in the afternoon and went to the lighthouse, which was built in 1872.  The lighthouse and keeper’s house are the oldest surviving brick structures in Glynn County, Georgia.  The lighthouse is 104 feet tall and is open to the public, but we passed on the opportunity to walk up the 129 steps to the top!

The present lighthouse is the second on the site.  The original lighthouse was built in 1807 and lasted until 1862, when it was blown up by retreating Confederates when they abandoned St. Simons.

We visited the beach and park near the lighthouse.  The park contained several huge live oak trees which we paused to admire.

After driving around St. Simons for a little bit, we decided to try one of the local restaurants for dinner.  To see more of our visit to St. Simons Lighthouse, click HERE.