In the late 1800s, a group of northern millionaires, among them the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Goulds, Astors, Morgans and Goodyears, sent a team of experts to find a spot that would offer natural beauty, complete privacy and excellent weather so they might escape the northern winters. They selected JEKYLL ISLAND, and under their direction it became the most exclusive resort in the nation. The Jekyll Island Club was formed. It is said its membership represented one-sixth of the world’s wealth – and no unwanted or uninvited person ever visited the island from 1888-1942.
Several significant events occurred during the Club era. In 1910, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island convened a secret meeting on Jekyll Island to discuss banking reform. That discussion led to the Aldrich Plan, which became the forerunner of the Federal Reserve System. On Jan. 15, 1915, Club member Theodore Vail, president of AT&T, presided over the first transcontinental telephone call, which connected Vail on Jekyll Island with President Wilson in Washington, Alexander Graham Bell in New York, and his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco.
Today 35% of the island is developed. The other 65% will be preserved in a natural state. 9 hotels with over 1,500 rooms offer accommodations from family-oriented to luxury. Resort facilities include 63 holes of golf, a convention center, nine miles of beach, tennis complex, a summer waterpark, soccer complex, nature center, bike trails and fishing piers. The JEKYLL ISLAND NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT is one of the largest restoration projects in the Southeast.
Faith Chapel (Jekyll Island)
Tucked serenely away in a quiet corner of the Jekyll island historical district is picturesque faith chapel, the small wooden church, complete with gargoyles guarding it’s entrance, has an unusual warmth and charm a fitting contrast to the grand mansions in the district that surround it.
Built in 1904 for interdenominational worship, Faith chapel was attended by the wealthy and powerful members of the Jekyll island club during their turn of the century visits to the island.
The beautiful stained glass windows were designed by Louis C. Tiffany and D. Maitland Armstrong, the most famous glassmakers of their day. Today, faith chapel is a popular spot for weddings.