We visited Jekyll Island today. It's place in history is the location where the Federal Reserve System, the Creature, was born in 1910. A US Senator, the Secretary of Treasury, and 5 of the leading bankers in the country met at the Jekyll Island Club to discuss monetary policy and the banking system. Their plan became the 1913 Federal Reserve Act that was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson.
The island was settled by the Spanish as early as 1510 and subsequently claimed by the French and English. The Jekyll Island Club, a winter retreat for wealthy people, began in about 1886 when 53 members purchased shares for $600 each. From 1888 when the club house was opened until 1942 when it was closed by WWII, the club opened every January for member to enjoy the mild weather. Some of the members built mansion like cottages that still exist in the Historic District. After WWI, the club lost members and could no longer sustain itself. The state of Georgia acquired the island in 1947. It was originally going to be a state park, but got too expensive for the state to operate it that way so in 1950 the Jekyll Island Authority was created. It became the governing board of the island and was charged with the operation and care of the island. Between 1951 and 1954, the island was closed as prisoners prepared the island for public use. It was opened to the public in 1954. Motels, houses, the convention center, and a shopping center have been built on the island, but by law over 65% must be kept in its natural state. The club house and some of the mansions are available for rent.
We talked around the historic district this afternoon and enjoyed the nice weather. At sunset we headed over to the wharf and had a beer and Low Country Seafood Boil (crabs, shrimp, crawdads, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob as we watched the sun set over the Jekyll River. While I was taking pictures, Sue met a couple from Minnesota who spend the winters on the island. They've been coming for 3 or 4 years and really love it. We also found out there was a campground on the north end of the island. I think we'll have to come back sometime and spend some time here.