Posts Tagged ‘St. Marys Georgia’

Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum Better Than Ever

September 27th, 2017 by Mary

Cumberland Island Museum Entrance on Osborne Street

The Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum (CINS), which is located in the historic district of St. Marys, Georgia, reopened their doors in July 2017 after being closed for nearly nine months. Hurricane Matthew caused flooding to the park’s mainland museum in October 2016. Although there was minimal damage to the exhibits, the storm prompted a major overhaul of the entire first floor of the building. New and returning visitors are greeted with new flooring, reconfigured exhibits and new artifacts in the main gallery, plus the newly restored and expanded Carriage Room.

Painting of the Stafford Plantation

 

 

The museum showcases the island’s 4,000 years of human history which began with the Timucuan Indians and later included Spanish missionaries, British settlers, early American patriots and enslaved African Americans. When the industrial revolution swept the country, wealthy families like the Carnegies sought solace on the island both as land owners and vacationers. Now visitors to the museum will find wonderful treasures like the fully-restored statue of the god Mercury which once stood on the lawn at Plum Orchard, antique carriages, steamer trunks, fine china and period clothing, all belonging to the Carnegie family members who lived and played on their island paradise. One of the most influential female family members was Lucy Coleman Carnegie, wife of Thomas Carnegie – a strong woman who fought for women’s rights by choosing to enter through doors that read “Gentlemen Only”. One such barrier she broke through was at the New York Yacht Club, where she became the first female member in 1894. She commandeered her own steam yacht named “Dungeness”, which was usually moored at Cumberland Island. One of the family mansions on the island was also named “Dungeness”, the magnificent ruins of which still remain and are one of the main attractions for visitors to the island. 

Statue of Mercury originally stood at Plum Orchard

The other part of the main floor houses an exhibit about the War of 1812. One of the final battles of the war was fought in St. Marys at Point Peter. The exhibit goes into detail about that battle and the impact it had on the town. Visitors can watch a short film on how the battle played out.

The next phase of renovations to the museum will be in the back hallway. One wall will showcase hanging displays, the other will feature artwork. Seven pieces of art were recently sent off for restoration. Another piece that had originally hung in Plum Orchard and was originally slated to go back to the mansion after restoration will now likely be on display at the museum due to needing a climate-controlled environment.

A trip to the CINS is a delight for visitors to St. Marys who are planning a day trip or camping on Cumberland Island. It gives people a great sense of appreciation for the pioneers who settled on the island and gave us such a wonderful rich history that remains encapsulated on our neighboring Cumberland Island. Even if you have visited the museum in the past, it is a delight to return and see what’s new! The museum is open 7 days a week, from 1-4 pm, and admission is free for all.

Lucy Carnegie's Carriage

Lucy Carnegie’s Carriage

Gown worn by one the the Carnegie women, now on display in the Main Gallery.

Gown worn by one of the Carnegie women

Miniature of Plum Orchard Mansion 

Exhibits about Timucuan Indians

 

 

Travel Bloggers Visit Spencer House Inn

March 8th, 2016 by Mary

Select Registry has partnered with travel bloggers to build relationships and to help Select Registry properties gain exposure through their blog posts. Recently Meagan and Stephanie, the co-bloggers from A Friend Afar, paid a visit to us at Spencer House Inn. Based out of the Atlanta area, these two ladies have traveled all over the world and written about everything from the best travel apps to have on your smartphone to the best gifts to give the travel-loving individuals in your life. Their visit to Spencer House Inn was the first part of their trip to St. Marys and Cumberland Island and the feature of their first blog entry about the trip – check it out!

Thank you to Meagan and Stephanie for such a wonderful write-up, and thank you to Renee at Select Registry for coordinating the experience!

(image courtesy of A Friend Afar)

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Orange Hall – A Beautiful Antebellum Home

July 29th, 2014 by Seth

 orange hall

As you drive into St. Marys you will pass a beautiful white house with big Greek columns and a wide staircase leading up to the porch. This home, Orange Hall, is a favorite among both locals and visitors alike. Prized in the antebellum era, Orange Hall’s size and Greek architecture was unprecedented here in Historic St Marys. Architecture aside, the most dominate feature was the number of large sour orange trees which encircled the property during the early years of its life – providing the name Orange Hall.

Reverend Horace Southworth Pratt, a Presbyterian minister, and his father-in-law, John Wood, purchased the property in 1826. Pratt arrived in St. Marys around 1820 to help start a church. Before construction of the home began, Pratt’s wife died.  Pratt remained in St. Marys and remarried a few years later. In 1839, Pratt, a Yale and Princeton graduate, took a position as a professor at the University of Alabama and left Orange Hall behind. General Duncan Lamont Clinch is thought to have been lived there when Pratt left for Alabama. Pratt may have had intentions of returning to Orange Hall, but he would not have the opportunity because he passed away in 1940.

This would lead to the first change in ownership, and more would follow over the years. The property was then sold in public auction in 1846 to James Monigin Smith. Here is the list of known owners over the years:

1846 – James Mongin Smith

1862 – Francis Adams

1869 – Silas Fordham

1911 – Joel Lee Sweat

1919 – James Howard Becker

1933 – S.C. Townsend – converted upper floors to apartments

1951 – St Marys Kraft Corporation – bought to house paper mill employees for 10 years

1965 – City of St. Marys

Rising two stories above ground, Orange Hall sits atop a lower level basement – housing an old dining hall, servants’ quarters, wine cellar, and kitchen. The main floor boasts a music room parlor, study, tiffany dining room, and front parlor, as well as two original chandeliers from the Becker family, residents in the 1920’s. These chandeliers are the only items that have been left behind by owners of the home over the years. However, the chandeliers are not the only pieces of Orange Hall’s history to see here on this floor.

The original Italian marble fireplaces adorn the parlors. These fireplaces are just 2 of 12 located in the house. The second floor is made up of four bedrooms – the Horsehair room, the Children’s room, the Jacquard/Duvall Room, and the Peg-bed room.

Orange Hall was recorded in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. To preserve the historical significance of the property, the exterior was recently renovated. The house has been restored to look just the way that it did when it was built. As you walk up the front steps on to the expansive porch, you can look to your right and see the First Presbyterian Church. This is the same view that Pratt saw as he climbed those steps back in the 1830’s.

Orange Hall Fireplace and Room

Hay Days in St. Marys

October 7th, 2011 by Mckenzie

Do you want to "Build-A-Scarecrow"?

 Hay Days comes to St. Marys every year at the beginning of October. It is a month of fun activities for fall. The main street in St. Marys, Osborne Street, will be decorated for the season with scarecrows from businesses, individuals and organizations. Each year locals have a great time coming up with the most innovative and creative scarecrows. It seems like the “population” in town  has increased with the new residents and there is hay covering everything! It is a fun way to not only get involved with your community but to also get out and enjoy this great weather.

 The annual Hay Days will take place October 8-29th, with numerous events throughout the month in downtown St. Marys, including the “Build-A-Scarecrow” event which takes place Saturday, October 8th. You can build your own scarecrow to take home or put on display downtown. This event is held at Orange Hall and will last from 10am-12pm. When you register, you will receive a “Scarecrow Kit” for $20 ($25 at door, if available) that will contain everything you need to build your own. Registration is encouraged because this activity is limited to the first 50 people. Also, come out and enjoy all the hard work and creative thinking that went into building these scarecrows during the “Scarecrow Stroll” on Tuesday, October 11th from 5 to 7pm. Tuesday night during the Scarecrow Stroll dress up in your best costumes. There will be trick or treating, hay rides and bounce houses.  There will also be a haunted history tour on October 28th from 6 to 9pm. This walking tour includes stops at the Oak Grove cemetery, Submarine Museum, Orange Hall and other stops along the way. October 29th will end the Hay Days but one last event takes place. The inaugural Last Saturday on the Waterfront from 3 to 9pm which will encourage people to visit local businesses in St. Marys. All of these events are great for the whole family. 

The scarecrows will be around town all month long so at anytime you could take your own stroll down Osborne Street to see all the really cool scarecrows. This is such a fun way for everyone to start the fall season, whether you build a  scarecrow or  just stroll down the street to enjoy all of them. The city of St. Marys during Hay Days would put anyone in an “I Love Fall” kind of  mood!

For more information on the St. Marys Hay Days Celebration, contact the St. Marys Downtown Development Authority, (912) 882-8111 or info@stmarysdda.com

St. Marys Mardi Gras

March 6th, 2011 by Seth

We sure had a great time at the St. Marys Mardi Gras Festival on Saturday. The event kicked off with a parade and some great floats at 10am.

As you would expect, there was plenty of “festival food” for lunch. However, one of the most popular options was the Chili Cook-Off.

Bicycle Ride Across Georgia

February 28th, 2011 by Seth

BRAG at the USS GEORGE BANCROFT Sail Exhibit

The Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, or BRAG, just finished their Winter Ride, and the group made a stop in St. Marys for a few nights. They chose St. Marys because of its central location to several of the places that they wanted to visit. Such as

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