Brunswick's story begins four years before the British victory against the Spanish troops in the battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek. The year 1738 is when the area's first European settler, Mark Carr, arrived. Upon landing, this captain in Oglethorpe's company, established his 1,000-acre Tobacco plantation, which he called "Plug Point", along the Turtle River. Carr owned "Plug Point" until the Royal Province of Georgia purchased the land just before the American Revolution in 1771.
Brunswick was founded in 1771 and the layout of the town proper followed, in a plan similiar to the one Oglethorpe dictated for Savannah. Delineated squares and parks in a grid style abutted the Brunswick River. In a proper British manner, names of the parks and streets honored those of English fame. Thus, today visitors and residents alike struggle with the pronunciation of Gloucester, puzzle over Halifax, and wonder at Newcastle and Norwich. But those in charge of naming reached further than just the British Isles when they borrowed from George II’s ancestral home in Braunsweig, Germany.
Brunswick’s growth through the years was slow and extended on a north-south axis. The Old Town National Historic Register district begins at the intersection of Gloucester and Newcastle Street. Old City Hall, (1889) accented with its clock tower, anchors the south end of Newcastle Street. The north end of Newcastle boasts the Ritz Theatre, built in 1898 as the Grand Old Opera House. Throughout the town, markers tell the colorful and important history, both American and Georgian, of this seaport town. George Washington proclaimed it as one of the five original ports of entry for the colonies in 1789.
Following the Civil War, the wealth in naval stores and timber created a building boom. Both businesses and residential homes reflected a Victorian architectural character. With the diversity of her population, the different styles of the period reflect Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Richardson Romanesque, Folk Victorian, Colonial Revival, Tudor, Italian Renaissance, Prairie, Stick, and Craftsman. An emporium of architectural styles, Brunswick is a town in which to stroll under her magnificent oaks and enjoy the splendor of these early homes.
World War II broke the tranquility of this seaside town. With the war came a call for workers. And they came both male and female to build and launch over 99 Liberty ships from the J.A. Jones Shipyard in a two-year effort from 1943 to 1945, including seven in one month. These ships were an integral part of the American war effort.
After the war, the importance of her harbor and port continued. The City of Brunswick continues its’ long history as a sea-faring city. Shrimp boats from up and down the coast came to call; today container ships arrive on a regular basis at the deep-water terminals at Mayor’s Point, Colonel’s Island and Marine Point to unload or take on cargo. To watch two huge containers ships pause as they pass each other off St. Simons is a treat. Likewise, to venture forth in a small boat on these coastal waters provides welcome escape from mainland cares. Discover our harbor, watch the sunset, and take the time to fish from a pier. A sea breeze and the vista are sure to cure all cares.
[Looking down the harbor |1902 | Vanishing Georgia collection]