Sea Island Company in 1924 purchased an island abutting the Atlantic Ocean. Their contest to name it did not consider previous names: Fifth Creek Island, Isle of Palms, Long Island, Glynn Isle and Sea Island Beach. Instead the island was dubbed Sea Island.
The building of a causeway in 1924, leading to St. Simons Island and in turn Sea Island made possible the development of the island. Likewise, the right time and place saw the arrival of a wealthy northerner who wanted to develop a resort. With incredible ability, Howard Coffin, as he had done in the manufacturing of cars by his Hudson Automobile Company, directed the building of the Cloister and surrounding buildings.
Designed by Addison Mizner, the hotel represented the popular Spanish Revival period. Opening in 1928 before the depression, thousands motored over from the mainland. Received with accolades, the new hotel was a favorite of locals and visitors alike from its beginning.
Then, through the years, Coffin’s cousin Alfred Jones, his son Bill and grandson Bill III carried on leadership of the legendary property and company. A 2001 expansion saw the erection of the Lodge on the Sea Island Golf Course. It quickly reaped the hotel industry’s top prizes, as have the golf pros that have represented the company. In 2004, Sea Island was chosen to host the G8 Summit because of its remote, easily secured location and luxurious accommodations.
The island residents and visitors have found the ambience of the island such that they have returned often and many times purchased homes. Legendary oaks, planted when dignitaries visited, are a roll call of the famous.
[Photograph of an aerial view of The Cloister, Sea Island, Glynn County, Georgia, 1930 I Vanishing Georgia collection]