The Secrets of Gascoigne Bluff

St. Simons Island, Georgia

SLAVE CABIN  SANDY JONES
Tabby Slave Cabin.

Overlooking the Frederica River, Gascoigne Bluff was a favorite Native American campground. In the 16th century a Franciscan monastery, San Buenaventura, was built near this site.

During colonial days the landing at the bluff became Georgia's first naval base and bears the name of the man, Gascoigne, who first surveyed the Georgia coast for England.

When the Spanish fleet sailed up from St. Augustine to attack Oglethorpe's settlement at Fort Frederica, they landed here at Gascoigne.

During the Plantation Era, sea island long staple cotton was shipped to ports around the world from the Hamilton Plantation dock at Gascoigne. Exports stopped during the Civil War when the bluff became United States Navy Headquarters

In the years following that war, life at Gascoigne took on renewed vigor as a sawmill industry flourished on the riverbanks. Live Oaks growing on St. Simons were cut and milled at Gascoigne for the U.S.S.Constitution- "Old Ironsides" so named because of the nearly impenetrable strength of the Live Oak timber. St. James Union Church, now called Lovely Lane Chapel, was built in 1880 by the Dodge family for the Gascoigne mill community.

LOVELY LANE CHAPEL  SANDY JONES
Lovely Lane Chapel

The first St. Simons Post Office was established at the mills. Mail was delivered daily from Brunswick in a small rowboat. This post office served the island until the Pier Village post office was opened in 1912. The first telephone and telegraph service on St. Simons was established at Gascoigne Bluff in 1878 to connect the mills to Brunswick and from there to the rest of the world.

GASCOIGNE SUNSET  SANDY JONES
Gascoigne Sunset


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More on Coastal Georgia:
  • St. Simons Island
  • Coastal Georgia Destinations
  • Christ Church, Frederica
  • Eugenia Price, St. Simons Author
  • Sapelo Island Sojourn
  • Visitor Center Information
  • The Georgia-Sea Island Singers

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