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Hollybourne Cottage Open for Rare Tours in May

Apr 26 2013

by Jekyll Island

In honor of Historic Preservation Month, the Jekyll Island Museum staff will offer special behind-the-scenes tours of Hollybourne every Saturday in May. This rare look into Jekyll Island’s past affords guests the opportunity to imagine the building as it once appeared and to learn about the family that considered this island home.

Hollybourne was built in 1890 for Charles Stewart Maurice, a pioneer in iron bridge construction who built many major landmarks across the nation. His magnificent Jekyll Island cottage is an architectural wonder in its own right, having been significantly influenced by Maurice’s background in bridge engineering.

Tours of this spectacular cottage will take guests through the remarkable leaded glass doors of into the main foyer. Guests will also be allowed explore many rooms in the home, including the front parlor, the dining room, the gunroom, the kitchen, and even the butler’s pantry. Of course, tour guides will be on hand to discuss the unique design of the cottage, as well as provide information about ongoing efforts to save and restore the building.

Hollybourne is unique from other preserved Jekyll Island properties in the Historic District, as it has not been extensively restored or provided a furnished interior. Instead, its beauty has been gradually unveiled year by year through the persistent efforts of the Jekyll Island Museum.

Slowly during the last 15 years, staff, interns, and volunteers have worked to stabilize the cottage and make it accessible on a limited basis. Dick Tennyson heads up a team that works with the museum to preserve the cottage. In recent months, Tennyson and his group of volunteers have restored the main floor in the parlor and the dining room. They have bolstered sagging floor joists, salvaged original floorboards, and replaced what original pieces could not be save. On the second floor, they have likewise revitalized the floor and woodwork with a beautiful linseed oil finish.

These devoted restoration efforts are part of an ongoing attempt to preserve the much-loved winter retreat of the Maurice family. From January to April every year, the Mr. and Mrs. Maurice, along with their nine children, explored Jekyll Island’s simple pleasures, participating in a slew of activities, from bicycling, painting and birding, to croquet and golf. They took part in an untold number of brunches at the elegant tea house, dined on gourmet meals at the Jekyll Island Club, and lunched on afternoon picnics at the beach. And of course, they made plenty of time to attend cocktails parties, evening danced and nighttime stargazing.

Don’t miss this opportunity to discover this one-of-a-kind cottage, which typically closed to the public. Tours depart from the Jekyll Island Museum every Saturdays in May. Admission is $10 for Adults, $8 for Children ages 7 to 15, and free for children under the age of 6. For tickets and details, please call the Jekyll Island Museum at 912.635.4036 or click here.

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