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Visit Gascoigne Bluff in St. Simons Island Georgia

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Overlooking the Frederica River, this area was a favorite Native American campground. The landing at the bluff became Georgia's first naval base. It bears the name of Gascoigne, who first surveyed the GA coast for England.
Oaks, cedars, and shrubs dominate the bluff, who features a small park and Epworth By The Sea Methodist Conference Center. Tour the beautiful woodlands, gardens, slave cabins, and Methodist retreat and museum. A Georgia champion southern red cedar (Juniperus salicicola) is found here, with a 15.5-foot circumference, 60-foot height, and 74-foot crownspread. Bird watchers should look for gray kingbirds during the summer and white ibis during winter.

Originally an Indian settlement, Gascoigne's Bluff, pronounced "Gas´ co-neeze," was named for Captain James Gascoigne, commander of the man-of-war Hawk, which convoyed the two ships bringing settlers to Fort Frederica in 1736, including John and Charles Wesley and German Salzburgers and Moravians. Gascoigne established the headquarters for Georgia's naval forces here along with a plantation. It was at this site that Spaniards landed during their unsuccessful invasion of Georgia during the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1742.

Today, the bluff has many beautiful old Live Oaks, but none as old as the ones that were cut on the island in 1794 and sent to shipyards in the North to build the first vessel of the U.S. Navy. Trees that grew near here supplied the sturdy lumber used in the famed American warship, USS Constitution, or Old Ironsides. When the ship was restored in 1927, many of the original live oak timbers were considered sound enough to last another half century.

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
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.

Epworth-By-The-Sea is located on Sea Island Causeway and is a Methodist Conference Center that is also home to many of St. Simons Island's historic sites.

Nearby Gascoigne's Bluff, named after Captain James Gascoigne who brought settlers to St. Simons Island Georgia, was the site of the Spanish invasion during the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1742.

In the late 1700s, live oaks from this area were cut down and used to build the first ship of the United States Navy and the USS Constitution or Old Ironsides. Hamilton Plantation, described by Fanny Kemble as "by far the finest place on the island," developed here in 1793.

After the Civil War, the plantation became the center of lumber mill operations in St. Simons. As the lumber industry declined on the island, so did the state of the plantation; so in 1927 Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Lewis purchased Hamilton in order to restore the plantation.

The main house had burned down in 1885 so the Lewises lived in a house built during the mill era. In 1949, the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church purchased Hamilton Plantation. Since then, the conference center has been responsible for maintaining the area's lovely history. It was given its new name after Epworth, England, the birthplace of Charles and John Wesley, founders of Methodism.
Address
Address: Arthur J. Moore Drive, St. Simons Island Georgia 31522
Lane Chapel at Gascoigne Bluff in St. Simons Island GA


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