By Allison Dupuis, JIA Museum Educator
The story of Hollybourne Cottage began in 1890 when Charles Stewart Maurice, one of the original members of the Jekyll Island Club, chose a plot of land for his family’s winter residence. Maurice’s personality and interests were evident in Hollybourne’s very construction. Maurice was a partner in Pennsylvania’s Union Bridge Company, and he incorporated bridge-building techniques into Hollybourne. The brick piers in the basement, steel support system, and truss system that supports the second floor are all examples of Maurice’s techniques.
Hollybourne’s construction incorporated a mixture of its owner’s passion for his work and his newfound enthusiasm for his family’s winter vacation home. Hollybourne is the only cottage in the Jekyll Island Club compound to be built out of tabby, a local mixture of sand, water, lime, and oyster shells, reflecting Charles’s and his wife Charlotte’s interests in the history and culture of the area. The Maurices’ personal investment in Jekyll Island’s history led them to spearhead the restoration of Horton House and the Dubignon cemetery in 1898. Charlotte died in 1909 and Charles died in 1924, but their family’s Jekyll Island story didn’t end there. Their nine children, especially their daughters Margaret and Marion, were similarly devoted to Jekyll Island, and spent every winter season at Hollybourne Cottage until the Club’s final season in 1942.
Hollybourne sat empty and in a state of disrepair for several decades. Beginning in 1998, however, the cottage became an ongoing preservation project for the Jekyll Island Authority and a host of volunteers. Most recently, volunteers and preservationists spent several months restoring and preserving Hollybourne’s windows. Holllybourne’s present as an ongoing preservation project, as well as its past as a home for a family focused on the preservation of Jekyll Island, make it a perfect destination for this May’s annual celebration of Preservation Month. Visitors can see the family and servant areas of the cottage and observe the preservation process in action or take part in programs that highlight Historic Preservation Month, like family history programs and an outline of international design at the Jekyll Island Club.