By Descendants of Charles Stewart Maurice
Get to know one of Jekyll Island’s architectural treasures—the newly restored Hollybourne Cottage.
Built in 1891, Hollybourne is a Jacobethan-style, two-story property that once belonged to a prominent bridge builder—Charles Stewart Maurice. The cottage is unique since it’s the only one of that era to be constructed with tabby—a concrete mixture of lime, sand, and shell.
Originally, this nine-bedroom living space (12,271 square feet!) accommodated Maurice, his wife, Charlotte, and their nine children. Maurice’s bridgebuilding experience factored into the design: large open rooms on the ground floor, no support beams cluttering the space, and wooden trusses with long steel bolts supporting the second floor.
Cottage and Family History
While the Maurice family lived in the cottage, the house was a gathering place for members of the Jekyll Island Club! There were frequent teas and dinner parties, and Charlotte Maurice, the ever-gracious hostess, kept a menu diary of each event.
Sadly, Charlotte died in 1909 of typhoid fever. But even after Charles’ death in 1924, the family remained loyal Jekyll Island Club members, and daughters Marian and Margaret particularly enjoyed using the cottage every season.
However, in 1947 the state of Georgia bought the entire island through eminent domain. The daughters were so bitter over losing Hollybourne that they not only never returned to the Georgia coast, but also insisted on bypassing the entire state on their winter treks to Florida.
More Recently at Hollybourne
The coming years were not kind to what was once one of the island’s showcase cottages. The house remained empty and fell into disrepair. But in 1998, the Jekyll Island Authority commissioned the Getty Conservation Institute to conduct studies of the house, which resulted in a climate control system to keep further damage at bay.
Since that time, much has happened. The house has served as a learning lab for preservation. Seasonal volunteers, interns, contractors, and preservationists have been working together to stabilize and re-create this amazing historic structure.
In recent years the Maurice family returned to the island and reestablished connections with their old family home. Descendants of Charles and Charlotte Maurice gathered there in 2017 to celebrate the marriage of great-great granddaughter Holly Maurice McClure and Joe Martin. A private dinner at the house during that wedding weekend marked the first time the family had been together in the house since 1942. And the Maurice family’s original dining room table from Hollybourne Cottage was restored for the special occasion.
Although there is still much work to be accomplished, renovations are far enough along for the house to be open occasionally for private and featured tours. Its preservation story is too beautiful not to share. Soon, we hope the cottage will be open to the public on a regular basis—for the very first time.
Will you join the Maurices and the Jekyll Island Foundation in telling the next chapter of the Hollybourne story? To learn how you can help preserve and interpret this historic cottage for public enjoyment, please click here.