fort frederica is st. simons most visited historic attraction. this fort and fortified town was established by general james oglethorpe in 1736. fort frederica was built to protect the british georgia colony from spanish attack. in 1742 the british defeated the spanish in the battle of bloody marsh at st. simon island. pictured is the last remaining tabby building of the fort.
Even if you don't want to climb the lighthouse (which I did not), you can still get a lot out of the museum and it is less expensive if you don't also want to climb the lighthouse. The museum is in the former Lighthouse Keeper's House. In the museum are rooms set up to be as they were when the lighthouse keeper was in residence, and other exhibits related to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse keeper's house served as a home for the lighthouse keepers from 1872 until 1950 when, following the complete automation of the lighthouse in 1953, the last lighthouse keeper, David O'Hagan, retired... In 2004, the lighthouse was deeded to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under the Lighthouse Preservation Act
Hours of Operation
Monday thru Saturday 10a.m. - 5p.m.
Sunday 1:30p.m. - 5p.m.
The Lighthouse closes at 4:45p.m. every day. The last climb to the top of the tower is at 4:30p.m. You will probably need 30-45 minutes for a complete tour of the Museum and Lighthouse.
St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum
$6.00 Adult (over 12 years of age)
$3.00 Children (6-12 years of age
Five and Under Free
Fort Frederica has
* A 23 minute park film
* Museum area with artifacts (some artifacts in photo 5)
* Self guided explorations
The sign titled "Tavernkeeper and Doctor" which is about the foundation shown in photo 4 says: " This ruin represents two houses which may have shared a common wall, much like English row houses of the period. The houses stood on adjacent lots. Unfortunately for the families who lived here, it was too close for comfort.
In this case it was the doctor (Thomas Hawkins who would not administer "one dose of physic to any poor person, but refused unless paid...") and his family that were the problem - not Samuel Davison who operated a tavern and made gunstocks.
The sign notes that Thomas Hawkins "was frequently embroiled in lawsuits. His wife, Bentre, was not noted for hospitality. In this house she threatened to kill the Reverend John Wesley with a pair of scissors and a pistol. Wesley escaped, but only after Mrs. Hawkins shredded the sleeve of his cassock with her teeth"
Additional information on my Fort Frederica page.
The Visitor Center is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week
$3.00 per person, children 15 and under are free
Frederica was named for Frederick, Prince of Wales, the name was feminized to distinguish it from Fort Frederick in South Carolina
The timeline of the fort
1736 Battery of cannon are mounted and road is built.
Oct. 23, 1739 England declares war on Spain. Commonly called the War of Jenkins Ear.
April 15, 1741 The Trustees divide Georgia into two counties, Savannah, with William Stephens as executive and Frederica, with James Oglethorpe as executive
July 7, 1742 Battle of Bloody Marsh
March 22, 1743 The magazine at Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island explodes.
May 29, 1749 Oglethorpe's regiment at Frederica is disbanded
May 26, 1936 Fort Frederica becomes part of the National Parks System
The St. Simons Lighthouse is actually the second lighthouse for St. Simons. The First was built in 1807 and destroyed by retreating Confederates during the Civil War. The Second, and current structure was built after the war in 1872. In addition to the Lighthouse, there is also a small Keepers House adjacent.
The Coast Guard still maintains the light. Visitors can climb to the top and enjoy the view of St. Simons from above.
Fort Frederica is an old English fort established in the mid 1700's to help the English establish their dominance in North America and serve as a protection against the Spanish and French to the south and west. Originally established by Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah, Frederica was his favorite town. The Military base grew into a small town. The military was called on several times to defend the English claim to North America. In the Battle of Bloody Marsh, a few miles south of Frederica, the Spanish were defeated. Unfortunately, with the British Victory there was no need for a large Garrison at Frederica and with the departure of the soldiers went the city as well.
There are quite a bit of ruins here, mostly foundations but parts of the fort and barracks also remain. Lots of artifacts have been found as well. The Size of the town can be felt with the excavations and the layout of the streets which are still visible.
Sea Island is a high-end real-estate development located along the eastern shore of St Simon's Island. If you need to ask how much these houses cost, then they're too much. There is also a posh resort here.
James Oglethorpe's chaplain Charles Wesley in began a church here in 1736. Years later, the Wesleys returned to England. But after that, John Wesley began the Methodist Movement here. During the Civil War, the church was destroyed. The present Episcopal church was built in1884 by Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., in memory of his wife.
St Simon's Island has a beautiful lighthouse, built in 1872, that offers some great views. At the base of the lighthouse is the Museum of Coastal History, a modest but interesting museum dealing with the area. It also has an exhibit on the early lighthouse keepers.
In the summer of 1742, Spain invaded the British colony of Georgia. The governor, General James Oglethorpe, led the local forces on the battlefield now known as Bloody Marsh. Here, they defeated the Spanish in one of the most decisive, yet obscure victories ever fought in America.
This is where the Georgia colony began. James Oglethorpe took charge, and defended the colony against the Spanish, who controlled Florida. Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh, fought on St Simon's Island. The remains of the old fort and battlefield are still visible. One can see that General Oglethorpe chose his site well; the main fort has a commanding view of the nearby channel, in both directions.
This is the site of both a fort and a town. You can see a substantial part of the battlements, the street pattern and the foundations of many buildings. This was sort of the boundary between the British and the Spanish in the 18th C and was even called the debatable land because of the dispute over ownership. The fort was established in 1736 to guard Georgia's southern frontier. The troops were commanded by Gen. Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah and Georgia. It was only about 5 miles from here that his troops won a decisive battle over the Spanish at Bloody Marsh (so named because of the carnage of the battle). In its heyday Frederica was a substantial town of seventy houses but died when peace came and the garrison was disbanded. There is a lot of helpful information on site and some amusing stories about the inhabitants.
This is an early (1730s) congregation of Anglicans but is a shrine for Methodists as the church was founded by John and Charles Wesley and before the first church was built they used to hold services on this site under what Methodists call "the Wesley Oak." The tree is no longer standing but there is a garden across the road dedicated to the Wesleys which is a nice area in the woods and worth a walk over, especially in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom. I wonder how the current Episcopalians feel about their church being constantly invaded by Methodists?
This Sculpture was made by Keith Jennings in the fall and winter of 1995. In February of 1984 an expidition was launched from St. Simons Island which discovered the calving grounds of the North Atlantic Right Whale. The mothers give birth in near by coastal waters in the winter months. The calves and their mothers are in great danger and many die from collitions with ocean vessels, other die from unknown reasons, there are fewer than 300 left. The artist fashioned this sculpture to raise awareness, and try to save the few remaining.
If you stay on St Simons Island you must go to Jekyll Island and see Driftweood Beach. It is a site to see. Go south on route 17 and make a left to go to Jekyll Island, pay the $3.00 toll, make a left onto riverview drive and a few miles up on the left park you car and walk toward the beach, you will not be disappointed, make sure you bring your camera and plently of film!
The beaches here are beautiful and long, 6 miles long! You need to be careful swimming though, very strong currents. The sand is very hard so don't look for a soft patch of sand, you won't find it here. So bring a chair!