While we’re not sure where the Rockefellers are spending their winters these days, around a hundred years ago it was a no-brainer: at Indian Mound Cottage, nestled on a little-known island off the coast of Georgia.
Jekyll Island was the wintertime retreat for William Rockefeller and company, and Indian Mound was their home away from home. Indian Mound Cottage remains a symbol of American opulence enjoyed by the wealthiest oil tycoons, bankers and businessmen during the early 1900s. The three-story cottage, originally built in 1892 for Gordon McKay, was purchased by William Rockefeller (of Standard Oil notoriety) in 1905.
Rockefeller was one of the founding members of the Jekyll Island Club: an exclusive group of the wealthiest individuals in the United States at the time, with aristocratic ranks including U.S. Steel’s J.P. Morgan, railroad mogul William Vanderbilt, and newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, among many others. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel, the former clubhouse of the Jekyll Island elite, is now a popular resort located just 500 feet from Indian Mound’s front door.
Today, Indian Mound Cottage has changed very little from its original state, and the Jekyll Island Museum has done an outstanding job maintaining the historic property. According to the Jekyll Island Foundation’s website, a twenty-three month, $280,000 restoration brought Indian Mound back to life, both inside and out. Extensive care has been taken to preserve every aspect of the structure’s original form and appearance-a testament to the dedication of the Jekyll Island Museum toward maintaining the 19th century allure of Indian Mound.
Luckily, we were able to view the property during the holiday season, getting a glimpse of what Christmas may have looked like in the westside living room some one-hundred years ago-minus the rails, of course.
Tours of Indian Mound Cottage, as well as other properties located in the historic district and maintained by the Jekyll Island Museum, are available on a daily basis. For more information on tour times contact the Jekyll Island Museum at (912) 635-4036.