Building a Home to Last
— Jekyll Island —
(Left text)William Horton worked and lived
on this island until his death in 1748. He made numerous improvements to the land, unfortunately many of these buildings have been lost to time, and hidden by the sandy soil.
Horton completed the tabby building that you see today about 1743. It was his second home on the island. The original wooden home was burned by Spanish troops in 1742 after their defeat on St. Simons Island at the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
The second home was simple but very spacious for Horton, his wife Rebecca and two children. Similar in nearly every aspect as the wooden home, the new tabby home featured chimneys on either end, two rooms on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor. There was also a lovely balcony off the back of the home. From this balcony William and Rebecca were likely able to view their flourishing homestead that included a fine kitchen garden, barns, malt-house, brew-house and overseer's home.
(Center text)Tabby was a logical choice
for Horton's new home, as it was a great deal sturdier than wood, and included a material that was widely available on Jekyll Island - oyster shell. Tabby is created by mixing oyster shells with sand, water and lime, and widely used in the coastal communities of South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida.
(Right text)Historic Preservation
It was in 1898 that members of the Jekyll Island Club realized the importance of this building and stabilized it. They rebuilt the north wall and recoated the building with stucco.
Why is some of this building orange? This is from the most recent preservation effort in 2002 that was completed on the historic ruin. The orange color is where a modern finish of stucco was applied to the structure. Stucco is a material that was historically used in all tabby buildings. This material protects the tabby from the harsh sub-tropical environment. The modern stucco is orange because we know that this material was made using local sand, which would have given the original finish a more orange look. As the stucco ages it will bleach out and become a paler, creamy color. If you look closely at the building you will notice several older layers of stucco on the building.
Remember, this building is over 250 years old - please do not scratch or pick at the building materials. With your help we hope that the house will continue to stand for another 250 years so that future visitors can also enjoy the site.