The First Conservationists?
Northern Money and Lowcountry Georgia, 1866-1930
Most of the barrier islands along the Georgia coast are protected and undeveloped. Although not generally recognized by many, the conservation of much of coastal Georgia began in the years following the Civil War when six of the eight major sea islands were purchased by wealthy Northerners, including the famous Jekyll Island Club. The islands passed to succeeding generations of private owners, many in the same families that acquired them from 1866 on, until the modern-day conservation movement for the coast began in the 1950s. Because of the protected private ownership of the islands through the years, they are now managed and administered by federal or state entities or private foundations.
A lecture by coastal historian Buddy Sullivan based on his published monograph The First Conservationists? Northern Money and Lowcountry Georgia, analyzes this evolution from private ownership to protected status of the islands, as well as the overall influence of Northern wealth on the economy and landscape of tidewater Georgia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sullivan argues that while the postwar owners of the islands were largely unaware of "conservation" in the modern sense, their ecological awareness precipitated a conscious desire to protect them and prevent their development by resort and residential interests.
This lecture is free for members of the Historical Society.
A $5 donation is requested from non-members.