Jekyll Island in Glynn County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Up In Smoke
Early in the morning, early in the century, it happened: Solterra caught fire. Built by charter member Frederick Baker in 1890, the house was an emblem of the nineteenth century: proper, discrete, upright. The old century seemed to be going up in smoke.
Many of the house servants and club employees were summoned to assist Mrs. Baker remove what furniture and personal affects they could before the whole building was engulfed in flames.
Apparently it was a faulty flue that caused the fire. Without all of the fire equipment needed for such a blaze, there was nothing left of the house except for a chimney that stood tall above the ashes.
Merchant of Manhattan
City of ships! (O the black ships! O the fierce ships!
O the beautiful sharp-bow’d steam-ships and sail-ships!)
City of the world! (for all races are here,
All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)
City of the sea! City of hurried and glittering tides!
City of Wharves and shores – city of tall facades of marble and iron!
Proud and Passionate city – mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!
Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me
than mast-hemm’d Manhattan?
River and sunset and scallop-edg’d wave of flood-tide?
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of
Amidst the traders, sailors, residents, and immigrants was Frederic Baker. His company, Baker and Williams, a company of warehouses, started in the late 1860’s on Water Street. Soon it grew and included warehouses on West, South, Front, and Laigh Streets, the Manhattan trading center that is now known simply as “Wall Street.” Baker was strictly a businessman until his fifties when he finally wed Frances Emma Steers Lake. Joining the Jekyll Island Club in 1888, they were part of the first group of cottage owners.
A new century, a new cottage
After the fire Mrs. Baker was determined to rebuild. However, her enthusiasm waned and she eventually decided against rebuilding, selling the lot to Richard Teller Crane Jr. His cottage created quite a stir when proposed. It was the largest, most expensive cottage within the club compound. Crane Cottage was outfitted with numerous bathrooms, of course: Mr. Crane was the president of the Crane Company, which specialized in valves and plumbing fixtures.
Erected by Jekyll Island Museum.
Location. 31° 3.603′ N, 81° 25.335′ W. Marker is in Jekyll Island, Georgia, in Glynn County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Old Plantation Road and Hopkins Touch for map. Marker is located at the south end of the Crane Cottage garden, just beyond the fountain, on the walkway to the Jekyll Island Club. Marker is in this post office area: Jekyll Island GA 31527, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Evolution of Elegance (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Preserving the Legacy (about 400 feet away); Brunswick Across the Sound (about 500 feet away); Arriving on This Island (about 500 feet away); The Clubhouse (about 500 feet away); The Active Life (about 500 feet away); Fairbank Cottage Site (about 600 feet away); Men of Means (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jekyll Island.
Also see . . .
1. Crane Cottage Solterra. Crane Cottage (20 rooms; 17 baths) was built in 1916 by Richard Crane of Crane Company at a cost of $500,000.
Solterra, the island home of Frederick Baker, New York banker, was on the site until it burned in 1910. On March 20, 1899, President and Mrs. William McKinley and the President's mentor, Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio, were guests at Solterra. Veiled in secrecy, their visit to Jekyll Island was made to plan McKinley's political future.
At Solterra Andrew Carnegie was honored at an elaborate banquet. Among the guests were Joseph Pulitzer, J.P. Morgan, (Submitted on March 30, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Historic Cottages Adorn the Millionaire's Village. Nestled among the ancient live oaks of Jekyll Island's Historic District are some of the island's true treasures. Not pirate chests gleaming with stolen gold, but beautiful buildings, former homes to some of the most famous (or infamous) men of America's past - historic cottages that once belonged to industrial giants that clawed their way to the top of their fields and became some of the nation's elite millionaires. (Submitted on March 30, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 30, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 392 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on March 30, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.