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Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Machen Square West

 

— City of Brunswick —

 
Machen Square West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
1. Machen Square West Marker
Inscription.  
Machen Square originally called “Machen Place,” is the northernmost of the original colonial squares along Newcastle Street. For the century of the city’s existence, there was little development on either side of Machen Square. In the 1880s, landmark structures were built adjacent to and near Machen Square, and its importance in the city’s history was permanently established.

The Masterpiece on Machen Square
A business boom inspired Brunswick business and community leader, Major Columbia Downing, to charter the National Bank of Brunswick in 1884. Alfred Eichberg, architect for Historic City Hall on Queen Square designed the bank building on Machen Square in the popular Richardson-Romanesque revival style. The top two floors housed offices of several prominent local attorneys. Postcard (above) courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.

The Grand Lady of Downtown
In 1888, Brunswick celebrated the opening of the magnificent Oglethorpe Hotel on the block adjacent to Machen Square west. Guests coming to the famed Jekyll Island Club often spent their
Machen Square West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
2. Machen Square West Marker
first night on the Georgia coast in the Oglethorpe Hotel, awaiting the next ferryboat to the private island resort. The hotel helped to establish Brunswick as a prime winter tourism location, and became the center of social activities for the city. Postcard (above) courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.

A New Look
In 1958, the bank on Machen Square changed its name to the First National Bank of Brunswick, and sold the building to the S.H. Kress Corporation, which operated a retail store adjacent to the bank. Both structures were demolished and combined into one, with a porcelain-enamel façade on the Newcastle Street frontage. Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.

Loss of a Legend
The city lost another landmark in 1958 when owners of the Oglethorpe Hotel could no longer afford upkeep and repairs to the aging structure. To the dismay of many Brunswick citizens, the hotel was demolished and replaced by a three-story motel. Photos (above) courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.

Reclaimed Treasures
Brunswick resident Huling Tower Armstrong and his wife Katharine (left) saved some of the Oglethorpe Hotel’s lovely Italian marble tiles from the dining room before demolition. Their daughter Katharine
(Left Center): National Bank of Brunswick 1884 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
3. (Left Center): National Bank of Brunswick 1884
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.
Armstrong Clark, son Richard Armstrong and his wife Martha donated the tiles to Signature Squares to honor their parents’ memory. Today, these tiles, engraved with the names of preservation supporters, are a permanent part of Machen Square. Photo courtesy of Richard and Martha Armstrong, and Katharine Armstrong Clark.

A Return to Beauty
Machen Square West was given a new life in 2012 when local citizens volunteered hundreds of hours to beautify the formerly neglected park. Here, crossing walkways and balanced plantings provide a lovely place to enjoy another green space as originally envisioned by the city’s founders. Photos courtesy of Jerry Spencer, ALA, and Troup Nightingale, Southeastern Photography.

In 1771, the city of Brunswick. Georgia was laid out according to "the Oglethorpe Plan," named after the colony's founder. General James Edward Oglethorpe. The design featured a grid of 14 large and small squares. The intention of the plan was to create permanent, park-like common areas throughout the city. The squares still bear their original names, which reveal Brunswick's strong historic ties to England.

Signature Squares of Brunswick, a non-profit organization founded to restore and preserve the parks and squares within the historic district of Brunswick, gratefully acknowledges
(Left Top Right): Oglethorpe Hotel 1900 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
4. (Left Top Right): Oglethorpe Hotel 1900
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.
the research contributions of Mia Knight Nichols and the support of the City of Brunswick: Delong-Sweet Foundation: The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc., Magnolia Garden Club; Jekyll Island Authority; Friends of Coastal Georgia History: Downtown Development Authority; Plum Creek Foundation; Jerry Spencer, ASLA, Landscape Architect.

 
Erected 2008 by Signature Squares of Brunswick.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings.
 
Location. 31° 8.986′ N, 81° 29.743′ W. Marker is in Brunswick, Georgia, in Glynn County. Marker is on Newcastle Street (U.S. 25) south of F Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brunswick GA 31520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Machen Square East (within shouting distance of this marker); Bernice Echols Grant (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Machen Square East (within shouting distance of this marker); Jekyll Square West (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jekyll Square East (about 600 feet away); Brunswick's "Liberty Ships" (about 600 feet away); World War II Memorial (about 600 feet away); Dedicated to the Veterans of 1898 -1902 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brunswick.
 
Also see . . .
(Left Middle): S.H. Kress Retail Store 1960s image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
5. (Left Middle): S.H. Kress Retail Store 1960s
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association
 Signature Squares of Brunswick. (Submitted on September 4, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
 
(Top Right Middle):  Historic Oglethorpe demolished 1958 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
6. (Top Right Middle): Historic Oglethorpe demolished 1958
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association
(Middle Right Center): Hotel Oglethorpe replaced with a three-story motel 1960s image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
7. (Middle Right Center): Hotel Oglethorpe replaced with a three-story motel 1960s
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.
(Middle Right Bottom): Huling Tower & Katharine Armstrong image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
8. (Middle Right Bottom): Huling Tower & Katharine Armstrong
Photo courtesy of Richard and Martha Armstrong and Katharine Armstrong Clark
(Right Top) Renovating Machen Square West - Before image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
9. (Right Top) Renovating Machen Square West - Before
Photo courtesy of Jerry Spencer, ALA and Troup Nightingale.
(Right Center) Renovating Machen Square West - After Renovation image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
10. (Right Center) Renovating Machen Square West - After Renovation
Photo courtesy of Jerry Spencer, ALA and Troup Nightingale..
(Bottom Right): 1771 Town Plat “the Oglethorpe Plan” image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
11. (Bottom Right): 1771 Town Plat “the Oglethorpe Plan”
In 1771, the city of Brunswick, Georgia was laid out according to “the Oglethorpe plan,” named after the colony’s founder, General James Edward Oglethorpe . The design featured a grid of 14 large and 14 small squares. The intention of the plan was to create permanent, park-like common areas throughout the city. The squares still bear their original names, which reveal Brunswick’s strong historic ties to England.
Machen Square West sign image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
12. Machen Square West sign
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 4, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 4, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.   7, 8, 9. submitted on September 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.   10, 11, 12. submitted on September 9, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Jan. 27, 2021