Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

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

Machen Square East

City of Brunswick

 
 
Machen Square East Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
1. Machen Square East 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.

A Dramatic Neighbor
Maritime and industrial prosperity inspired a wave of civic improvement in Brunswick during the 1880s. In 1899, a new red brick and stone Grand Opera House (above) was built on the same as Machen Square. The “castle wall” roofline was as dramatic as the performance inside. A row of shops extended along the theater’s street frontage. Push cart vendors sold ice cream and other treats to theater-goers in Machen Square East during the summer months.

In the mid-1920s, the Grand Opera House was sold and transformed into an Art Deco-style movie palace, renamed the Ritz Theater (below).The roof extensions were removed to create a square façade, and a cascading glass sign was installed. When the building
Machen Square East Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
2. Machen Square East Marker
fell into disrepair, the City of Brunswick rescued the structure in 1980 and began a long restoration process. Today, the Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association is based at the Ritz Theater, and offers community arts, education and entertainment programs. Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association.

A Growing Skyline
A 1920s view of downtown Brunswick (below) shows a rapidly expanding , modern city. The Oglethorpe Hotel and the smokestack of its power-generating plant dominate the skyline. The original diagonal walkway through Machen Square East can be clearly seen from above. Photo courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection, gly240.

Best View in Town
For many years, the “pocket parks” along Newcastle Street served as prime viewing areas for a small-town favorite activity-parades. Through the years, citizens of Brunswick enjoyed watching processions of everything from sailors and W.A.V.E.S. from NAS Glynco (top) to smiling beauty queens pass by Machen Square. Parade photos courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.

Total Transformation
In 2011, Signature Squares of Brunswick began the ambitious task of creating a beautiful park in Machen Square East. All previous paving and plant materials
(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.
were removed and replaced. A unique fountain containing pieces of the reclaimed façade of the National Bank of Brunswick was installed. Authentic rose varieties that were popular in the 19th century were added in the late summer to represent unity of the old and the new in blooming harmony.

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 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 2011 by Signature Squares of Brunswick.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed
(Left Top Right): The Ritz Theatre 1958 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
4. (Left Top Right): The Ritz Theatre 1958
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.
in this topic list: Notable Places. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco series list.
 
Location. 31° 8.989′ N, 81° 29.725′ W. Marker is in Brunswick, Georgia, in Glynn County. Marker is on Newcastle Street (U.S. 25) north of Gloucester Street, on the right when traveling north. 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. Bernice Echols Grant (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Machen Square East (a few steps from this marker); Machen Square West (within shouting distance of this marker); Jekyll Square East (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jekyll Square West (about 500 feet away); Brunswick's "Liberty Ships" (about 700 feet away); World War II Memorial (about 700 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 . . .  Signature Squares of Brunswick. (Submitted on September 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
 
(Left Bottom): Downtown Brunswick in the 1920s image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
5. (Left Bottom): Downtown Brunswick in the 1920s
Photo courtesy of Georgia Achieves, Vanishing Georgia Collection, gly240.
(Top Middle):Downtown parade featuring sailors and W.A.V.E.S.in 1940s image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
6. (Top Middle):Downtown parade featuring sailors and W.A.V.E.S.in 1940s
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association
( Middle Center): Smiling Beauty Queens pass by Machen Square 1950s image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
7. ( Middle Center): Smiling Beauty Queens pass by Machen Square 1950s
Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association.
(Middle Bottom): Machen Park East before renovation image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
8. (Middle Bottom): Machen Park East before renovation
.Photo courtesy of Signature Squares of Brunswick
(Right Top) Machen Square East during renovation image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
9. (Right Top) Machen Square East during renovation
Photo courtesy of Signature Squares of Brunswick
(Right Center) Renovation of Machen Square upon completion image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
10. (Right Center) Renovation of Machen Square upon completion
Photo courtesy of Signature Squares of Brunswick
(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 sign image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, August 23, 2020
12. Machen Square sign
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 54 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.   7, 8, 9. submitted on September 10, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.   10, 11, 12. submitted on September 17, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Jan. 27, 2021