Jekyll Island in Glynn County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Beach Pavilion
Historic St. Andrews Beach
The Beach Pavilion in front of you opened on September 25, 1955 to great fanfare, as St. Andrews Beach became the first public beach in Georgia to welcome African Americans. Celebrations included a motorcade, dedication ceremony, and music by the Risley High School Band.
Known during segregation as the "Colored Beach House," the pavilion originally had dressing rooms, a concession stand, and a covered picnic area. A man called "Jelly" ran the pavilion's food stand, selling hot dogs and wrapped sandwiches to beach-goers. At the time, soft drinks cost just five cents each.
African Americans often visited the pavilion to listen to music and enjoy a picnic lunch. Locals held parties and danced to the jukebox here. The pavilion remained an important gathering spot for the black community until 1964, when integration made the segregated space unnecessary.
In 2016, the historic pavilion was restored to provide a fun space for recreation in the present. Efforts to preserve this landmark and share the story of St. Andrews Beach have ensured that the legacy of this special place continues alongside modern facilities serving the needs of today's visitors to Jekyll Island.
The site's new facilities offer a variety of engaging experiences on Jekyll Island through the Georgia 4-H. History continues
Jim Bacote was a local youth who remembers time spent at the St. Andrews Beach Pavilion as a coming of age moment.
The pavilion had a jukebox. It played Little Richard singing "Lucille" and "Long Tall Sally," and kids would get together to dance. At that time, he said, boys and girls dancing together amounted to doing "The Twist."
Bacote also remembers line dancing at the pavilion to Al Brown's "The Madison," a popular dance craze of the 1950s and 1960s. Everyone would line up. Blessed with a loud voice, Bacote would call out the steps, shouting: "Two up, two back!"
During fun times like these, Bacote found that he had grown out of the "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" to discover that he liked girls. In fact, his future wife, Pat, worked nearby at the Dolphin Club Lounge!
Erected 2016 by Jekyll Island Authority.
Location. 31° 1.025′ N, 81° 25.567′ W. Marker is in Jekyll Island, Georgia, in Glynn County. Marker can be reached from South Beachview Drive 2.3 miles from Jekyll Island Causeway (Georgia Route 520), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Dolphin Motor Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dolphin Club Lounge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Beach Access (about 300 feet away); St. Andrews Beach (about 500 feet away); Separate But Equal? (about 500 feet away); What Was Here Before? (approx. 2.3 miles away); Jekyll Island Boat House Site, Shipshape for the Season (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Boat House Site (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jekyll Island.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Historic St. Andrews Beach
Also see . . . Segregation on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
In 1955 a beach pavilion was constructed on the south end of Jekyll. The structure, called the Negro Beach House, was one of only a few places in the South where a black person could spend leisure time near the beach. (Submitted on March 17, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Parks & Recreational Areas •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 24, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 17, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 17, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.