by Amy Hedrick
To me, this is one of the most intriguing, and beautiful homes, straight out of a scary movie. According to local "ghost stories" this is the most haunted house on Jekyll Island and is the only one yet to be renovated. Apparently, the ghosts of the Maurice women will not allow construction to start or finish. Many attempts have been made to restore this beautiful home but every time something gets hung up or repaired, the next day it is found destroyed, and sometimes laying in the yard somewhere.
Is this true you say? Personally, I don't know, but if you look at the house you can almost feel the desolation and despair its former owners felt when they were pushed off the island.
Built in 1890 by Charles Stewart Maurice, this home housed the only family to be associated with the Jekyll Island Club from its inception to its final dissolution in 1948. The style was coined Jacobean or pseudo-Jacobean, it was an early example of an eclectic Tudor style built from about 1890 until 1940. There are Flemish gables, paired chimney flues, and patterned stone work. Interestingly enough, this is the only house built during the club era with the island's native tabby, the same tabby that the Horton House was built with. The home was also built with a steel support system, solid base of 19 brick piers in the basement, and a system of trusses to help distribute the weight and support the living and dining room ceilings without the use of beams.
On the first floor of the cottage was a dining room, parlor, hall, butler's pantry, gun room, store room, lavatory, pot closet, kitchen, servant's dining room and their porch. Off of the side of the home was a large porch, which only the foundation and outline remain today.
The second floor had 9 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, five of the bedrooms were large, and located at the front of the house, and the other four bedrooms were small, three of which were for servants, located at the back of the house. Off to one side of the home is a sunken foundation, many people believe was a swimming pool, but it isn't. This was area was used to hang up laundry, it was sunken in the ground, so that your unmentionables would not be on display for the neighborhood. You can see it in the bottom right of this photo.
The house was finally completed in December of 1890, and the Maurice family arrived on December 16th that same year. They stayed every single year since with the exception of 1894 and 1895 due to a yellow fever epidemic.
With the breakout of World War II, the island was closed to visitors, and the Maurice family were denied access to their beloved Hollybourne. Due to the lack of residents, many of the homes fell to disrepair, and the state looked into condemning the island to make it into a state park. The Maurice family were outraged, they didn't want to let their home of 50 years taken for a paltry sum.
Eventually the state won out, the Maurice family never returned after 1947. Or did they? According to local lore, Hollybourne is the most haunted home on the island, and it is the only one yet to be renovated. Many folks think that the Maurice sisters are still there, and every time workers make repairs, their hard work is torn down mysteriously.
Written using information from "Jekyll Island Cottage Colony" by June Hall McCash
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