Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Golden Era of Georgia's Golden Isle





I know that there are many of you who, like me, have fond memories of summers spent at Sea Island, Georgia. Although my family usually rented houses there, the old Cloister hotel is what I remember most vividly. It was my first exposure to the work of Addison Mizner, architect of The Cloister. As a child, I had no idea who Mizner was. I just liked the Spanish style architecture of the hotel. I remember the hotel's Spanish Lounge where there was always a table set up in the corner with a jigsaw puzzle at the ready. The Dining Room at The Cloister makes me think of Baked Alaska (which I had there for the first time on my 10th birthday), finger bowls and doilies, and Kadota figs. Kadota figs were always on the menu for breakfast as was prune juice. I never indulged in either one. And of course, there were The Cloister's legendary Bingo games. Bingo was what you did at night after dinner.

The old Cloister was torn down back in 2003, and a new, fancy version replaced it. It's sad, really, as I miss that great old building. I came across these c. 1941 photos of The Cloister, part of the Gottscho-Schleisner Collection of photographs, over the weekend and wanted to share them with you. The interiors that you see here are credited to Francis Abreu, the noted architect. Although Mizner was responsible for The Cloister's architecture when it was built in the late 1920s, Abreu was the architect behind the adjacent buildings as well as later additions and renovations. The photo captions make note of the "new" dining room, so I'm assuming that the dining room seen here must have been an addition to The Cloister around 1940.

So, for all of us who remember Sea Island for what it used to be, here is a trip down memory lane:


Large club room




Blue club room






Passage to new Dining Room




New Dining Room




New Dining Room




New Dining Room

8 comments:

  1. I never had a chance to visit. It is a shame that many developers do not appreciate the value and beauty of grand old hotels and historical building. I get shivers everytime I pass by Penn Station in New York...the shame... Thanks to Jacky O, at least Grand central was saved.

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  2. Dahhling I could not agree more with you. It is a shame they tore down the old Cloister building. I had the opportunity to visit many times before its demise... great photos!

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  3. I went every year with my family growing up and I love looking at the old photos. Thanks for the trip back...

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  4. Thanks for the blast from the past. So great to see the old photos.

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  5. I wonder what happened to all of those great chippendale style chairs? Why is it that some misguided people think that new is better? Nothing can equal the construction of early 20th c. buildings. Thanks. Mary

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  6. I knew the old Cloister and loved it. When I read all the malarkey about the new one, in all its overwrought and poorly scaled and detailed splendor, I just weep for the old.

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  7. I had the opportunity to stay in the big mansion many years ago for my brother's wedding. It was magnificent. It's there that I learned how fabulous high gloss paint looks on trim! The Cloister and Sea Island are both so beautiful.

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  8. George Hanson1:16 PM

    Terrific photos, thanks.

    It wasn't broken, but they sure fixed it, and good! What a shame.

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