History of Tybee Cottages

Historic Tybee Cottages: Preserving Uniquely Tybee Cottages

Our company name, Tybee Cottages, honors one of Tybee’s many attractions, the historic Tybee cottages that stand out as cherished symbols of the island’s past, offering a glimpse into this coastal community's architectural and cultural heritage.  Many of these homes remain as permanent residents, second homes, and vacation rentals.

A Journey Back in Time

Historic Tybee cottages date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Tybee Island first emerged as a popular seaside retreat. These charming homes were originally built as summer getaways for affluent families seeking respite from the sweltering heat of Savannah and inland Georgia. The cottages' simple yet elegant designs reflect the leisurely lifestyle of the era, characterized by lazy afternoons on wraparound porches and large windows that opened to all cool ocean breezes where evenings were spent enjoying waterfront views.  


Officer’s Row and Military Homes: A Glimpse into the Island’s Military Heritage

Tybee Island’s strategic location at the mouth of the Savannah River made it a critical point for military defense, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The island was home to Fort Screven, an active military installation from 1897 to 1947, which played a significant role in coastal defense. This history is prominently displayed in the form of Officers Row and other military homes that still stand today. These historic residences offer a unique look into the past, showcasing the island’s strategic importance and the lifestyle of military personnel stationed there in the form of Officer’s homes, and enlisted barracks, mess halls, and quarters.


Tybee’s 1950s All-Electric Cinder Block Homes: A Mid-Century Marvel

In the 1950s, Tybee Island, Georgia, saw a unique blend of innovation and practicality with the emergence of all-electric cinder block homes. Typically small, ground-floor homes were perfect for summertime stays. These residences were a testament to the era’s technological optimism and the evolving architectural trends emphasizing durability, modern conveniences, and a new way of living. Over time, these inner island homes were updated with heat and air conditioning, making full-time living more amenable.

A Testament to Resilience

Over the years, these historic cottages have withstood the test of time, enduring hurricanes, storms, and the ever-changing coastal environment. Preservation efforts by dedicated homeowners and local organizations have played a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and beauty of these structures. Through careful restoration and adaptive reuse, the cottages remain treasured landmarks that embody Tybee Island’s resilient spirit.

Cultural Significance

Beyond their architectural appeal, historic Tybee cottages hold significant cultural value. They are living reminders of the island’s evolution from a remote barrier island to a bustling vacation destination. Each cottage tells a story, reflecting the lifestyle and traditions of the families there. One can almost hear the echoes of laughter and see the scenes of generations past enjoying their seaside escapes.

Events like home tours and heritage celebrations help raise awareness and funds for preservation efforts, ensuring that future generations can appreciate and enjoy these historical treasures.


Published by Maria Lancaster
Friday, June 14, 2024