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Historic Picture of the Commissary on Jekyll IslandAccording to an oral history interview with Earl Hill, a former caddy and houseman for the Jekyll Island Club, during the Club Era island workers referred to present-day Pier Road as “Feeding Road.” Hill’s family members were long-time occupants of the island, and were certainly in a position to know.

His uncle, Charlie Hill, was employed on the island beginning in 1891 and soon became a coachman and caretaker for the Maurice family of Hollybourne Cottage. Earl’s father, Myers Hill, was employed as a groundskeeper on the island. Another uncle, John Cain, was a wagon driver for the club until his death in the 1920s. Earl’s cousin, Anna Hill, was the island’s schoolteacher in the 1930s. All told, the Hill family was present through most of the Jekyll Island Club’s 56-year history on the island.

During the Jekyll Island Club Era, Pier Road was a bustling center of activity on the island. This corridor was a hub of service for the Jekyll Island Club and the heart of the community for countless island employees. It once supported many more structures than can be seen today. At the peak of the Club’s activity in the 1920s, nearly 120 buildings, mostly service-oriented, were located in this area of the Club Compound.

The buildings scattered along this lane provided housing, places of business, and provisions for the employees of the island. It functioned as the center of work and play among the employees of the Jekyll Island Club. Here could be found a taxidermy shop, upholstery shop, woodsheds and equipment storage, as well as the living quarters for the engineer, boat captain, servants and drivers, caddies and night watchmen.

Hill reported that the workers called this pathway “Feeding Road” due to the presence of the Commissary and the Dining Hall along its way. No doubt, in its heyday, this street emanated the scents and flavors of good cooking to the caddies, waiters, butlers, engineers, laundresses, and maids returning to eat at midday or after a day of work.

Albert “Bill” Law, the Club Foreman from the 1910s -1930s, rang the Farm Bell every day at noon calling in all the laborers for their midday meal. The Farm Bell was located on the east side of the Bookkeeper’s Cottage on the northeast end of Pier Road. Also known as Stephen’s Cottage, the Bookkeeper’s Cottage was constructed around 1900. It is now a gift shop.

Located at the end of “Feeding Road,” the Commissary, built around 1915, served as the general store for island residents. Anything from groceries to luxuries could be purchased here. It continues to sell gourmet food items in the present day.