The drive-by trolley tour introduces 36 points of interest including the highlighted historic sites below in addition to providing a walking tour at Christ Church yard (except on Mondays):
St. Simons Island Lighthouse
The first lighthouse was built in 1810 on the site of Oglethorpe's Fort St. Simons. This original structure was destroyed in 1861 as the Confederate Army retreated from Union invaders. A new lighthouse and the lightkeeper's cottage were built by Charles B. Clusky in 1872. In 1950 the last keeper retired, but the beacon is still operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. This is one of the nation's oldest continuously working lighthouses and one of the most accessible, located near the Pier Village and Neptune Park.
In 1734 General James Oglethorpe found an ideal spot for this fort on the western shore of St. Simons Island overlooking a branch of the Altamaha. Here his British troops would have a distinct vantage point, and thus Fort Frederica was founded at a place called Devil's Elbow on the Frederica River. The National Park Service offers tours of this once thriving riverport community in colonial Georgia.
Christ Church, Frederica
The 2nd oldest Episcopal Church in Georgia is also the 3rd oldest in the nation. In the 1740's Charles Wesley preached under the oaks here, before the first structure was built. During the Civil War, Union troops commandeered the building and it was nearly destroyed. In 1884 the church was rebuilt by Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., as a memorial to his first wife. Be sure to see the magnificent stained glass windows. A walk through the cemetery will acquaint you with many early settlers of the island.
In 1742, Spanish troops landed on the south end of St. Simons Island and forced Gen. Oglethorpe's men back to Fort Frederica. Oglethorpe regrouped, allowing the enemy to advance to the edge of the marsh, where they made camp. Outnumbered 5 to 1, Oglethorpe's handful of Highlanders and Indians surprised the invaders and chased them back to the beach. The Battle of Bloody Marsh, when the marsh ran red with Spanish blood, was a decisive British victory, and ended forever the threat of Spanish invasion into this colony.