Tybee Island, Georgia

At the easternmost part of the state of Georgia in the United States sits Tybee Island, a small barrier island in Chatham County.  The entirety of Tybee Island falls within the Savannah metropolitan area and at one point in the 1950s was called Savannah Beach.  With its small population and slow pace of life this little island is a common getaway for people from all over Georgia and the Southeastern United States.

Tybee Island beach at sunrise

While it is now known for being a place to spend a few days away from the city, it was once the location of an atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. Air Force.  The bomb was dropped in a failed training attempt and luckily did not detonate but there has long been concern since after the bomb fell it was never recovered.  Tybee island is also known as the birthplace of what turned into the Days Inn hotel chain, the famous Tybee Island Light Station, and the Fort Screven Historic District.

First commissioned in 1899, Fort Screven (named for Brigidier Gerneral James Screven) served as an important part of costal defense for the Southern United States until it was decommissioned in 1947.  George C. Marshall the famous General of the Army and chief architect of the Marshall plan was one of the commanding officers for a time.  While little of the original fort remains intact today, it does contain some of the oldest buildings on the island and some of the military buildings were converted to civilian use.  Some of the older buildings have been restored and are part of the draw to Tybee Island.

The strategic position of Tybee Island near to the mouth of the Savannah River made the norther point of the island a great location for lighthouse, the Tybee Island Light Station was first built of brick and wood in 1736 but has needed replacement several times since its first construction.  At the time of its construction, at 90 feet tall it was one of the tallest structures in the United States.  The lighthouse that currently sits at the edge of the island is 94 feet tall and was built in 1867.  One of the most popular tourist attractions, the black-and-white lighthouse site on 5 acres of historically preserved land and is one of the few 18th century lighthouses in the United States that is still operational.