The Jekyll Island Authority made and preserved history Thursday at the ribbon cutting of the Skeet House, a place where members of the Jekyll Island Club once socialized during skeet and trap shooting competitions.

With funding provided by the Jekyll Island Foundation, the authority was able to move the Skeet House, once located in a wooded area near the Jekyll Island Airport, to its new home on Pier Road in the Jekyll Island Historic District.

The moving of a building was a first for the authority. John Hunter, director of historic resources for Jekyll Island, said the building was originally constructed in 1930 and was in use until the mid-1970s.

“We moved it to preserve it and put it to use,” Hunter said.

The building was the only Jekyll Island Club-constructed building outside the historic district to survive the passing of time.

Hunter said skeet and trap shooting became all the rage around 1910.

“This building was part of the second skeet range built for the Jekyll Island Club,” he said.

As with any renovation project, there were some surprises along the way — in this case, the presence of powderpost beetles within the original structure. Hunter said approximately 50 percent of the original building was salvageable. Some of the original elements are the doors, and the rebuilt chimney that was constructed from the original brick.

Dion Davis, executive director of the Jekyll Island Foundation, said the building will be used for exhibit and educational space, and will accommodate 25 to 50 people. A historic exhibit, detailing the hunting and sport shooting history of the Jekyll Island, is also one of the features of the Skeet House.

Davis said a three-year fundraising campaign to restore the building had the participation of many donors, including guests of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Beachview Club Hotel, the former Oceanside Inn and Suites and the friends and supporters of Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, an Atlanta priest who has been visiting Jekyll Island for nearly 60 years.

Buff Leavy, chair of the board of the Jekyll Island Foundation, said the renovation of the Skeet House was a great project for the foundation.

“It fits so well with our mission of the preservation, conservation and education of Jekyll Island,” he said. “We were able to take a piece of history that would have potentially been lost and bring it back to life. None of this could have been done without all of the donor help.

“It’s really exciting to watch the revitalization that is taking place right now.”

Reporter Mary Starr writes about education, St. Simons and Sea islands and other local topics. Contact her at mstarr@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320 ext. 324.

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