Retreat Plantation/ New Field St. Simons Island
At the intersection of Demere and Frederica Roads, is the Tabby House Gift Shop. It is the only one of eight slave cabins that stood in a row for Retreat Plantation that is still intact. The tabby structure had four rooms downstairs and an attic for sleeping. The site of the eight slave cabins was known as "New Field" and the slaves who lived here worked on the Sea Island cotton fields that were located where the Malcolm McKinnon Airport is now. Built in 1805, the slave cabin is now a gift shop. It is covered with stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside as it would have been in 1805. The Tabby House Gift Shop is open Monday-Saturday between 9am and 5:30pm.
Taking the drive south on Frederica Road alongside the airport will result in arriving at the entrance of Retreat Plantation. Planted in 1850, oaks line the avenue leading to Retreat Plantation- the original Avenue of Oaks spanned the distance from the cotton fields (airport) to the house (golf course); but now only Retreat Avenue is graced by the oaks' beauty. No longer just an historic site, Retreat Plantation is the home to the Sea Island Golf Club. At the end of the Avenue of Oaks (Retreat Avenue), the entrance has a guardhouse where you will be stopped. But within the gate are many well-preserved historic sites incorporated into the resort. Within the parking lot, are the ruins of the slave hospital and plantation house. Only the walls are left of the former two-and half story, ten-room hospital that tended to the slaves. Even less remains of the plantation house- just a corner and a chimney. But the corn barn, built in the 1790s of tabby, still stands and is now the clubhouse.
Just behind the corn barn/ clubhouse is King or Retreat Cemetery used by slaves and their descendants since 1800. This is the final resting site for Neptune Small. Major William Page acquired retreat Plantation in either 1802 or 1804 from James Spalding who called it "Orange Grove." Thomas Butler King married Page's only daughter Anna and together they ran the plantation. The King family eventually sold the property to the Sea Island Company who built the golf course in 1929.
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