Jewtown Community St. Simons Island, Georgia
This historic African American community was settled by former slaves from St. Simons Island plantations at the end of the Civil War. Just east of Gascoigne Bluff, Jewtown was established near the Hilton Dodge Lumber Company mill. The area was first called Levisonton, after Robert and Sig Levison who opened a neighborhood store around 1880, but then became known as Jewtown. Situated on Demere Road between the Sea Island Road intersection on the east and the Frederica Road intersection on the west, Jewtown is home to mostly small frame bungalows built between 1890 and the 1930s.
Driving on Demere Road towards the Frederica intersection, you will pass a small service road on the left just below power lines. It isn’t marked and the gate is usually locked, but at the end of this road is Union Cemetery. Commonly referred to as “Strangers’ Cemetery,” Union Cemetery became the last resting place for people who had been new to the community. This is a lovely cemetery with old and new tombstones that is maintained by four traditionally African American churches on the island- St. Paul Baptist, Emanuel Baptist, St. Luke’s Methodist and the First African Baptist Churches.
Back on Demere Road heading towards Frederica intersection, you will pass two churches on the left. St. Ignatius Episcopal Church was a mission church of Christ Church and was known as the “Chapel of Ease.” Anson Dodge, a part owner in the Dodge Mill, constructed this Gothic Revival style building in 1888. Just west of St. Ignatius is where the Levison brothers’ store was. Next on Demere Road is the St. Paul Baptist Church.
The mill workers living in Jewtown were very progressive and organized a labor union before it was popular nationwide. Oliver Lane still has about five houses that are around 100 years old and are typical of the homes from Jewtown Community.
Related: The Tabby House Gift Shop King Cemetery Old Slave Hospital/ Plantation House Ruins at Retreat Plantation
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