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Fernando J. Torras

by Carey C. Giudici

The F.J. Torras Causeway carries drivers to St. Simons Island from Brunswick over four miles of marsh and five tidal rivers.

The Causeway, originally completed in 1924, is named after a descendant of Spanish explorer Sebastian Cabot. Fernando Joseph Torras (1885-1952) served as Brunswick's city manager for more than 30 years.

Torras was the son of Rosendo Torras--a Spanish consul knighted by King Gustaf of Sweden--and Mary Lucy Minehan of Brunswick. His sister, Stella Morton, became a well-known local artist.

Fernando honed his engineering skills on a railway in the Brazilian Amazon before becoming instrumental in connecting the Golden Isles to the mainland. The causeway cost over $418,000 and took thirteen months to complete. Torras also helped with the layout of Sea Island and other local developments.

Just before reaching the Island, in the river across from Epworth By-The-Sea, try to spot three marsh islands. When ships arrived from Europe to pick up orders of cotton or lumber, they first dumped ballast stones from their holds into the river off Gascoigne's Bluff. The piles of stones became marsh islands with stands of exotic saltcedar trees (Tamarix gallica) that grew from seeds accidentally dumped there along with the ballast.

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