Our story begins with Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene (he seems to keep popping up a lot!) In honor of his services during the War, South Carolina and Georgia both donated lands to him, and his family settled at Mulberry Grove on the Savannah River. General Greene died on June 19, 1786, and his wife Caty married his former secretary and their childrens' tutor, Phineas Miller in 1796. In 1800 they moved to Cumberland Island and built a large four story mansion out of tabby, giving it the name Dungeness. The name is believed to have come from a hunting camp established nearby by General Oglethorpe, who named it after the county seat in England. The mansion was 76 feet tall, had six foot thick walls and several outbuildings, including the one seen above. When Caty died in 1814, her daughter Loisa took charge of Dungeness and created a thriving Sea Cotton plantation, as well as growing olives, oranges, figs, dates, limes, and pomegranates. Dungeness itself burned down around 1867, and sometime after 1880 the remaining walls were demolished. The building above was a slave cabin that held two families. It is the oldest standing structure on the island, and was used later by the Carnegies as a records house.
In 1881, Thomas Morrison Carnegie, brother of famous financier Andrew Carnegie, bought the Dungeness property from former Confederate General W.G.M. Davis. He unfortunetly died in 1886, and did not much get to enjoy the property he built up, but instead passed it on to his wife Lucy.
Lucy made many additions to the mansion, which was designed by Andrew Peebles in the Queen Anne style. At its peak it towered over 100 feet and covered 6,720 square feet.
The mansion was vacated in 1925, and on June 24, 1959, was burned down by an arsonist.
Between 1977 and 1981, a group of Georgia students working with the Youth Conservation Corps conducted historic preservation of the mansion, grounds and buildings, including stabilizing the mansion's ruins.
Garden Pergola, built by Lucy Carnegie
As usual, the wife finds her own way to enjoy history...
Remains of the Pool/Recreation house near the mansion. This building was originally designed by John Ingle and also built in the Queen Anne style. It featured a heated indoor pool, steam room, baths, recreation room, gunroom and squash court. It also featured guest room son the second floor.
This building was the carriage house, originally for horses and carriages, becoming the garage for "electric carriages" around 1900. It is now the maintenance facility used by the National Park Service.