Jekyll Island Club Hotel
For general history of the island and hotel, see the Jekyll Club website.
Opened in January of 1887 south of Savannah, this was an elite playground. Only the richest of American history including names like Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan and Pulitzer.
The famous and leaders of industry and politics. One claim to historic fame featured the first country wide telephone call. Theodore Newton Vail, president of AT&T called US President, Woodrow Wilson in Washington. Then dialed up the inventor himself, Alexander Graham Bell in New York City. Also a call to San Francisco and Boston. All these calls made from the Jekyll Island Club.
The Ghost is Born
Lloyd Aspinwall was a founding member of the Jekyll Island Club.
He was a very well respected New York attorney. Made a name for himself as a trustee for the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, when from 1869 to 1883 they built the famed bridge.
Prior to Aspinwall was a Civil War veteran, fighting for the Union army. Served in many infantries and was at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. It was Aspinwall who personally delivered a report of the 1st battle to Abraham Lincoln.
Then in September 1886, only four months before the Jekyll Island Club was set to open, news reached the staff. The hotel’s president Lloyd Aspinwall was dead. Many were upset. Aspinwall was loved, known for his charisma, good looks and energy.
Some refused to believe he was dead. And they were proven right, delighted to see Lloyd around the hotel throughout those four months leading up to its opening.
They’d report to a supervisor. Told, “You must have been mistaken, Mr. Aspinwall is really dead. We saw him go into the ground!”
Didn’t stop Lloyd. His ghost is still spotted today. Seen in a full military uniform, impressive mutton chops growing out to square off his good looking face.
Ladies take more notice over the men. After all he’s a handsome soldier in uniform.
A rich man frequented the hotel. Named Samuel Spencer and he was owner of the Southern Railway Company. A dedicated boss, he always made sure the company ran perfectly.
But something was missed. While enjoying a ride on one of his trains to a hunting trip in 1906, the coupling failed releasing a couple of cars. It was left stranded on the track.
Another came speeding along, unable to stop it smashed into the Spencer car at full speed. All but one of the occupants was killed including Samuel who was burned beyond recognition. His private secretary survived, escaping with burns to his head and arms.
Samuel Spence was killed by his own creation.
In life he loved his Jekyll Island Hotel room. Would visit often to sit in a favorite chair, read his newspaper and drink coffee. Wouldn’t it be nice if we continue the things we love after death.
Samuel proves this, still seen doing it by people staying in his room. They wake to find the newspaper perfectly placed on the side table, as if ready for reading.
A bellhop named Fred did the same rounds every single day. But only during one specific task does he become tense.
Many weddings have occurred at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. It’s the bellhop’s duties to assist groomsmen. This includes with any laundry service before the big day.
Men’s clothes cleaned and stuffed into nylon bags. Fred drags it up to the groomsmen rooms on the second floor. To this day he hesitates when knocking on each door. Relieved when a well dressed man answers it and the bellhop can hand over the bag.
Then there are those few times. The door doesn’t open and it’s silent.
The first time it happened, Fred continued on with deliveries to each second floor room. Coming back, throwing down the bag behind him and knocking again.
A groomsman answered, “Your laundry Sir…” and Fred turns to see the bag is gone.
The groomsman said, “A bellhop came by a couple minutes ago. We’re good!” and the door slams shut. And poor Fred left in the hallway alone. The only one knowing what really happened.
A couple more experiences later and now Fred puts the bag in front of him when knocking. Watching it closely to make sure his ghostly competition doesn’t sneak it away.