Historic St. Andrews Beach
The Beach Pavilion in front of you opened on September 25, 1955 to great fanfare, as St. Andrews Beach became the first public beach in Georgia to welcome African Americans. Celebrations included a motorcade, dedication ceremony, and music by the Risley High School Band.
Known during segregation as the "Colored Beach House," the pavilion originally had dressing rooms, a concession stand, and a covered picnic area. A man called "Jelly" ran the pavilion's food stand, selling hot dogs and wrapped sandwiches to beach-goers. At the time, soft drinks cost just five cents each.
African Americans often visited the pavilion to listen to music and enjoy a picnic lunch. Locals held parties and danced to the jukebox here. The pavilion remained an important gathering spot for the black community until 1964, when integration made the segregated space unnecessary.
In 2016, the historic pavilion was restored to provide a fun space for recreation in the present. Efforts to preserve this landmark and share the story of St. Andrews Beach have ensured that the legacy of this special place continues alongside modern facilities serving the needs of today's visitors to Jekyll Island.
The site's new facilities offer a variety of engaging experiences on Jekyll Island through the Georgia 4-H. History continues
to be made here as new generations create memories of Jekyll Island at historic St. Andrews Beach.
Jim Bacote was a local youth who remembers time spent at the St. Andrews Beach Pavilion as a coming of age moment.
The pavilion had a jukebox. It played Little Richard singing "Lucille" and "Long Tall Sally," and kids would get together to dance. At that time, he said, boys and girls dancing together amounted to doing "The Twist."
Bacote also remembers line dancing at the pavilion to Al Brown's "The Madison," a popular dance craze of the 1950s and 1960s. Everyone would line up. Blessed with a loud voice, Bacote would call out the steps, shouting: "Two up, two back!"
During fun times like these, Bacote found that he had grown out of the "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" to discover that he liked girls. In fact, his future wife, Pat, worked nearby at the Dolphin Club Lounge!