Cumberland Island National Seashore | HISTORICAL SITES

Ruins of Dungeness Mansion at Cumberland Island National Seashore

Ruins of Dungeness Mansion at Cumberland Island National Seashore

While Cumberland Island National Seashore may be known for its natural beauty, it has just as much to offer when it comes to human history. The island was occupied by the Spanish in the 1500s, and then by the English and Americans starting in the early 1700s. Timucuan Indians lived on the island for hundreds of years prior to any European settlement. The most famous residents are Thomas and Lucy Carnegie and their children, and most of the buildings and mansions on the island once belonged to them (some are even still occupied by their descendants).

Historical areas are located at the very northern end of the island, the central area, and the very southern end. Unfortunately, only the southern end is close enough for day trippers on foot to reach; the rest of the historic areas are simply too far away. Even those on bike can only make it to the central portion of the island and back before the 4:45 PM ferry departs for the mainland. A park concessionaire does run a history-focused van tour called the Lands and Legacies Tour, and this is the only feasible way for day trippers to see the entire island.

For more information on the historic areas of Cumberland Island National Seashore, please visit the following web pages on National Park Planner:

Dozens of buildings from the Carnegie era are on the grounds surrounding their mansion. Day trippers can easily reach this area on foot for it is only a half mile from Dungeness dock.

The mansion built in 1884 by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie is the central focus of the Dungeness historical district. All that remains today of the mansion are the ruins left behind when it burned down in 1959.

Final resting place for Catherine Greene-Miller, the widow of American Revolution General Nathanael Greene. After Nathanael’s death in the late 1700s, Catherine remarried Phineas Miller and moved to Cumberland Island. The cemetery is located in the Dungeness historical district.

Located in the former Carnegie Ice House at Dungeness dock, this small museum is a good way to fill yourself in on the island’s history before setting out on your own to see the sites.

This is the family cemetery of the largest and wealthiest plantation owner on Cumberland Island before the Civil War. While it is possible for day trippers to reach the cemetery on foot, it is a small site that you would only stop at if you were on your way to Plum Orchard Mansion, which requires a bike to reach unless you walk really fast or plan to jog.

Located nearly eight miles from the Sea Camp ferry dock, Plum Orchard is the only Carnegie mansion open to the public for daily tours. Day trippers will need a bike to reach this site in time to catch the afternoon ferry back to the mainland.

This post Civil War community belonged to former slaves. The site gained world-wide fame when John Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married there in 1996. The Settlement requires a 30-mile round-trip bike ride to reach, which is beyond what most day trippers are capable of. For most people, a seat on the Land and Legacies Tour is the only way to reach this area.

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Last updated on April 12, 2022
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