Cumberland Island National Seashore | EARLY INHABITANTS

Dungeness ferry dock, site of a Timucuan Indian village

Dungeness ferry dock, site of a Timucuan Indian village

The first stop on the Cell Phone Audio Tour of the Dungeness historical area a Cumberland Island National Seashore begins at the Dungeness ferry dock, which is situated in the same location and uses the same foundation as the dock built by the Carnegies to service the area. The original house on the dock was built in 1882, though what stands today is a restoration from the 1980s. You will also see an enormous circular structure with an octagonal, metal roof. This is a former cistern that was built around 1890.

This stop is a general information stop that focuses on the early inhabitants of Cumberland Island, the Timucuan Indians. The area near the dock was once home to a Timucuan village. In 1587, Spanish Franciscan monks built a mission on the island called Pedro de Mocama, which lasted about one hundred years. By the early 1700s the English began to settle the area, and while the Timucuan remained a presence, by the early 1800s disease and English-American expansion had wiped them out.

Also located near the ferry dock are two buildings from the Carnegie era. The one closest to the dock is the ice house, a building originally used to store huge blocks of ice brought down from the north by ship. It was built in 1890, but by the turn of the century it had become obsolete as an ice storage facility due to the invention of ice making equipment, and it was thus converted into a grain storage facility. It now houses a small museum—Ice House Museum—and a restroom. Be sure to stop in to learn more about the island’s history before continuing your tour.

Ice House Museum at Cumberland Island National Seashore

Ice House Museum at Cumberland Island National Seashore

Behind the ice house is the Captain’s House, the residence of the man who operated the Carnegie’s boat that brought passengers and supplies to the island. It was built around 1900. Today the building serves as the Dungeness Ranger Station. Another cistern is near the house, and it is still used as a water storage facility.

Former Carnegie-era Captain's House, now a Cumberland Island National Seashore Ranger station

Former Carnegie-era Captain’s House, now a Cumberland Island National Seashore Ranger station


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Last updated on April 12, 2022
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