Cumberland Island National Seashore | THE GRANGE

The Grange at Cumberland Island National Seashore

The Grange, Cumberland Island National Seashore

The seventh stop on the Cell Phone Audio Tour of the Dungeness historical area at Cumberland Island National Seashore is The Grange. As you proceed down the road from the Recreation Building, away from the Dungeness mansion, you begin to enter into the area used by staff and servants. The first building you come to, a large mansion on the right, may not seem like a house for a staff member, yet indeed it was.

In 1890 Lucy Carnegie hired a Harvard graduate named William Page as a tutor for her sons. Highly impressed with Page, she made him the manager of the entire Dungeness estate the next year. He was in charge of hiring help, payroll, accounting, construction, and general problem solving. To keep him from wanting to leave, in 1895 she built The Grange for him and his family to live in. Page remained in service to the Carnegies until his death in 1922. At that time Florence Carnegie, one of Lucy’s three daughters, moved into the house.

When Lucy Carnegie died in 1916, her will stated that her children could not sell the land unless all agreed, and no such agreement was ever reached. However, once all of her children were deceased, their heirs could sell the land. Florence was the last of the Carnegie children to die, passing away in 1962. At that time the heirs who were not wealthy immediately set about trying to sell their portion of the island to developers, while those who were well-off wanted to keep their vacation resort somewhat intact. The idea to sell the land to someone who would not develop it was the ideal solution, but who in their right mind would buy an island and not turn it into a resort? That’s when the idea came to approach the National Park Service about creating a park; in 1972 Cumberland Island National Seashore was created.

The Carnegie heirs had one stipulation about the sale—those who still lived on Cumberland Island, despite being paid for the land, would be able to remain in their homes and use their land until death or for a stated period of time. As a result, parcels of the island will be incorporated into the park on a piecemeal basis. There are roughly twelve properties still retained by the owners as of 2016. However, not everyone sold. The owners of the Greyfield Inn were not part of the deal, and when they can charge $600 a night for a room, it’s no wonder why.

One of the agreements resulted in a 40-year lease on The Grange. The lease expired in 2010, and now the home is part of the park. It is not yet open to the public, but for now you are welcome to walk around the property and look in the windows. There are plans to turn the house into a visitor center or an exhibit and education center, but that’s been the plan since 2012 and The Grange is still empty.

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island

Interior of The Grange on Cumberland Island


NEXT STOP: The Service Village | PREVIOUS STOP: The Recreation Building


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Last updated on April 13, 2022
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