Cumberland Island National Seashore | THE SERVICE VILLAGE

Road through the service village at Dungeness on Cumberland Island

Road through the service village at Dungeness on Cumberland Island

While William Page was certainly an employee, living in The Grange set him apart from the rest of the hired help. As you walk farther down the road you come to the true service area of Dungeness, where, depending on the year, between 100 and 300 employees, most of them farm hands, lived and worked. It is staggering to imagine the wealth of a family that could pay, feed, and house up to 300 people just so they could live on an island without having to do any work themselves.

As you walk through the Service Village you will find many restored buildings and a few ruins. None of the buildings are open to the public because nearly all are being used by the National Park Service as dorms, offices, and maintenance facilities, exactly what the Carnegies used them for. The actual sign for Stop #8 on the Cell Phone Audio Tour is in front of a very large white building, the Carriage House, but before getting there you will pass a few other buildings and foundations.

The first structure you come to when leaving The Grange is some sort of foundation situated on the opposite side of the road. I am not exactly sure what this is, but based on a map from 1916 it could be the former chicken houses or the poultry manager’s house (that’s just a guess).

Foundations across from The Grange on Cumberland Island

Foundations across from The Grange on Cumberland Island

A little farther down the road are a few picnic tables and a small building that was once the laundry facility (ca. 1900). Today the building serves as a restroom and has drinkable water. In addition, a few pieces of antique laundry cleaning equipment are on display inside, including a boiler, stove, and a press to wring out wet clothing.

Laundry building at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Laundry building at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Roller for wringing wet laundry on display inside the Dungeness Laundry Building

Roller for wringing wet laundry on display inside the Dungeness Laundry Building

Stove, hot water heater, and wash bins inside the Dungeness Laundry building on Cumberland Island

Stove, hot water heater, and wash bins inside the Dungeness Laundry building on Cumberland Island

On the opposite corner from the laundry building is the Carriage House and Stable, one of the largest service buildings on the property. It was built around 1900. Inside were stalls for sixty horses in the lower south wing, while the upstairs had rooms for the grooms and storage areas for hay. The National Park Service renovated the building in 1975 and today uses it as a maintenance facility. It is here where you will find the sign for Stop #8 on the Cell Phone Audio Tour.

Dungeness Carriage House and Stable on Cumberland Island

Dungeness Carriage House and Stable on Cumberland Island

Directly across from the Carriage House is the massive foundation of a coal-fired AC power plant that was also built around 1900. A manager and three engineers had living quarters in the building. An ice making plant was also part of the complex. The large, circular-shaped structure located near the power plant is a cistern.

Foundation of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Foundation of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Foundation of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Foundation of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Building of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Building of the power and ice plant for Dungeness (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Cistern at Dungeness on Cumberland Island

Cistern at Dungeness on Cumberland Island

It is at this point that you come to a fork in the road, and depending on where you are ultimately heading—the beach or back to one of the ferry docks—your route through the Service Village will vary. Keeping straight leads to Dungeness Beach and Tour Stop #9, the Greene-Miller Cemetery, but there are plenty of service buildings to the left. If you are going to the beach and then continuing north along the shore all the way to Sea Camp Beach, take a left at the fork and see the service buildings first. The buildings are along a loop road that circles back and comes out just a short ways farther down the road. From there you can continue to the beach, stopping at the cemetery on the way.

If you are heading to the beach, but returning back this same way, stay straight to see the cemetery first and catch the service buildings on the way back from the beach. I was planning to hike all the way to Sea Camp Beach, so I took a left and walked the service building road in a clockwise direction.

Once making a left and walking down what is technically Coleman Road, you will find four large houses, three on your right and one on the left. Unless noted, all were built around 1900 and renovated in the 1970s. The houses to your right were originally, in order, a white male workers’ dormitory, the dairy manager’s house, and another white male workers’ dormitory (ca. 1890). The building on the left, towards the end of the road, was the dining hall, though I am not sure if this was for the white or black worker. There were originally two dining halls and a recreation building, but what you see is all that remains today.

White male dormitory (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

White male dormitory (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Dairy manager's house (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Dairy manager’s house (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

White Male Dormitory (ca. 1890) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

White Male Dormitory (ca. 1890) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Dining Hall (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Dining Hall (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

The road comes to a T-intersection at the far end of the loop. Take a left to get back to Dungeness or Sea Camp ferry docks; take a right to continue around the service building loop road. A long building sits to your right. This was the black male workers’ dormitory. From the road all you can see is its side, so feel free to roam the grounds for a better view. If you are wondering why there are no female dorms, females were house servants and would have lived in the servants’ quarters of one of the Carnegie mansions.

Black worker's dormitory (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Black worker’s dormitory (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

As you round the corner to make your way back to where you started, you will find a building originally used as the carpentry shop. It is still used today for similar purposes by the National Park Service. Walk around the rear to see antique equipment that has never been discarded. Near the woods is a chimney that was once part of another maintenance building. There also used to be a lumber shed next to the carpentry shop, but that no longer exists.

Carpenter's shop (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Carpenter’s shop (ca. 1900) at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Antique equipment at the back of the Carpenter's shop

Antique equipment at the back of the Carpenter’s shop

You won’t find any more buildings until you return to the road leading to the beach. On the corner is a reconstruction of the Carnegie’s wagon shed. This was built in 1975 on the foundation of the original shed and constructed to look like the original. It is used to house tractors and other maintenance equipment.

Road to the wagon shed at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Road to the wagon shed at the Dungeness Service Village on Cumberland Island

Reconstruction of the Carnegie's wagon shed, built in 1975 (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Reconstruction of the Carnegie’s wagon shed, built in 1975 (Cumberland Island National Seashore)

Once back to the beach road, take a left to arrive at the last stop on the tour, the Green-Miller Cemetery.


NEXT STOP: Greene-Miller Cemetery | PREVIOUS STOP: The Grange


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Last updated on April 13, 2022
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