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Tybee Island Hotel - History of Tybee Island Hotel

ocean plaza built beach

Tybee Island is a quaint seaside resort town that is located about 20 miles east of Savannah in the state of Georgia. The word “Tybee” actually means salt, and was named by the Euchee Native American Indians. The name suits the island perfectly due to the fact that the natural resource was found all over the island, and it is known for its healing abilities. The island began luring visitors in the late 1800s with its fresh air and salty breezes blowing in from the ocean. Doctors encouraged their patients to make trips to Tybee Island to help them with ailments such as allergies and asthma.

As more and more people came to this barrier island to walk its lengthy beaches and rest among the sand dunes covered in wind swept sea oats, it was apparent that a hotel needed to be built. First built in 1886, the Tybee Island Hotel had 100 rooms and boasted a Queen Anne style architecture. Opulent amenities like lavishly large verandas that stretched around the building, and an observation deck on the fifth floor, allowed visitors to take in panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Tybee Island Hotel was considered one of the finest resorts of its time. Many chose visiting this establishment over others located in places like Atlantic City, Charleston, or Miami. At the Tybee Island Hotel a guest could enjoy all of the latest modern conveniences such as electric lights, and even elevators. The hotel also had dancing and picnic pavilions that were separate from each other. Unfortunately, due to being built entirely of wood, the Tybee Island Hotel burnt to the ground in 1908. However, in 1911 the newly rebuilt Tybee Island Hotel was opened and considered to be “fireproof” with its brick construction.

For the next 49 years, this brick fortress stood up against the harshest of weather, including hurricanes. In 1960 the famous hotel was torn down and was replaced to make way for new construction. Now standing in the same place where the original Tybee Island Hotel and its predecessor once stood, is the Ocean Plaza Beach Resort. This full service hotel and conference center is the largest ocean front hotel in Tybee Island. Although the exterior of the Ocean Plaza is very different from the original Tybee Island Hotel, it is still steps away from the sandy beach and deep blue ocean. For the past 40 years the same family has owned and operated the Ocean Plaza, which serves as a historical reminder of true southern hospitality, rest, and relaxation.

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