1740 St. Simons and Jekyll Islands Map
Story of 1740 St. Simons Island Map
In 1739, John Thomas was selected as engineer to build military fortifications on St. Simons Island – in particular a fort with redoubts on the southern tip of the island. Thomas completed a map showing the design and location of the proposed fort, the newly constructed road (actually a dirt path) connecting Frederica with the new Fort St. Simons to the south, as well as neighboring Jekyll Island to the south.
Over two centuries would pass before the National Park Service created the Fort Frederica National Monument at the site of the former town and fort of Frederica. Among the artifacts collected or donated for the visitor center at the new national monument was Thomas’s 1740 map of St. Simons.
In the 1980s, the superintendent of Fort Frederica National Monument contacted University of Georgia historical geographer Lou DeVorsey expressing concern about the condition and framing of the 1740 map. In order to evaluate its condition, the rare map was carried to the Athens campus, where it was carefully removed from its frame and inspected. Because of this unique opportunity, Dr. DeVorsey and Ed Jackson of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government requested and received permission to have detailed photographs of the map made by the University’s Cartographic Lab extensively. The result is an extensive collection of color slides showing the map both as a whole and as enlargements of text blocks, diagrams, and vignettes found along the borders of the map.
Twenty-four of these enlargements have then been linked as “image maps” to the large map, which allows you to zoom in and view detail of images and text with great magnification. Not every map section has an image map, though most do. To check, move the cursor over the face of the map that appears on your screen. If the cursor turns into a pointing finger, you have a link to an enlargement of that area. In some cases, there are several image maps on the same screen or image maps several layers deep.