Jekyll Island History by Tyler E. Bagwell
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Mallory Steamship Line of Brunswick, Georgia
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Brunswick and the Mallory Line Steamship Co.

By Tyler E. Bagwell

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A postcard view of the docks in Brunswick used by the Mallory Line Steamship Co. is pictured above in the early 1900s.
At the turn of the twentieth-century the Mallory Line Steamship Co. offered travelers the quickest route between Brunswick and cities of the northeast. The Mallory Line, formed in the 1860s by Charles Henry Mallory of Connecticut, operated passenger and freight shipping boats from New York City to Galveston, Texas.

In the 1880s the railway system to Brunswick was still in its infancy. Thus, steamships were easily considered the main option for traveling up and down the coast. An 1885 booklet about Brunswick, printed by T.G. Stacy & Son, illustrates, "The railroad facilities [in Brunswick] are recent. Until 1882 our [rail] road to Macon...went no further. Until 1883 the Brunswick and Western [railroad] stopped short of [the city of] Albany..."

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Mallory Line Booklet
Mallory steamships in the 1890s departed from New York every Friday at 3 p.m. and arrived Tuesday morning, two and a half days later, in Brunswick. The steamships docked at the Mallory Wharf, located between the foot of Monck and Mansfield Street. Passenger tickets and sailing schedules could be obtained from the office of W. M. Tupper & Co., the Brunswick agents for the Mallory Line.

An 1890s booklet entitled To Florida by Mallory Line marketed the virtues of traveling to the South by vessel, "...the STEAMSHIP invites one with its elegant saloons, its light, roomy and well-ventilated decks for recreation and exercise, its tables ready at stated hours, with the viands [meals] cooked and served equal to the best of hotels, and finally that tonic, that health-giving ozone which the salty air of old ocean alone can give."

The Mallory Line advertised on their rate card that the company included a "FLEET OF ELEVEN STEAMSHIPS." Ship names such as the S.S. Alamo, S.S. Colorado, and the S.S. Rio Grande reflected destinations that could be reached from Texas, their last port of call.

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Mallory Wharf
In 1898 a first class one-way ticket from New York to Brunswick could be purchased for $20.00. First class entailed the use of a private room while on board as well as elegant meals in the ship's dining room. In contrast, a third class one-way ticket to Brunswick during the same period cost $10.00. A Mallory Line information booklet from the 1890s offers details about third class accommodations. Third class quarters are "...forward on the main deck. Meals and mattress are furnished with each berth, and only bed covering has to be supplied by the passenger."

The Jekyll Island Club, in its early years, relied on Mallory steamships to bring club members, employees, and supplies to the area. William Barton McCash and June Hall McCash write in their book The Jekyll Island Club: Southern Haven for America's Millionaires, "...in late December or early January of each year, Brunswick witnessed the arrival of a parade of specialty cooks, dish and pot washers, laundry women, chambermaids, tray boys, porters, and sundry other workers...They arrived, dressed in their best, along with members' horses and heavy luggage aboard the Mallory Steamship Line." By the 1910s, however, the railroad had taken over as the Jekyll Island Club's main choice of transportation to Georgia.

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Naval Stores
While steamship companies such as the Clyde Line (later called the Clyde-Mallory Line) continued to offer passenger tickets between Brunswick and various locations up to the late 1930s or early 1940s, the Mallory Line Steamship Co. was sold in the early 1900s.

Author Captain Bruce Fendig explains in his book Brunswick: The Ocean Port of Georgia, "Steamship lines were being consolidated and purchased at a rapid pace after the turn of the century. Famous Wall Street finance tycoon, Charles W. Morse evidently acquired a fancy for the coastal shipping trade and ultimately purchased the Mallory Steamship Line in 1906..."

Although railroad expansion signaled the general demise of steamship travel, it was the car in the 1920s and early 1930s that would seal the fate.

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