As drivers cross Georgia’s Downing Musgrove Causeway, the road begins to empty. Nine miles ahead, they arrive on Jekyll Island—one of the Golden Isles of Georgia. Mammoth oak trees, some several hundred years old, surround the lane that leads to Jekyll Island Club Resort. Here, horse-drawn carriages seemingly transport islanders back in time and across 240 acres of historical grounds.
Founded in 1886, Jekyll Island Club Resort was designed by Charles A. Alexander who was commissioned to design and build a 60-room clubhouse to serve as a private winter hunting retreat for its elite members. Families such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Pulitzers would travel to the Golden Isles in January and spend three months enjoying a simpler life.
Ten years later and a few hundred feet away, San Souci, the first condominium in the U.S., was built with six units and became part of the resort. In 1901, an annex was constructed to meet expanding needs. During the next few years, club members began building cottages for more wide-ranging and private accommodations.
Soon after, a golf course, marina, swimming pool, tennis courts, and bocce and croquet lawns were built. But after the Great Depression, club membership declined by half. During WWII, members were ordered to evacuate because of the threat of enemy submarines off the coast. The members never returned, and in 1948, the island was sold to the state of Georgia. In 1987, the resort held a grand reopening with renewed public interest and has since become the backdrop for movies such as “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
In 2017, Hurricane Irma crossed the island and caused sustained damage throughout the property. The resort’s historic preservationist, Taylor Davis, selected Bone Dry Roofing Co., Bogart, Ga., to help install new roof systems.
“I was impressed with Bone Dry Roofing’s attention to detail and thoroughness during the bidding process,” Davis says.
In February 2019, Bone Dry Roofing began work on the Jekyll Island Club Resort project that encompassed installing asphalt shingle roof systems on five buildings within the National Landmark Historic District.
“All were individually challenging because of the historically sensitive nature of the irreplaceable structures, not to mention the extreme size, slope and scale of them,” Davis says.
The largest resort structure is the clubhouse with an attached annex. The 157-room, multistoried building includes 28 chimneys, countless intersecting planes, low and steep slopes, multiple covered porches, a conical-shaped roof tower and an integrated gutter system.
“With more than 64,000 square feet of roofing and more than 180 facets, reroofing the resort proved to be a lengthy, tedious process,” says Chad Collins, president and co-owner of Bone Dry Roofing. “The main challenge was to perform work in a way not to impede or impair the functionality of the resort.”
The resort remained occupied and fully functional during the reroofing process. In addition, working in hot and humid southern Georgia spring temperatures with no sun coverage can cause heat-related illnesses, so Bone Dry Roofing ensured its crew remained hydrated.
“There were a lot of moving parts on this project that were handled extremely well and without incident,” Davis says. “It was evident that worker and guest safety was the highest priority while not sacrificing the quality or timeliness of the project all while keeping the work site clean and orderly.”
No closures were allowed, so the crew had to work as cleanly and quietly as possible. Every Friday, workers wrapped up and cleaned all work in progress to show no signs of construction.
“Regardless of progress, ‘leave no trace’ was in full effect every week and weekend for the duration of the project,” Collins says. “This led to its own challenges as the tear-off process and elements one would normally see, such as dumpsters, lifts and trucks, needed to be away from the building to not disturb hotel operations.”
Because no true reroofing work had ever been done on the property throughout the years, workers removed three layers of asphalt shingles affixed to the wood deck.
“Although this wasn’t a large challenge, it included extra man-hours of having to remove additional debris without being seen or heard by resort guests,” Collins explains.
After Bone Dry Roofing workers made deck repairs, they fastened GAF Feltbuster® underlayment to the wood decks followed by GAF Timberline® HD™ asphalt shingles in Weathered Wood.
To complete the turret, the hotel’s focal point, workers used a large manlift. Because the lift was staged in front of the resort’s entryway, workers were under a tight schedule.
“We are thankful the process went so smoothly,” Collins says. “Although logistically it was not ideal for the building owners, the staff and patrons were happy to watch work being completed on the final finishing touches.”
In addition to the roof systems, Bone Dry Roofing craftsmen custom-built and installed an internal aluminum gutter lined with TPO membrane.
“Knowing this will be a large water collection source because of a higher roof above, it was necessary to make sure this particular application was engineered to have no future issues,” Collins says.
Additionally, because of the resort’s proximity to saltwater air, Bone Dry Roofing craftsmen built all flashings from .032-inch-thick aluminum.
Restored and preserved
In May 2019, Bone Dry Roofing completed work on the Jekyll Island Club Resort. Despite challenges in logistics and the weather, work was completed on time and without incident.
“Bone Dry Roofing did an outstanding job,” Davis says. “They had the unenviable task of working on this immense and difficult historical resort that did not cease operations during the project,” Davis says. “I cannot speak highly enough of Bone Dry Roofing.”
Collins says the most rewarding part of working on the project was being part of Georgia’s Golden Isles’ history.
“The property means so much to so many families and is part of traditions, memories and stories that date back for generations,” he says. “Anytime you are involved with a project that triggers so much emotion and interest, it’s incredibly rewarding to see expectations met and exceeded. We will forever be part of the property’s unique existence and are grateful for the trust that was placed in us to restore and preserve these historical structures.”
Project name: Jekyll Island Club Resort
Project location: Jekyll Island, Ga.
Project duration: February–May 2019
Roof system type: Asphalt shingle
Roofing contractor: Bone Dry Roofing Co., Bogart, Ga.
Roofing manufacturers: Carlisle Construction Materials, Carlisle, Pa.; GAF, Parsippany, N.J.