TYBEE ISLAND, Georgia — Of Tybee Island, “It’s the best place to get on the water in a kayak,” writes, Explorer’s Guide The Charleston, Savannah & Coastal Islands Book by Cecily McMillan.
More of Tybee Island’s Little Know Facts: “By the summer of 1888, Savannahians began flocking to Tybee Island in record numbers, traveling the rails of the Savannah and Tybee Railroad….” -Source: Rebels, Saints and Sinners: Savannah’s Rich History and Colorful Personalities, by Timothy Daiss.
The last run on the Central of Georgia’s Tybee District [train] occurred on July 31, 1933, when engine 329 pulled eight coaches of a Central of Georgia Railway Clerk’s Organization picnic special to Tybee and back. The rails were removed beginning in September, 1933. –Source: Right Way Magazine, December 20, 1958.
“Marsh Hen Limited” was the name the school children of Tybee gave the train. They dared anyone else other than students to enter and ride to school into town with them. Rolls of tissue were fluttered and rolled out of the train windows, creating great fun for all but the trainmen. At times, kind trainmen offered rides sitting behind the fireman for the ringing of the bell. Another treat was watching the train being turned on the turntable. In summer the children picked blackberries as the train pulled aside to allow the other train to pass.” Source: Tybee Tales: Tybee Island (Savannah Beach) Georgia, by Polly Marsh.
From the author’s description, the kids commuted to school in Savannah on the train. Ms. Marsh also writes that the terminal was on Inlet Avenue, just south of Chatham Avenue, and that the crews blew the whistle every morning at 5:55 am to alert the residents of the impending 6:00 am departure. “For those not interested in time or departure from Tybee, the whistle was real annoyance.”
Another Tybee Island historical tidbit: Fort Screven was home to an American military base that was active from the Spanish-American War of 1898 through the end of World War II. General George C. Marshall was commander at Fort Screven (at the time Lt. Colonel Marshall). He is perhaps best known for the Marshall Plan that assisted damaged European countries to repair factories, improve farming, rebuild schools, and restore towns after World War II.