Dear Call Box: I was calling to see if there are tours offered of the Jekyll “cottages.”

 

S.C., Jacksonville

Dear S.C.: Yes, there are year-round opportunities to visit the “cottages” of Jekyll Island that were once owned by a syndicate of the nation’s wealthiest millionaires and are now owned by the state of Georgia. The club era was 1886-1942 with the state buying the island in 1947. There are various guided tours. Among the options are:

• A 90-minute tram tour of the National Historic Landmark District with entry to two cottages and Faith Chapel, which contains a stained-glass window created by Louis Comfort Tiffany. For information or to purchase tickets, call (912) 635-4036.

• Tour of Indian Mound, the ornate three-story mansion of Standard Oil co-founder William Rockefeller and his wife, Almira, which boasted an elevator from their palatial living room to the grand master bedroom and nine bathrooms. It also includes a visit to Faith Chapel. Call (912) 635-4036.

• A horse-drawn carriage tour, which lasts about 35 minutes and does not include entry to the cottages. Call (912) 635-9500.

• A tour of the Jekyll Island Club Resort, once the Jekyll Island Clubhouse. Though it’s a private hotel, tours are available to the public. But call in advance at (912) 635-5222 to see when one is scheduled and to make reservations. Cost is $15 per person.

• Tickets to visit Faith Chapel alone also are available. For information call (912) 635-4036.

The Jekyll Island Museum at 100 Stable Road is home to the Jekyll Island Museum and a gateway for some of the tours. The museum houses a natural history and archaeology exhibit, a history of Jekyll exhibit and store. Its number is (912) 635-4036.

For more information on the tours, go to jekyllisland.com. According to the website, there are also ranger walks. For more information, contact park ranger Ray Emerson at remerson@jekyllisland.com. Reservations are required.

Dear Call Box: There used to be a phone number that you could call to obtain the correct time. But I can’t remember the number. Can you tell me if it still exists?

C.S., Jacksonville

Dear C.S.: It’s comforting to know that there are some institutions that go back to rotary phone days that are still around. To our surprise, we called the familiar number, (904) 358-1212, and all these years later, a male voice gave the time and temperature. There are even several internet threads devoted to the “time of day” era.

In Jacksonville some said it was sponsored through the years by various banks and that apparently at one point it was no longer in service. It is now sponsored by a discount dental care service.

Update: We recently did a column on the old Springfield Library at 10th and Silver streets, and a reader referred us to Ann Graddy, who lives in West Palm Beach. Graddy’s brother, Bill Summers, worked at the Springfield Library as a page shelving books during his high school years in the late 1940s. The children’s books were on the second floor.

“It was very difficult,” she said. “They used to pull the books by rope up to the second floor when they were returned because the house wasn’t built to be a library. It was a home.”

Graddy recalls curling up with a book on a second-floor window seat. Here she crossed the prairie with Laura Ingalls Wilder and went 20,000 leagues under the sea with Capt. Nemo. When she was 8 or 9, she was allowed to pick out her own books. She decided reading fiction was “frivolous” so for every fiction book she read, she perused a non-fiction work. Then she made a rule to read one genre every summer. Once it was history, once Westerns, once science fiction and so on.

“To a child, it was a magical enchanted place,” she said of the library, adding that as a teen she did a bit of innocent courting on the library porch with the son of the pastor of the Lutheran church across the street.

As an adult, it seemed inevitable that she would become a librarian. Her father, Wesley Summers, was a librarian in Jacksonville. Her late brother served as president of the American Library Association, director of the State Library of Florida and dean of the School of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University. He even married the assistant state librarian.

Graddy said her husband used to joke that he had to learn the Dewey Decimal System before he could talk to her family.

Submit questions by calling (904) 359-4622 or mailing to Call Box, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231. Please include contact information. If you have a picture to offer with your question, feel free to send it.

Sandy Strickland: (904) 359-4128