The Guard House
- ADA Accessible
- Indoor Cooling
- Meeting Rooms
The Guard House is located on the north end of the island in the National Historic Fort Screven District next to Jaycee Park at the intersection of Campbell Road on Van Horn Street. The Guard House is within walking distance to the Lighthouse and North Beach.
The buttercream yellow exterior of the Guard House features the original veranda, which extends around three-quarters of the building. On one side, the porch wraps around overlooking the park. On the opposite side, steps lead to a shaded area with three picnic tables and a grill. Within this area, there is also a separate small porch on the rear side of the building that features an elevator lift to accommodate any ADA needs.
The interior of the Guard House is mainly composed of two spacious, bright and airy rooms. There is a kitchen area, two bathrooms, and two small storage areas in addition to the entertaining space provided by the large wrap around porch. The front room has restored woodwork, windows, and hardwood floors. The walls are a traditional authentic pastel hue with framed historic documentation of the Guard House on display. The back tiled room, with tin detailing, is larger and an ideal space to set up tables to create a formal dining area. The old ceiling and walls have been exposed to show the decorative tin features as the room once had been. The walls are covered with checkerboard-patterned tin and the 10-foot-high ceiling is covered with beautifully ornate pressed tin. There is a kitchen attached to the back room that has been remodeled with up-to-date appliances including a dishwasher, microwave, oven, stove, refrigerator, freezer, sink, and cabinet plus drawer space for storage with counter space prep area. The addition of the rear small porch features a door by the kitchen, which creates a separate entrance for caterers and other services to use so they do not interfere with the main rooms during the event. The facility rental includes tables and folding chairs.
The historic Fort Screven Guard House was constructed by the United States Army on Tybee Island in 1906, which during its military life was at the entrance to Fort Screven and served as a headquarters for the soldiers who guarded the post and also as a brig for “unruly” troops. It was closed in the 1940's with the decommissioning and sale of Fort Screven. Its role continued briefly as the Tybee Jail in the 1950's and 1960's, and transitioned into the Tybee Island Community Center in the 1970's. During these decades modifications were made to suite the different uses. In effort to return Fort Screven to its former splendor, the Guard House underwent a restoration that removed these modifications and restored the original plan and finishes as much as possible. As work began it was discovered that the building, although of a standardized design used throughout the Army, had been adorned with decorative features and paint schemes uncharacteristic of what might logically be associated with military installations of the period. The Guard House, was “rehabilitated” to reflect elements of the U.S. Army post it once was, not to replicate it. The restoration was completed in 2007.
Historic Fort Screven (1898 - 1945) : The Fort Screven District is a nationally recognized Historic District that has been “described as one of the most beautiful Army installations in the United States.” The first buildings to be built for Fort Screven were the six Endicott Period Batteries that would be used for coastal defense. All of which were constructed between the years of 1899 to 1900.
With the advent of the airplane, Endicott Batteries soon became obsolete, and during World War I, all of the guns were dismantled and sent to Europe. Even though the fort was still classified as a Coastal Artillery base, troops trained at Fort Screven during this time. It wasn’t until the end of World War I when the 8th Infantry was stationed at Fort Screven that it became a true infantry base.
During World War II Fort Screven was once again given a new purpose. It became the only U.S. Army Engineer Diving and Salvage Training School in the nation, training engineers in Port repair and construction as well as underwater demolition.