On the Georgia coast, on neighboring quiet islands, two exceptional and historically interesting properties are currently on the market. On St. Simons Island, Georgia is the winter home of renowned painter Maxfield Parrish. And on neighboring Sea Island, Georgia is the spectacular home originally built by Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Eugene O’Neill.
Maxfield Parrish’s St. Simons Island Winter Retreat
In the early 1900s, distinguished painter Maxfield Parrish and his wife Lydia took breaks from the Pennsylvania winter at their retreat on St. Simons Island.
Maxfield Parrish was born in Philadelphia, the son of painter and etcher Stephen Parrish. Maxfield attended Haverford College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. A commission to illustrate “Mother Goose in Prose” in 1897 launched his formal career. He went on to illustrate a body of children’s’ books—his signature use of vivid colors led his illustrations to overshadow the authors and the books become known as “Parrish books.” In the 1910s and 1920s, he was commissioned by popular magazines including Colliers and Life and was a favorite of advertisers as well.
During their time on St. Simons Island, Maxfield’s wife, Lydia, became enchanted with African singing circles and songs that had been passed through generations of African-American slaves. She was dedicated to studying and preserving the tradition and published a collection of songs in 1942.
Parrish was one of the most successful illustrators and painters of his time and his style continues to influence artists today. His most famous painting, Daybreak, sold in 2006 for $7.6 million.
The five-bedroom, four-bath home is currently on the market for $1,090,000. The secluded estate is surrounded on three sides by marsh, a National Park and tidal creek. The home features fabulous handcrafted woodwork, an antique Fireplace from the 1700s, sunroom with Mexican tile, and a large sparkling gunite pool. Because of its location adjacent to the Bloody Marsh Battle Site, British, Spanish and Guale Indian artifacts from the property’s rich history continue to be unearthed. To see photos and for more information visit Hodnett Cooper Real Estate.
Eugene O’Neill’s Sea Island Home
The Sea Island home was built for the Eugene and his wife Carlotta O’Neill in 1931. They called the home “Casa Genotta,” a combination of their first names.
A groundbreaking playwright, Eugene O’Neill was among the first American playwrights to includes speeches in American vernacular and involve characters on the fringe of society. O’Neill’s first published play Beyond the Horizon opened on Broadway in 1920 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 1936, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His most notable plays include The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie (Pulitzer Prize 1922), Desire Under the Elms, Strange Interlude (Pulitzer Price 1928), Mourning Becomes Electra and The Iceman Cometh.
His only well-known comedy, Ah, Wilderness, was written at the Sea Island home. Perhaps a nod to the relaxed atmosphere of beachfront island living.
O’Neill is not only known for his work, but also his tumultuous personal life. At times in his life, he suffered from depression and alcoholism. He left Princeton University after only one year, with varying accounts regarding his departure/suspension. He married three times and had three children. In 1943, O’Neill disowned his daughter Oona for marrying Charlie Chaplin when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54.
After his death, Carlotta arranged for his autobiography, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, to be published and subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.
The beachfront home was built in the 1930s—the O’Neills resided in the home from 1932 to 1937. The second floor features a library designed to resemble a wooden ship where O’Neill did most of his writing while on Sea Island. Other features include seven bedrooms, six baths and an extraordinary brick-paved swimming pool area.
The home is currently on the market for $6,450,000. To see photos and for more information, visit Sea Island Properties.