TwHP Lessons

Frederica: An 18th-Century
Planned Community

[Cover photo] Remains of the King's magazine, Fort Frederica National Monument.
(Photo by Ed Mathews)

[Cover photo] Defense remains, Fort Frederica National Monument.
(Fort Frederica National Monument)


n the serene, isolated west shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, the ruins of a once-flourishing 18th-century settlement stand. A powder magazine overlooks Frederica River, a reminder of the fort that protected the British colonies against the Spanish during the early 18th-century struggle for control of the southern frontier of English occupation in the New World. The excavated foundations of various structures remind visitors that from 1736 until 1758, the planned community of Frederica served the military garrison quartered there and housed a population of up to 1,000.

Strolling along the now-abandoned streets, it is easy to imagine laughing children playing under the shade of the live oaks festooned with gray Spanish moss. The gentle coastal breezes brushing by Broad Street recall a time when the air was filled with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread being taken from the public ovens. Other smells and sounds are easy to evoke: the acrid odor of smoke rising from summer fires built both inside and outside the houses to ward off menacing insects, the bang of shutters as merchants open their shops for the morning business, and the quiet rustling of women’s skirts as they perform their everyday housekeeping chores.

In 1736 a group of British colonists led by Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, a member of the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, arrived at St. Simons Island. The colony that was organized and administered by the trustees offered hope to the unemployed in Great Britain and freedom for persecuted Protestant immigrants in Germany. As a planned community, only those people with needed skills and crafts were chosen as Frederica’s first colonists. In their pursuit of opportunities in a new land, these colonists met and overcame great challenges in an unfamiliar and difficult environment, and they endured the continuing conflict between Spain and Great Britain.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. British and Spanish claims in the southeast
 2. Southeast Atlantic coastline from Charleston,
 South Carolina to Fort Matanzas, Florida

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Building a Planned Community
 2. War and Decline

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Plan of Frederica, prepared
 by Joshua E. Miller, 1743-48

 2. Plan of Frederica and Fort Frederica
 3. A typical house along Frederica’s
 thoroughfare, Broad Street

 4. Francis Moore House foundation

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Living in Frederica
 2. Reconstruction or Preservation?
 3. Moving Day
 4. Planned Communities

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Fort Frederica National Monument

This lesson is based on the Fort Frederica National Monument, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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