Light on the Past

with Sarah Pearson Jones


Sarah Jones is the Assistant Director of the Tybee Island Light Station on Tybee Island. She and her husband Casey live here year-round.

I remember one particular trip down to Tybee after I started going out with my husband.  It was one night after we had eaten at his family’s restaurant and we were headed down to the beach.  We were driving down Highway 80 and we crossed over a street named Jones.

Trying to kid him I asked him jokingly if the street was named after him.  My jaw dropped when he said “No, it was named after my great uncle.”  I had never met anyone who had a street named after their family before.

This got me thinking on how many of the other streets on Tybee could be traced back to current Tybee families. The answer is that just about all of them except for the numbered ones can be. When I was hunting in the Society’s archives for something to write about this month I thought back to the streets and thought I’d give it a try.

Since I was running out of time, (sorry Cyndi, I will try not to wait until the last minute next month) my research time was limited.

Butler Avenue, named for E. George Butler once had a palm-lined median running the full length of the street from Tybee’s big curve southward to 16th Street, now known as Tybrisa Street. (Post card photo courtesy of the Tybee Island Historical Society)

My first resource was to ask some of the locals in the office, the locals in the office being Beth Hodges and Bonnie Hires. We basically decided that the numbered streets running east to west were called streets and the numbered streets running north to south were called avenues.

There are a lot of street signs that are for the same roads that read differently so this being the case I will stick with the above rule. Please if you know something about the streets that is not in this article let me know and I will add it to my database.  There is still a lot of research to do.

TYBEE STREETS and For Whom They Are Named:

Butler Avenue – Named for E. George Butler, Mayor 1922-1925
Jones Avenue – Named for Ronald R. Jones. Mayor of Tybee from 1940-1944
Miller Avenue – Named for Gordon Miller, Local Businessman
Lovell Avenue – Named for William S. Lovell, City Councilman 1950’s
Pulaski Avenue – Named for Casmir Pulaski, Revolutionary War Hero
Lewis Avenue – Named for J.C. Lewis, Mayor 1933-1934
Bright Avenue – Named for O.E. Bright, Mayor 1934-1938
Chatham Avenue – Named for Chatham County
Tybrisa Street – Named for Tybrisa Pier (Note: the locals still call it 16th Street)
Izlar Street – Named for Ernest Barton Izlar Sr., Local Business man

These are just a few of the major streets and many of these are still local names that have a very strong history on Tybee. What would you like to hear about next month? Send me an email and let me know – just be sure to put the story idea in the subject line and send it to

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