Georgia Sandman uses skills to help restore historic hotel

Dylan Mulligan's final product of the St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
Dylan Mulligan's final product of the St. John the Baptist Cathedral.(William Harrell)
Published: Sep. 27, 2019 at 6:44 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Many of us have spent time on the beach building sandcastles, but one lawyer takes that a step further by using his side talent to preserve history.

“I guess you could say it is somewhat addictive, others might call it a passion. I work as a lawyer Monday through Friday, it’s a little stressful at times but this is a good release to come out and get your hands dirty in the sand,” said Georgia Sandman, Dylan Mulligan.

A passion that started for Mulligan just after he started walking.

Dylan Mulligan started building sandcastles at a young age.
Dylan Mulligan started building sandcastles at a young age.(Dylan Mulligan)

“Most of the years that I have built, I have built castles. They weren’t modeled after anything in particular. I just would make them up as I went, right out of my head,” said Mulligan.

Within the past year, Mulligan started creating sand sculptures of local landmarks such as Georgia lighthouses and the Tattnall County Courthouse in his hometown.

Seeing Mulligan’s creations online prompted an idea for local photographer William Harrell.

“I was down at St. John’s Cathedral early one morning before sunlight and I took a photograph and said he might be able to build this. Little did I know he already had the same idea in mind,” said photographer William Harrell.

St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Savannah.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Savannah.(William Harrell)

“My passion is history, particularly historic buildings. I have always loved historic preservation. So I got to thinking, I said you know, I could turn this into a good way to highlight old historic buildings,” said Mulligan.

"There’s a combination of things that draw me to photography and to what Mr. Mulligan is doing. It highlights coastal and historical conservation. This project kind of blends those two things together,” Harrell said.

By using Harrell’s photos, Mulligan crafted the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Pelican Island near Tybee Island.

After over seven hours and about 100 gallons of water, what was just a portion of a sandbar turned into the spitting image of the historic structure.

As impressive as this sand sculpture is, there is another building that hits closer to home.

“Anything that I am able to generate goes to a historic preservation project in my hometown. I am part of a group called ‘Friends of the Glennwannis Hotel.’ We have been working at it for a number of years. Our goal is to restore it as our local museum and community center,” said Mulligan.

Dylan is working on restoring the Glennwanis Hotel in Glennville, Georgia
Dylan is working on restoring the Glennwanis Hotel in Glennville, Georgia(Dylan Mulligan)

A goal that Mulligan works to achieve, one shovel at a time.

“I love being on the coast, I have grown up on the Georgia coast all my life, I love being out here in God’s creation and being able to do something like this is just therapeutic," says Mulligan.

You can find out how to help the Georgia Sandman reach his goal by contacting Dylan Mulligan here.

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