The opening of the exclusive Jekyll Island Club in 1886 marked the coming of the effects of the Industrial Revolution to the Deep South and the rejuvenation of regional economies. In Savannah , the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, the South’s first art museum, opened that same year. The cotton trade built back to antebellum levels and the South was on the long road to recovery.
The Spanish-American War of 1898 was a major turning point for the South, the first time since the Civil War that Americans were joined in patriotic unity. The southeastern coast felt this in particular, as it was a staging area for the invasion of Cuba. President McKinley himself addressed the troops bivouacked in Savannah’s Daffin Park , and Charlestonians cheered the exploits of their namesake heavy cruiser the USS Charleston, which played a key role in forcing the Spanish surrender of Guam.
Charleston  would elect its first Irish American mayor, John Grace, in 1911, who would serve until 1923 (with a break in 1915–1919). Though it wouldn’t open until 1929, the first Cooper River Bridge joining Charleston with Mount Pleasant was the child of the Grace administration, credited today for modernizing the Holy City’s infrastructure (as well as tolerating high levels of vice during Prohibition).
The arrival of the tiny but devastating boll weevil all but wiped out the cotton trade on the coast after the turn of the century, forcing the economy to diversify. Naval stores and lumbering were the order of the day at the advent of World War I, the combined patriotic effort for which did wonders in repairing the wounds of the Civil War, still vivid in many local memories.
A major legacy of World War I that still greatly influences life in the Lowcountry is the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island, which began life as a small Marine camp in 1919.