Category Archives: Cave Spring GA

Cave Entrance, 1930s, Cave Spring

This structure, built of local stone by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, marks the entrance to the limestone cave which gives the community its name. Two million gallons flow daily from the source, which has been a landmark since long before the establishment of the town in 1832.

In 1931 Dr. J. B. Rolater deeded the cave and 29 adjacent acres to the people of Cave Spring for use as a public park. In the early days local residents were allowed to tour the cave for free, while tourists were charged ten cents.

Rolater Park Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Hearn Academy, 1910, Cave Spring

Hearn Academy was established by the Baptists as the Manual Labor School [a permanent school of high order] in 1838, to teach boys agricultural and other life skills. Tuition was paid by work on area farms. A generous endowment from the estate of Lott O. Hearn in 1846, realized from the posthumous sale of 12 slaves, gave the school the name Hearn Manual Labor School.

Reorganized as a more comprehensive institution in 1903, it was renamed Hearn Academy. After a fire, the original school building was replaced with the present structure in 1910. It closed in 1925, with the rise of public state-funded schools in the area.

It remains an anchor of historic Cave Spring and is used for a number of public and private events.

Rolater Park Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Cave Spring Baptist Church, 1851

Cave Spring Baptist Church [presently First Baptist Church of Cave Spring] was constituted on 24 September 1836 and is third oldest Baptist congregation in Northwest Georgia. Before this elegantly simple Greek Revival structure was built in 1851, they met in a general store and a dormitory of the Hearn School. Early members were instrumental in the establishment of the Georgia School for the Deaf.

As the congregation grew in the early 20th century, they decided to build a new church home, selling this structure in 1931 to Dr. Joseph Rolater for inclusion in a community park. It remains a beloved reminder of simpler times.

Rolater Park Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Avery Vann Cabin, 1810, Cave Spring

This hand-hewn cabin was built by Avery Vann, Jr., (1770-1845). Vann, a Scottish trader who married a Cherokee woman, was the brother of Cherokee Chief James Vann and his prominence in the area led to its designation as Vann’s Valley.

For many years, the structure was hidden within the walls of the old Webster-Green Hotel in downtown Cave Spring. When the hotel faced eminent demolition in 2009, the Cave Spring Historical Society led the effort to save the cabin and their work revealed this important aspect of Georgia history. After extensive research and careful restoration, the cabin was opened to the public in 2016. It is believed to be the second oldest extant Native American two-story residential structure.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

 

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Neoclassical Revival House, Cave Spring

Recent real estate listings state that this house is “pre-Civil War”.  The Neoclassical remodeling dates around 1900.

Cave Spring Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Antebellum House, Cave Spring

Cave Spring Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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William S. Simmons Plantation, 1840s, Cave Spring

The vernacular Greek Revival main house of the William S. Simmons Plantation, along with the adjacent Vann cookhouse, are two of the oldest extant brick structures in Floyd County. I was invited to photograph them earlier this year by owner Kristi Reed and am so glad I finally got to experience the charms of this important property, which continues to be a working farm. Kristi is very passionate about the Simmons Plantation and much of the following history is taken from her research. [PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY AND IT IS CLOSELY MONITORED FOR TRESPASSING]

Hidden in plain sight at the edge of downtown Cave Spring, the circa 1845-1847 landmark is built of handmade brick [18″ exterior walls/14″interior walls] and contains nine rooms, some of which retain hand-painted frescoes original to the house. It has also been known as the Montgomery Farm or Montgomery House, for subsequent owners.

As historically important as the main house, the double-pen brick cookhouse behind it was likely built no later than the mid-1820s by David Vann. Its initial use is not known, but considering that Vann was a wealthy planter who owned as many as 13 slaves, it is possible that it served as a slave dwelling before being relegated to use as a kitchen upon construction of the Simmons House. Vann, who was born at Cave Spring [Vann’s Valley] in 1800, was a member of one of the most prominent families of the Cherokee Nation and had a plantation house here preceding the Simmons house. [An interesting aside: Vann was the great-uncle of American humorist Will Rogers].

David Vann was a Cherokee sub-chief and after emigrating to the Indian Terriotry [present-day Oklahoma] in the mid-1830s, later served as Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. He was murdered by a group of “Pin Indians” at Salina, Indian Territory, on 23 December 1863 and was buried at Haner Cemetery in Murphy. According to the Encylopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture, the derogatory term “Pin Indians” was applied by Treaty Party Cherokees to hostile, pro-Union Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole during the Civil War. The Pins were identified by cross pins worn on their coat lapels or calico shirts. They were disproportionately full bloods, wore turbans, adhered to the long-house culture, and were politically opposed to the frock-coated mixed-bloods who adhered to Southern white cultural norms and belonged to the Knights of the Golden Circle.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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