Tag Archives: Georgia Schools

Goulding House, Circa 1817, Lexington

The Presbyterian Church had a presence in this area in 1785, before the incorporation of Lexington or the establishment of Oglethorpe County. The missionary spirit which originally brought them to the community perhaps guided Liberty County native Reverend Thomas Goulding (1786-1848) in his creation of the Theological Seminary of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia at this site in 1828. [The structure was built as Goulding’s home circa 1817, though one source dates it to 1808]. The seminary moved to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1830, and remained under the direction of Reverend Goulding until 1834. The name of the school was changed to Columbia Theological Seminary in 1925, and though it moved to Decatur, Georgia, in 1927, it retains that name to this day. Over nearly two centuries, it has produced numerous prominent social, political, and religious leaders.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --OGLETHORPE COUNTY GA--, Lexington GA

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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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Cave Spring GA

Goodyear Elementary School, 1930, Rockmart

This elementary school, built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company soon after they opened a factory in Rockmart, is typical of other schools of the era. It is no longer in use. The Rockmart plant of Goodyear Tire & Rubber was responsible, for many years, for the production of the giant balloons used each year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Filed under --POLK COUNTY GA--, Rockmart GA

Hulett School, Carroll County

The community of Hulett, near Carrollton, is rapidly being lost to urbanization. The old school closed in 1950 and at one point served as a community center.

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Filed under --CARROLL COUNTY GA--, Hulett GA

Sparta Female Model School Dormitory, Circa 1815 & 1832

The Sparta Female Academy was established in 1832 by Sereno Taylor of Vermont. [Various sources also refer to it as the Taylor Female Academy, Sparta Female College, and Sparta Female Seminary]. It was supported by the Baptists. This and another renovated dormitory are all that survive of the historic boarding school. A preliminary evaluation by architect Brandy Morrison suggests that the rear section of this house is the earliest, circa 1815, with the front being added circa 1831.

After many years of neglect, the structure is finally getting some much-needed attention. Amber Rhea and Stacia Smith initiated a process of preservation in early 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has halted progress but Rhea and Smith are determined to see it through, whatever that entails.

A broadside dating to 8 December 1838 heralds the school’s reorganization and an enlargement of the course of study. The seven disciplines: Language; Mathematics; Cosmics; History; Geotics; Government; and Philosophy. Sereno Taylor was superintendent and a teacher in the Literary and Musical Departments. Five assistants were on staff, as well, with the expected arrival, in early 1839, of Madame Salmon Hantute of Paris, for the teaching of the French Language, Piano Forte, and Singing.

Annual tuition varied, dependent upon the level of instruction. It ranged from $25 for primary instruction to $125 for collegiate instruction. Musical instrument training was also on order, beginning with the piano forte, advancing to guitar, harp, and finally, organ.

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Sparta GA

Rockville Academy, 1889, Putnam County

Believed to be the first ‘consolidation academy’ in Georgia, Rockville was built as a one-story schoolhouse in 1889 and opened in January 1890. Consolidation academies grew out of a state directive to close numerous rural schools that had sprung up every few miles and consolidate the students into a centrally located ‘district’ school.

The academy was supported by the local Farmers Alliance and built on land donated by Henry DeJarnette, who served as chairman of the Board of Trustees tasked with locating and building the school. The first class consisted of 65 students and nine grades but grew rapidly. As a result, the structure was expanded and the second floor added in 1911. A tenth grade was added at this time. Much of the work was done by students in the academy’s progressive vocational program, said to be the first in the state.

Frank Branch, who served as Rockville’s first regular headmaster, was associated with the school for 22 years, later serving as president of Andrew College, the Georgia State College for Men in Tifton, and South Georgia College in McRae.

The economic woes of the 1920s and 1930s led to the decline of the community and school. In 1944, Rockville Academy closed. The property was restored by former students and descendants in recent years and they continue to maintain it.

Rockville Academy and St. Paul Methodist Church Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--, Rockville GA

Sautee-Nacoochee School, 1928

Built to replace the  historic Nacoochee Institute, which was lost to fire in 1926, the Sautee-Nacoochee School and associated structures are known today as the Sautee-Nacooche Cultural Center. The school was abandoned in 1970 and its restoration and creative use should serve as a model for other communities. The 8-acre campus is also home to the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.

Sautee Valley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --WHITE COUNTY GA--, Sautee-Nacoochee GA

Sautee-Nacoochee School Gymnasium, 1930s

This recently restored gymnasium was built in the late 1930s for use by the school and the community.

Sautee Valley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --WHITE COUNTY GA--, Sautee-Nacoochee GA

Martin Institute Mural, Jefferson

This mural in downtown Jefferson commemorates the Martin Institute, a coeducational center of learning first established as the Jackson County Academy in 1818. The name was changed around 1860 upon the bequest of a large monetary gift by the late Inferior Court Judge William Duncan Martin. The original home of the institute was burned in 1883 and replaced by the structured depicted here in 1886. The school’s reputation reached far beyond Jefferson; U. S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar was but one of its distinguished alumni. The Institute served the community until 1942, when it was the victim of an arsonist who turned out to be the son of the Jefferson Police Chief.

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

Hartwell City School, 1934

Built in the Georgian Revival style popular with public schoolhouses in the 1930s, the Hartwell Elementary School, as it’s now known, is still in use. It originally served grades 1-11. Atlanta architects Sidney S. Daniell and Russell Lee Beutell were responsible for the design. A WPA gymnasium (not pictured) was constructed in 1939.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --HART COUNTY GA--, Hartwell GA