Tag Archives: North Georgia Schools

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

Chattooga Academy, 1836, LaFayette

When Chattooga was established as the seat of Walker County in 1835, the Georgia General Assembly authorized the construction of an academy for boys and girls to be located in the town. The name of the town was changed to LaFayette in 1836, but the academy, which opened its doors to students during the 1837-38 school year, continued to be called Chattooga. Sometime before the Civil War, it became known as LaFayette Academy. During the Civil War, the academy served as a temporary headquarters of Confederate General Braxton Bragg during the Battle of Chickamauga. It served students of LaFayette until the early 1920s, when a modern high school was built.

In 1924, the building was purchased by three women’s clubs. Local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as the Women’s Club of LaFayette raised money and remodeled the interior for use as a meeting place. In 1925, they re-christened it John B. Gordon Hall, in memory of the Confederate General and former Georgia governor and U. S. Senator who had been an early student at the academy. It’s likely the cannon ball pyramid was placed around this time, but I’m not sure. Due to vandalism and high upkeep costs, the women’s clubs deeded the structure back to the Walker County Board of Education, which then deeded it to the city of LaFayette. The Chamber of Commerce began renovation of the academy in 1971 and occupied it for many years thereafter.

Today it is part of the Joe Stock Memorial Park, a wonderful green space which also features the Marsh House. It is thought to be the oldest standing brick schoolhouse in Georgia. Another recent renovation in 2009 has insured that it will be around for many years to come. It now houses as a small museum and tourism office.

National Register of Historic Places


Filed under --WALKER COUNTY GA--, LaFayette GA

Old Mountville Elementary School, 1941, Troup County


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Filed under --TROUP COUNTY GA--, Mountville GA