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.
Tag Archives: North Georgia Schools
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
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
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
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.
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
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