Lilly School, 1912, Dooly County

On my return photo trip to Lilly I was lucky enough to meet Mike Bowen, who shared the history of the school and the church across the street. He also let me go inside and look around, which I greatly appreciated. The school was built by Governor George Busbee’s father, Perry, at a cost of $1500. Though monies were appropriated several years ago for restoration, it has never been completed. Mike reports that a buyer with a mind toward preservation is planning to restore it. Janis McGough Taylor added this to the history: My great-grandfather James E. McGough donated the land for this building. My father, uncles and aunt attended here as did my mother and her sister. My great grandfather’s house was a large 2 story in the lot beside the school. It burned after he died in about 1939. My father had many cousins who attended here, also. They went home for lunch (dinner in the south) but my mother had to bring her lunch as they lived out in the country.

The wainscoating is found throughout and one of the rooms even has the original blackboards.

The Lilly School is one of just a few surviving schoolhouses in Georgia with an auditorium on the second floor.  Betsy McGriff notes that the old Stillmore School (recently burned) had one and Rebecca Wind states that the old Atkinson County High School building in Pearson also has one. It’s quite an interesting feature, as the following photos will attest. The chairs are not original to the building; they were surplus, given by a school in Wilcox County.

Lilly Historic District, National Register of Historic Places



10 thoughts on “Lilly School, 1912, Dooly County

  1. Victor McGough

    The schoolhouse has been restored and last I heard there were some kind of productions put on there.

  2. Victor McGough

    My father attended this school as he grew up in Lilly. I have his diploma signed by the super of schools, his Uncle Hugh McGough. Every so often there was a big gathering in school downstairs, maybe monthly. Some organization, maybe Grange, would host it. There was a big meeting downstairs following a buffet supper. All the ladies in the community would bring a covered dish and barbecue & Brunswick Stew was supplied by the organizers. The floors were soaked in oil. I had on a pair of white sneakers which got all black. A number of kids were barefoot and the bottoms of their feet were black. At one meeting the highlight of the meeting was my great uncle, Walker McGough, showing slides of his trip to Wash. DC. I never saw the auditorium upstairs as the meeting were always downstairs. I did sneak into the upstairs once when I needed to use the restroom, but never ventured to any other part. At one time a group of women in Lilly had a thrift store where the proceeds were to go to restore to schoolhouse. All of those nice ladies have since passed on. I’m glad the schoolhouse will be restored. Keep the photos coming.

  3. Betsy McGriff

    There was a school in Stillmore – David Emanuel Academy (Emanuel, County) that had an upstairs auditorium, but it burned 3 or 4 years ago. I’m sure there are still picture it floating around somewhere.

  4. Fred Gleaton

    That is truly a wonderful building. I cannot believe a wooden school structure with 100 years of that oil stuff that they used to “dust mop” the floors in such buildings never caught fire and burned. I hope it can be saved. Sadly, the great old school in Warwick (brick) was torn down several years ago.

    1. John

      the old schoolhouse in Warwick was not torn down but moved by a couple to Sylvester and now used as their home.


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