Willacoochee Elementary School, 1924

I’ve always admired this unusually large wooden structure and until recently knew nothing of its history. It has been in an advanced state of decline for many years.

Harvey Williams notes that it was the elementary school (segregated) and later a coat factory, owned by Sheila Gaskins. It’s a very large school for such a small town, and may have served more grades when it was first built.

7 Comments

Filed under --ATKINSON COUNTY GA--, Willacoochee GA

7 responses to “Willacoochee Elementary School, 1924

  1. Susan Exum

    This was the original size of the gym. The office and library were located on the end with the sign. The rest of the building was turned into class rooms. The shelter was built on each side to help walking into classrooms. The canning plant was also on the property. Later, classes, the work roo m, and nurses station wasi n that building. Mobile units were brought in when Kindergarten began.

  2. Susan Exum

    This was the original site of the gym. The office and library were located on the end with the sign. The rest of the building was turned into class rooms. The shelter was built on each side to help walking into classrooms. The canning plant was also on the property. Later, classes, the work room, and nurses station wasi n that building.

  3. Susan Exum

    The above school was originally the gymnasium for the school building that burned. My mother was teaching summer school when it burned. My 8th grade class was the last to graduate from the old school. The gym was renovated into the school that is in this article. That’s why it’s such an unusual look for a school. After college, I came back in 1977 and taught there. It was closed when our new school was built. It was mentioned that this school was segregated. We integrated while I was in high school between 69 and 73, it was only segregated for a few years. I graduated in 1973 and we were integrated at that time. In 1977 I came back to this school to teach. I taught in this building until we were able to have a new school built. I retired from W.E.S. in 2012. From 1961- 2012, I was only gone 4 years to go to college and came right back.. That’s love for someone who lived next door in Berrien County. My mother(Sara Vickers) taught there 40 years. We all graduated from Atco High.

  4. ghsbp

    That’s the Willacoochee school gym. It was converted to classroom use in 1970 when the main school building burned down. A replacement school was finally built in 1986.
    The gym, which looks to be WPA era, was used for Willacoochee High School, which consolidated in 1955 with Pearson. Willacoochee continued as an elementary school afterwards. I haven’t tracked down where exactly the Black elementary school was in Willacoochee, but I’d figure it was very close to where the current elementary school is located.

    • Wow! Did they add on to the structure for use as a school? It would be the largest gym I’ve ever seen if it was merely a gym.

      • ghsbp

        The gym was big enough to convert into 10 classrooms, according to an article I have about its conversion after the fire. Looking at the photos, there doesn’t seem to have been any additions.

        It looks similar to the Enigma school gym, which was built in the 1930s. I’ve never been inside Willacoochee’s facility, but Enigma’s gym had two big classrooms at the front of the building, a stage at the end and 1-2 classrooms behind it. That’s in addition to a basement (which Willacoochee obviously doesn’t have). Oddly, Enigma’s gym was also put in classroom use a few years later after a fire, but Enigma brought in mobile units soon after.

  5. Carole DeMott

    You have the best pictures of Georgia. Many pictures that nobody but because of you, I’ve been able to enjoy them and others have too. Thank you ❤️

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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