Tag Archives: Georgia Schools

Shiloh School, Wheeler County

This historic rural schoolhouse is located across the highway from Shiloh United Methodist Church. I’m unsure as to its name but am identifying it by the community in which its located. I’ll update if I learn more.

Giddens School, Dodge County

The signage on the porch gable displays the years 1883, 1947, and 1985. I believe the school was established in 1883 and closed in 1947. This schoolhouse does not date to 1883 but was probably built circa 1910s-1920s to replace an earlier building. 1985 was perhaps the date the signage was placed, or the year of a reunion.

Cedar Grove School, 1926, Laurens County

This historic schoolhouse, built in 1926 and expanded in the late 1930s, was the center of the Cedar Grove community, and after a complete restoration in 2019 still serves the area today [most recently as the Cedar Grove Opry]. The school closed in 1970.

If you’re of a certain age [like me], you remember these old merry-go-rounds from your school playground. This one still works.

This was likely the teacherage [teacher’s housing].

Oconee High School, 1952, Dublin

Oconee High School Gymnasium, Circa 1952

Oconee High School was the black high school in Dublin from 1952 until its closure in 1972. Like most equalization schools, it had a relatively short history, but an active national alumni association keeps its memory alive. The gymnasium, football field, and one other building [which I haven’t identified] survive, but the school itself is long gone.

Oconee High School, Unidentified Building

A marker placed by the alumni association gives a brief overview of the school’s history: In 1952, land was purchased from W. H. Lovett to build a new high school for African “colored” American students replacing Washington Street High. The school was named by Marine C. Bacote after the Oconee River nearby. It was the home of the “Mighty Trojans”, the “Blue and Gold” our sons shall ever defend. Lucius T. Bacote served as the first principal (1952-1959); he was succeeded by Charles W. Manning, Sr. (1959-1970). The school’s spirit of excellence, pride, and philosophy were the foundation for the success of African-American students during segregation.

The gymnasium and football field are still used as community resources today, as the Oconee Community Center, administrated by the Dublin-Laurens County Recreation Authority.

Middlebrooks House – Sparta Female Dormitory, 1832

According to local sources, this was one of three dormitories of the Sparta Female Model School, built between 1831-1832. In contrast to the other existing dormitory, this one is in good condition and has been a residence for many years.


Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Elam Baptist Church, Four Points

Established in 1842, the congregation of Elam Baptist Church was a major factor in the settlement of the surrounding area. The original church is no longer standing but congregants moved into the old school, saving it in the process.

Lawrenceville Female Seminary, 1855

A young ladies’ finishing school known as the Lawrenceville Female Seminary was established here in 1838. One of the trustees, Daniel Killian, was responsible for its construction. That structure, apparently very similar to this one, was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the present structure in 1855. It served as a seminary until 1886. In its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, it was described as simple, rather masculine, late-Federal early-Greek Revival. It is the most significant early public structure surviving in Lawrenceville.

The Lawrenceville Masonic Lodge No. 181 began using the second floor in 1860 and made it their home until the 1970s. Over the years the lower floor was occupied by various tenants and was also used as a public gathering place. It serves as the Gwinnett History Museum today.

National Register of Historic Places

Rose Hill Seminary Headmaster’s House, 1850s, Talbotton

If the resource I’ve used is correct, this structure was known as the Johnson cabin and expanded circa 1855 into the present Greek Revival form for use as the headmaster’s home. It is the last surviving significant structure of the Rose Hill Seminary, established by Zion Episcopal Church founder Reverend Richard Johnson, who came to Talbotton in 1846. The expansion of the house may have taken place at the direction of Reverend Wesley Gahagan, who came to Talbotton in 1852 to manage the school. Reverend Gahagan died in 1857 and the school closed soon thereafter. [Thanks to Jim Bruce for further confirming some of this history].

Trae Ingram notes that the house suffered serious damage during a tornado a few years ago.

Boggs Academy, Burke County

The Reverend Dr. John L. Phelps (8 December 1866-15 November 1937), a reform-minded Presbyterian minister, established Boggs Academy in 1906, and gave a detailed account of its origins in “A New Institution – Boggs Academy“, published in the June 1911 edition of the Home Mission Monthly, a journal of the Woman’s Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. It’s amazing that this small, church-based school, established at a time of particularly bad race relations in the South, grew to become one of the most respected black boarding schools in the United States throughout its nearly 80 years of operation.

Boggs Dining Hall, 1924, rear view. This structure, the oldest remaining on campus, is in immediate need of stabilization.

He wrote: In the early summer of 1906…the idea of a Presbyterian Church and industrial school for colored people in the rural district of Burke County, Georgia, took its beginning...I was anxious to go with my family into the darkest corner, and…work among the negroes of the “quarter” and on the large cotton plantations, were it not for the race prejudice and the misunderstandings that are certain to cause dangerous friction. [I was assured] that the better element of the white people stood ready to co-operate…[with] good wishes and financial help…

Morgan Chapel and Manse Across the street from the Boggs Memorial Building. Published in the Home Mission Monthly, June 1911. Public domain. [This building burned in the late 1920s* and was replaced with the Memorial . -*Some sources note that Morgan Chapel burned in 1930; however, a bronze plaque on the Blackburn building dates to 1928.]

A church was opened for worship in the community in December 1906 with eight original members. It was named Morgan Grove Presbyterian Church, for Morgan Walker, who gave the land on which the church was built. I believe it may have been associated with another black Presbyterian congregation known as Spread Oak but haven’t confirmed that yet.

Virginia Boggs Memorial Hall near Keysville, Burke County, Georgia April 1910. Published in the Home Mission Monthly, June 1911. Public domain. [This building has long been lost though I’m unsure as to a date].

In January 1907, a school was opened within the walls of the church, and named Boggs Academy, for Virginia P. Boggs, who served for many years as the Corresponding Secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen.

Rev. John I. Blackburn Memorial, 1928
John I. Blackburn Presbyterian Church, (Annex), 1962

At the time of Phelps’s 1911 article, the campus consisted of six buildings situated on 40 acres. The Virginia P. Boggs Memorial Hall, which cost $5000 to build, was the main school building. The four acres on which it stood were donated by R. C. Neely of Waynesboro, whom Phelps considered “one of the school’s best friends”. Enrollment was around 100 students, with four teachers. Two were paid by the Freedmen’s Board of the Presbyterian Church and the other two were paid by the Burke County Board of Education. 25% of the students in 1911 were boarders from other communities. Focus in the earliest days was on normal and domestic curriculum, with industrial and agricultural instruction coming later. Boggs Academy held twice-yearly farmers’ conferences to help educate local black farmers on newer and more economical methods of production and they were supported by white farmers in this endeavor.

Boggs Academy President’s House, 1928

After a long and prosperous history, Boggs Academy officially ceased operation in 1986. The last class matriculated in 1984. An active alumni association still keeps the history of the institution alive and takes a keen interest in its preservation.

Dairy Building
C. W. Francis Community House (Gymnasium), 1958. Named for Rev. C. W. Francis, a former superintendent.
Classroom Wing & Shop, 1950s. This structure was used for vehicle maintenance, Shop classes, and the Home Economics and Science laboratory.
Swimming Pool & Pool House, 1973
Mural, 2007
Phelps Building, 1967. Toombs, Amisano & Wells, Architects.

The newest structure on campus, the Phelps Building was constructed during the administration of Dr. Harold N. Stinson.

It is still used by the Boggs Rural Life Center, which was incorporated in 1990

Identifications for structures were found in the Boggs Charrette Report, prepared by the Center for Community Design and Preservation, College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia, prepared for the Boggs Rural Life Center in 2016.

Naylor School, Lowndes County

I would estimate that this structure, which likely served all grades, was built in the 1910s or 1920s.