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 G. Busby (I’m unsure as to why there’s a difference in the spellings), 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 said to be one of the only such structures of its kind 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