Lynwood School, 1930s, Ben Hill County

Lynwood School Ben Hill County GA WPA Landmark Fitzgerald BHCES Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia usa 2013

For generations of Ben Hill countians, Lynwood School, or the “County School”, was a second home where memories of childhood still play out in its oiled wooden floors and back lot concession stand. The history of the school is first well-documented in M. L Duggan’s 1918 Educational Survey of Ben Hill County. At that time, it was a two-story granitoid structure noted as a “consolidation of three small schools”. This leads me to believe it dates to the 1910s, contemporary with the documentation in Duggan’s work. My grandfather attended Lynwood around 1920-1923. I attended from first through seventh grade and remember the best school and the best teachers. I also remember Sno-Cones and Fruit Chews at the concession stand and doing jumping jacks at P. E. with Mr. Thomas. I remember recesses picking up pine cones on the hill.  I think everyone remembers their first grade teacher and mine was Kay Batton who was a wonderful influence on a young mind. I remember the mock presidential election in Mrs. Bryant’s 4th grade class (1980) in which some of us got to be the candidates in a mock debate. It was a valuable lesson in democracy at work. And Pam Pusey’s sixth-grade English when a friend and I wrote a play and got to perform it on stage in the auditorium. I could list them all because I remember them. That’s just the kind of place Lynwood was.

Lynwood School Ben Hill County GA WPA Landmark Soon to be Demolished Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia usa 2013

The present structure was a public works project of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and I’ve heard that its demolition is imminent. That being said, I find it a sad commentary that communities can’t recognize the value of places like this. On one hand in the South we embrace the past in our politics but want it gone in other facets of our lives.

Lynwood School Ben Hill County GA WPA Landmark Neoclassical Revival Architecture Colonial Cupola Fitzgerald BHCES Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia usa 2013

Tim Anderson wrote a great editorial on the subject of the school’s future a few years ago in the Herald-Leader. He said, in part: There are many in our community who were students at Lynnwood. We lost our beautiful old high school to fire. It would be a shame not to find a use for this old school building. It would make a fine central office for the school system — one more closely situated to most students. The 300-seat auditorium and spacious classrooms cry out for thoughtful solutions, like an adequate school board meeting room. We realize that solution may not be a priority for the school board at this time. But it’s a question waiting for an answer… This sums it up, and the school office idea has already been done in another South Georgia county. The old Black Creek Elementary School in Bryan County faced a similar fate and has been beautifully refurbished for service as the board office.

Lynwood School Ben Hill County GA WPA Landmark Fitzgerald BHCES The County School Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia usa 2013

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14 Comments

Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

14 responses to “Lynwood School, 1930s, Ben Hill County

  1. I attended Lynwood from the early 50’s until 1962. Mr. White was the principle. I still have a few of the old class pictures. Great memories.

  2. Brian, I always wondered about the name, “Lynwood.” In your research, did you come upon any info. regarding how the school got its unique name?

    Rich

    • I think I remember reading that Lynnwood got it’s name from the estate of Sydney Clare who lived just north of the school property. He was born in England and moved to our south Georgia community in the early 1900’s after the founding of Fitzgerald. His estate included the main house, which burned in the 30’s or 40’s, a chapel he built on an outcropping of limestone (his church built on the rock) complete with a mausoleum for he and his wife, which I saw as a young adult. The mausoleum was empty when I saw it and the small chapel was gone, but the steps remained going up to the front door of the chapel.

  3. Diane Couch

    Can’t this wonderful building be repurposed???? What a shame to demolish.

    • Margie Jackson Bennett

      Tift county has 2 high schools redone 1 Pre-k center, the other is an Administration Building! which I attended both 1 6th grade the other 7th & 8th grades,stills looks GREAT!

    • ben dooley

      It is indeed a shame that we are so willing to toss beautiful old buildings in the trash heap and downright criminal with what we so often replace them with. I hope some effort is being considered to save this lovely old place. Not sure if it practical in this instance, but there are many examples of old schools being adapted as apartments throughout the state. The configuration of old schools from the first half of the 20th century seem to lend themselves to residential conversion.

  4. I appreciate your attitude about saving our past, represented vividly in your photos. Thanks for doing what you do!

  5. sheila jones myers

    The Ben Hill School looks exactly like Sycamore School ..What a waste on both schools ..
    sheila jones myers

  6. Peggy Anderson

    It will really be a shame to demolish this beautiful old building. It would be an ideal community center, and a place for the school board offices, as well as a community meeting center. The powers that be in and around there should give some serious thought to saving it..

  7. Francoise Hipp Fussell

    We saved an old school building of that approx. era here in Walhalla, SC but it has been a LOT of work and a lot of fund-raising! But, worth every penny. 🙂

  8. You have some great memories Brian. It sounds like a wonderful place to have gone to school. My elementary school still stands. It’s the high school now, but nowhere near the architectural gem Lynwood is. It’s certainly sad to see places like these go. One of the reasons we’re out and about with our cameras.

  9. Pat Ogilvie

    It is sad when old architecture isn’t saved. Rumble Jr. High in Warner Robins is awaiting the same fate.

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