The Morven Rosenwald Alumni Association, with the cooperation of the Georgia Historical Society and the Brooks County Board of Commissioners restored this important resource in 2013. The marker placed at the site reads: Barney Colored Elementary School was part of the Rosenwald school building program that matched funds from philanthropist Julius Rosenwald with community donations to build rural Southern schools during the era of segregation. An example of a “community school plan,” it included large banks of windows, an industrial room, and sliding partition doors to accommodate larger school and community gatherings. This combined a Progressive-era design emphasis on lighting and ventilation with educator Booker T. Washington’s focus on community development and industrial training for rural African Americans. The school operated from 1933 to 1959, serving first through sixth grade students. One of six Rosenwald projects in Brooks County, Barney served as a feeder school to the Morven Rosenwald School. In 2006, the Morven Rosenwald Alumni Association, Inc. acquired the building and preserved it for community use.
A marker placed by the Morven School Alumni Association in 2002 gives insight to the institution’s history: Home schooling prevailed in Morven District among early families. After 1865, small academies were supported by private means, with limited public funds. Morven Academy, founded by Dr. Robert Hitch, had local and boarding students for twenty years. Other small schools were merged with it to from the Morven School about 1900, located about two hundred yards to the east on Mill Pond Creek. It was replaced by the two-story brick building in 1914-15, financed by a bond issue. The north wing was added about 1923…In 1935-36 a one-story brick building to the south was erected…The high school closed in 1959…Alumni have worked to restore and adapt the buildings to community uses since 1995.
It has been nicely restored and now houses City Hall and government offices.
The Georgia Historical Commission marker placed here in 1956 reads: The first Camp Meeting was held on this site in 1828 by a “few scattered Methodists” before any Methodist Church in the area was organized. William Hendry, William Blair and Hamilton W. Sharpe, as a committee, selected the site. Rev. Adam Wyrick was the first visiting preacher. In 1831 Sion and Enoch Hall deeded the land on which the Camp Ground stood to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Housed first in a brush-arbor, the weeklong meetings were held without interruption until 1881. Then the camp meetings ceased and the nearby church was built. Meetings were practically continuous each day from sunrise until after “candle-lighting.”
The sign on the church states that the present building dates to 1856, which is plausible considering the architecture, but according to the two sources I have access to, the historical marker and the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, the date is 1881. I hope to learn more about this discrepancy.
Houses like this one, on the fringe of historic neighborhoods, have potential for restoration but are often overlooked.