Tag Archives: South Georgia Schoolhouses

Union Schoolhouse, Quitman County

Located next to Union United Methodist Church, this historic one-room schoolhouse is now used as a social hall for the congregation.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under --QUITMAN COUNTY GA--

West Hill, Circa 1836, Stewart County

The land which today comprises West Hill was first acquired by William Cunningham of Pulaski County in the Land Lottery of 1827. Cunningham never occupied the property and sold it to David Harrell about 1836, when the Greek Revival main house* is thought to have been constructed. He sold the property to William West (1799-1873) in 1853. By 1860, West had 3500 acres in cultivation and 2000 acres in timberland, making him one of the largest plantation owners in Georgia. He was also a leading cotton producer, with a record of 430 bales produced around 1860. Slave labor was integral to the operation.

West deeded the property to his daughter, Annie Crooks West, in 1867. She later married James Nelson McMichael and they lived in the main house the rest of their lives. After Mrs. McMichael’s death in 1915, estate administrators operated the farm until it was purchased by her nephew, L. M. Moye, Sr., in 1929. His descendants continue to own the property. I’m most grateful to Mac Moye for a generous tour of the grounds. The property is inhabited and private.

*-Mac Moye notes the similarity of the main house to the Bedingfield Inn in Lumpkin, suggesting they were likely designed by the same builder. This must be considered more than coincidental, considering the rural nature of Stewart County in the 1830s.

West Hill Dependencies

The historical importance of West Hill is most evident in the surviving dependencies that were the hallmark of self-sustaining plantation life. That the West descendants have maintained these structures in such authentic condition for more than a century-and-a-half seems nothing short of miraculous. Other than the absence of the original wooden shingles, the outbuildings are true to their original condition.

Schoolhouse, Circa 1853

Perhaps the most significant of the remaining dependencies at West Hill is the plantation schoolhouse. One of the first schools ever built in Stewart County, its use by neighboring children was strongly encouraged by William West, who even brought a tutor from New York to teach his children here.

Schoolhouse- Foundation Stones

Schoolhouse- Dovetail Joinery

Commissary/Meat Storage House

Kitchen

Cook’s House

Blacksmith Shop

Privy

Privy- Interior, showing the unusual five-seat design.

West Hill Dependencies- Slave Dwellings of “The Grove”

Few properties in Georgia retain the dwelling places of enslaved persons, so the survival of these three at West Hill is extraordinary. Though they have been maintained by the family for their historical value, they are the most endangered, and arguably the most important structures on the property. About a quarter mile from the main house in an area referred to as “The Grove”, these single-pen houses were used as tenant homes long after emancipation. As a result of their later use, two were slightly modified. One has an extra room and shed room, while another has a shed room. Like the dependencies at the periphery of the main house, these structures were of log construction with siding and would also have originally featured wooden shingles.

Slave Dwelling No. 1

All of the slave dwellings are believed to be contemporary to the construction of the main house, dating them to circa 1836.

Slave Dwelling No. 1- Interior Detail

Slave Dwelling No. 2

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Interior Detail

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Hearth

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Rear Perspective

Slave Dwelling No. 3

Slave Dwelling No. 3- Rear view showing shed room

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--

Schoolhouse, Perkins

I’m only guessing as to the identity of this structure; I will update when I learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under --JENKINS COUNTY GA--, Perkins GA

Barney Colored Elementary School, 1933

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under --BROOKS COUNTY GA--, Barney GA

Wells-McAllister House, Circa 1880, Fort Gaines

Built for attorney John C. Wells, this home was purchased by Robert C. McAllister as a gift for his wife in 1897. The kitchen of the house was the first Clay County courthouse until the present courthouse was built. It was used as a school until being purchased by Wells and attached to this house.

Fort Gaines Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Leave a comment

Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--, Fort Gaines GA

Canoe-Hagan School, 1932, Candler County

candler-county-ga-abandoned-schoolhouse-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2016

Located between Metter and Twin City is a Rosenwald school known as the Canoe-Hagan School. Rosenwald Schools were built through the efforts of Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington and thousands of volunteers all over the South. Their purpose was to provide industrial education to rural blacks at a time when Southern states were barely providing them school buildings, let alone a proper education.

Thanks to James Palmer for pointing out the Rosenwald connection, and for the identification.

UPDATE: Sadly, this landmark burned to the ground on 16 June 2017.

 

8 Comments

Filed under --CANDLER COUNTY GA--

Bethlehem Academy, 1904, Warthen

historic-bethlehem-academy-warthen-community-center-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2016

Though it now serves as the Warthen Community Center, this Colonial Revival building was originally home to the Bethlehem Academy, associated with the adjacent church. It was chartered in 1832 and was integral to the social and academic life of the community well into the 20th century.

Warthen Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

1 Comment

Filed under --WASHINGTON COUNTY GA--, Warthen GA