This is located on the campus of the old Lenox Elementary School.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Schools
According to Mac Moye, the first school on this site was built in 1888-1889. The second school was built in 1901 and burned in 1931. This structure was built and occupied by 1933. Much of the identification and background on Richland comes from Mac, an excellent local historian who also serves as Stewart County Manager.
Richland Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
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 origins of this important landmark of African-American educational history in South Georgia can be traced to Dr. Augustus S. Clark and the St. Paul Presbyterian Church. The first facilities of the school were three wood-framed buildings, built through a gift of the Gillespie family of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1903, and named the Gillespie Normal School in their honor. The first two structures pictured here were built when it was still known as the Gillespie Normal School.
In 1933, the school merged with the Selden Institute in Brunswick and the name was changed to the Gillespie-Selden Institute. Over the years, students came from as far away as New York and New Jersey. The Institute closed in 1956 due to citywide consolidation.
A hospital was built in 1923 and named for its benefactor, Charles Helms. It was a vital part of the institute. (It is still standing but not pictured here; I will add a photograph later). At the time, the nearest hospital for blacks was in Atlanta. Selden Cottage, pictured below, was a school for nurses, associated with the hospital.
This neighborhood, and particularly the remaining facilities of the Institute, represent a significant resource of a progressive African-American community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Preliminary efforts to document and preserve the site have been made, but I’m unsure as to their present status.
Gillespie-Selden Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Though most recently known as the Georgia Baptist Conference Center, the Norman Park campus began in 1900 as the Norman Institute, a school for first grade through high school. It was named for the Norman family, who had been among its largest benefactors and organizers. In the 1920s a junior college curriculum was added and in 1928 the name was changed to Norman Junior College. With an expanded curriculum, it became Norman College in 1951. Due to declining enrollment, the institution was closed in 1971. The Georgia Baptist Convention assumed the assets and liabilities of the college and the Norman Baptist Assembly opened in summer 1971. As of 2016, the property has been transferred to Shorter College, based in Rome.
Brand Hall is the oldest structure associated with the Norman Park Institute, having originally served as a dormitory.