Bartow County's Stilesboro Academy, a pre-Civil War, Greek revival structure of historical importance has been named one of the 10 most significant endangered buildings in Georgia.
The former school, located in Stilesboro on Highway 113 near Taylorsville, just outside Cartersville, has been placed on Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "Places in Peril." Georgia Trust is one of the largest nonprofit, statewide preservation organizations in the country.
Georgia Trust's Places in Peril program "seeks to identify, preserve and raise awareness to historic sites threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy," according to the organization.
"Constructed in 1858-59, Stilesboro Academy's grand opening was celebrated with a picnic on the first Saturday of May in 1859, a tradition the community has continued for the past 153 years," according to stilesboroacademy.org.
"The school was occupied by the Union Army in 1864 and spared by Sherman.
"The school was saved again in the 1930s when the ladies of the Stilesboro Improvement Club raised money for the Bartow County School Board to purchase new lumber for a modern school, rather than demolish Stilesboro Academy and reclaim its lumber."
Etowah Valley Historical Society in Cartersville has published the history of Stilesboro Academy on its website:
The Stilesboro Community grew along the Alabama Road (now GA Highway 113) and became a settlement of prominent farmers who believed in schools and churches.
In 1856, the community united together to establish a high school, which proved so successful that by 1858 a movement was underway to construct a larger building. The Stilesboro Institute (now Stilesboro Academy) was completed in 1859, the final touch being the Latin inscription, "Deo ac Patriae," painted above the stage.
Meaning "To God and Country" was the phrase that, according to legend, kept Union General Sherman from burning the building during his 1864 march through Georgia. This phrase was also the motto of his beloved United States Military Academy at West Point.
Incorporated March 21, 1866, this community was named for one of its prominent neighbors, William Henry Stiles. The new corporate limits extended [a] mile in every direction from the Stilesboro Academy.
The community still has its charm, even though it lost its post office in 1953 and charter in 1995.
As for the Stilesboro Academy, it is owned and maintained by the Stilesboro Improvement Club, founded in 1910. In 1912, the ladies of the club began the annual tradition of a flower show, which continues today, in order to raise money to maintain and preserve the Academy.
will focus on Stilesboro Academy. Mark C. McDonald, Georgia Trust president and CEO, will speak.
EVHS invites the public to attend without charge. The evening begins with refreshments in the rotunda of the courthouse, where guests are free to tour the adjacent EVHS office, library and exhibits. Before 7 p.m., guests will go upstairs to the restored, second-floor courtroom Mr. McDonald’s informative speech.
The ladies of the Stilesboro Improvement Club will be the honored guests for the evening.
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