• Canvas Three

    This canvas is unique because the collage of photos (seen when you stand close to the canvas) is used to create the large image of Cumming Public School (seen when you stand further from the canvas). The Cumming Public School was home to the Forsyth County Board of Education, prior to the construction of its current location on Dahlonega Highway in 1999. 

    1. A photograph of the historic marker placed at the Cumming Public School, which opened in 1923. The earliest records of education in Forsyth County note that in 1839 there was the Forsyth County Academy, later known as the Cumming Academy, at the intersection of Tolbert and Maple streets. Schools were suspended during 1859-1865 because of the war. In 1865, the Academy was renovated and reopened. In 1888 Piedmont College opened on School Street to offer high school curriculum. It was later known as Hightower Baptist College and Hightower Baptist Institute and expanded to serve elementary through high school students. When it closed, the Cumming Public School was opened.

    2. This photograph is of Big Creek Elementary in 1956. As the district’s oldest elementary school still in operation, Big Creek Elementary was built in 1939 from the consolidation of three schools: Harris Grove, Oak Grove, and Italy. The original school building had no electricity. Each room was heated by a coal heater and drinking water came from a well in the school yard. The school is named after Big Creek, a stream in Forsyth and Fulton counties, which is a portion of Vickery Creek that was named after the Civil War.

    3. Photograph of Forsyth County High School lockers.

    4. The Oak Grove School, shown here in 1938, started in one room of an old dwelling house in 1870. Students paid $.05 a day to attend school. It later moved to a one room log building, which was destroyed by fire in 1896. The third Oak Grove School was constructed with box weather boarding; it burned in 1916. The next school was considered modern because each room had a wood heater and a shelf for a water bucket. The Oak Grove School consolidated to become part of Big Creek School in 1939.

    5. The original Matt School was in an old wooden schoolhouse on Elmo Road and served grades 1-9. It was destroyed by fire in 1942, until this “new” brick Matt School (also known as Matt High School) was built on Bannister Road in 1945. It closed in 1968. The school was named after the Matt (also known as Mat) community, which was named after Madison Martin (father of the Postmaster). Prior, the community was known as Omega. The original Matt School held 75 students in multiple grades. Rather than desks, students sat on slab benches around an open fireplace. Their drinking water came from a nearby spring and students walked to school. In 2001, Forsyth County Schools opened Matt Elementary to honor this former school. 

    6. and 8. These photographs feature Forsyth County High School cheerleaders from 1962.

    7. Photograph of the class of 1939 at Cumming High School.

    9. Members of the Forsyth County High School boys’ basketball team, 1962.

    10. Built in 1923, the Cumming Public School (also known as Cumming High School) offered a high school diploma for the first time in Forsyth County history. The original structure burned in 1927 and was rebuilt later that year, serving grades 1-11 until 1955. Forsyth County High School (now Forsyth Central) became the new school for older students. Then, in 1961, Cumming Lower Elementary opened its doors to younger students. Students in grades 7-8 continued to attend Cumming Public School until 1973 when Forsyth County Middle School (now Otwell Middle) first opened. With no other grades left to serve, Cumming Public School was used as the school district’s central office until 1999.

    11. This photograph features the 1965 Forsyth County High School band.

    12. This photograph is of early student transportation to and from Chestatee School. Using funds from the Board of Education and those raised by the Chestatee community, the original Chestatee School opened with 14 classrooms and an auditorium in 1931 on five acres in north Forsyth County. In 1939, Crossroads, Hopewell and Pleasant Grove schools consolidated with Chestatee. The school received a gymnasium and cafeteria soon after that, and in 1947 it was bricked. In 1967, Chestatee High School was consolidated into Forsyth County High School, now Forsyth Central High School. The site has been expanded and renovated and is now home to Chestatee Elementary School.

    13. The Historical Society of Cumming/Forsyth County, Inc., established in 1996, is a non-profit organization founded to educate the public, to encourage historical research, to protect historic buildings and sites, and to preserve the cultural heritage of Forsyth County. It is housed in the former Cumming Public School. 

    Note: If you have edits or additional information for us to share, please contact jbice@forsyth.k12.ga.us.