Historical Perspective

1833 – Driving Force

John Jacobus Flournoy, a deaf man, encouraged the establishment of the Georgia School for the Deaf. Governor Wilson Lumpkin and the Georgia Legislature were interested in the educational movement for the deaf.
At first the pupils, few in number, were sent to the American Asylum for Deaf and Dumb in Hartford, Conn.  Historical Marker
He also attempted to bring up idea of having a Deaf State (Colony).
John’s State Proposal
John’s Find A Grave
Google Book
Georgia History

First Building (School) for the Deaf

1846 – GSD was established
The school began in a one-room log cabin.
The Georgia School for the Deaf was first called
The Georgia Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb.

First Teacher


Oliver Porter Fannin was the first person to take over the education of the first four deaf children in Georgia.
Mr. Fannin spent a year at the American School learning the methods of teaching the deaf.  He studied under Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc.  Cave Spring recognized O.P. Fannin by naming street in his honor. He served at the GSD from 1847-1858.

J. B. Edward
First Deaf Teacher at GSD who taught four students under Mr. Fannin’s
supervision in 1846. Mr. Edwards was educated at American School for the Deaf. He taught from 1847 to 1858.

First Four Deaf Students enrolled: Thomas Mimms, Martin McDuffee, 
Temperence L. Jordan, and Elmira Pugh

1848 – Fannin Hall
First building was erected in 1848, the number of students had increased to fourteen. It was named after O.P. Fannin, the first teacher.

1857 – Name of the School Changed
The name of the school “Georgia Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb” was changed to Georgia Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.

1862 – Civil War
The school was closed during the war.  Fannin Hall was used as a field hospital by both the Union and Confederate Armies (at different times).

*In October of 1864, after the fall of Atlanta, Cave Spring was the headquarters of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. General John Bell Hood, Confederate general met with General Beauregard, the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army to discuss future plans.

*Missouri boys of the famous “Orphan Brigade” were treated at the hospital (Fannin Hall) following the battle at Allatoona Pass.

*Read more about Cave Spring’s Civil War link 

1867 – Father of Deaf Education in Georgia


Wesley O. Connor served as Superintendent of GSD from 1867 to 1916. Under Wesley O. Connor’s leadership, vocational training began at the school. Mr. Connor gave over 60 years of service to the deaf in Georgia.
UGA Link 
More About Connor
His Battles
His Grave

1874 – The Cave Spring Enterprise
The print shop began and printed The Cave Spring Enterprise, the town newspaper. The newspapers were published by the deaf students as part of their vocational training.

1876 – Purchased a Building and 10 Acres 

On February 23, 1876 the Georgia General Assembly passed an act that
authorized the purchase of a building and 10 acres for the establishment of a
school for African American deaf.


1882 – The School Established for the Deaf African American
F.M. Gordon was the first principal of the African American school. He graduated from Clark University. He was a Methodist minister and served as a principal of the school from 1882 until his death in 1928.
Reflections – February 2006 (PDF)

1893The School’s Name was Changed Again.
The name  of the school (Georgia Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb) was changed to Georgia School for the Deaf.

1902 – Deaf Teacher at Gordon Campus

In 1867 Monroe Ingram was born in Georgia.  He was the first African American to graduate from the Kansas Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Olathe (Kansas School for the Deaf) in 1889. In the 1890’s, he pitched for a number of integrated professional/semi-professional baseball teams in Kansas and Minneapolis. He taught at segregated school for the Deaf in Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma.  He taught in 1902 to 1907 at GSD.  He passed away in 1944.

1937 -Work Projects Administration
New Superintendent in 1937– School Helper (PDF Format)

When Clayton Hollingsworth became the superintendent, he realized both the white and black campuses’ building issues were unsafe. In the same year, the federal government started a building program through the Public Works administration and Works Progress Administration. The funds from the federal government were for the renovations and new buildings on the white campus and the black campus. The black campus was relocated to outside of Cave Spring (Gordon Campus) with new buildings. The only one granite and wood barn erected in 1892 on the Gordon Campus.
Under Mr. Hollingsworth, John Lloyd Caple served as vocational principal.

Old Fannin Campus
Old Fannin Campus

1985- Fannin Campus
Fannin Campus was closed due to asbestos issues. Later the City of Cave Spring purchased the Fannin Hall, dining room and girl dormitory.  The campus relocated to Gordon (Now Perry Campus).

2009 – Whitworth Gym

We honored the Family of Whitworth for the dedication at the Georgia School for the Deaf on October 17, 2009. 

Jim Whitworth’s Obituary

2015 -Renovated Fannin Hall

This Fannin Hall belongs to the city of Cave Spring.
The $2.6 million(SPLOST)  was used for Fannin Hall project.  Workers removed the building’s electrical and plumbing systems, installing new ones. Contractors disposed of debris, and cleaned the basement and crawl space. Brickwork was repaired, and a handicap ramp and accessible sidewalks added.

Edited by Martha Timms & Diane Conti

All about the Georgia School for the Deaf:

School Helper – 1926 (PDF)
A Century of Buildings- School Helper -1938  Read on page 2 & 11(PDF format)
Early History about Cave Spring, GA(PDF format)
GSD’s Historical Marker

GSDAA’s Social Night, GSDAA’s Museum, GSD’s Homecoming Game
Family donated picture frame of Ray Baker’s medals to the Museum
Sondra H’s College School Project
Adonia Smith’s Video

Cave Spring:
Cave Spring Community (Video)
Cave Spring and the Trail of Tears
City Data