“People in the community are pitching in and helping us and we’re digging stuff up out of our yards,” Brock said. “I think we’ll be bringing in [plants] like daylilies, maybe some iris and daffodils — some of the old-time daffodils — and maybe some ground covers. That sounds like what I’m going to be bringing [too], and then I’ve got this little rose that’s in full bloom right now.
“... I might have some violets and I’ve got some ivy and periwinkle. There’s just all kinds of stuff here in this yard. I’ve even got some garlic. ... I don’t know what people are bringing. We don’t make a plan [because] people just start digging up [plants] in their yard. Last year, we set up on the front steps [of the academy]. We just started at the top and came down. We had a good many things there. We had a lot of stuff. We had a big turnout in people, too.”
Charged with maintaining Stilesboro Academy, the Stilesboro Improvement Club organizes several fundraisers throughout the year, the largest being the Stilesboro Chrysanthemum Show, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Like its other benefits, proceeds from Saturday’s Plant Sale also will go toward the historic structure’s upkeep.
Located on Taff Road off Ga. Highway 113 eight miles west of Cartersville, Stilesboro Academy served as a school for children in the first through 12th grades from 1859 through the late 1930s. When the Bartow County School System wanted to close Stilesboro Academy, the club paid what the lumber was worth and, in turn, received the deed for the school in 1939. According to local legend, Union Gen. William T. Sherman spared the academy on his march to Atlanta due to the motto of West Point — his alma mater — being inscribed inside the structure.
“It is extremely rare now that these academies are around,” said Ann Mascia, a Stilesboro Improvement Club member. “They’re almost all gone, and we are lucky enough that Bartow County is able to have this architectural jewel. We need desperately to preserve it. [So few of them are left] because Sherman’s army burned many of them and then communities didn’t see the wisdom in keeping these enormous structures that were hard to heat and maintain.
“They either tore them down or let them fall down. So that is the reason after the war the ones that were still standing eventually were no longer there. [For the Stilesboro Improvement Club], there’s never a time when all the jobs are done. If it’s not that the floor is sagging, it’s the window panes are coming loose. There’s always a big list of things that need to be done.”
For more information, call Brock at 770-382-2993.