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GCSU Foundation raises funds to restore Sallie Ellis Davis House

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large photoGeorgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland and Carolyn Thomas – Chair of the Sallie Ellis Davis Foundation - announced in 2008 a partnership to renovate one of Milledgeville’s historic homes - The Sallie Ellis Davis House.

The house on South Clarke Street was the former home of a local educator who touched the lives of hundreds of African-American children.

This project provides Georgia College a unique opportunity to continue building its relationship with the local community. The cost to renovate and restore this historic home is an estimated $379,950. A steering committee has been formed to lead this effort. It is co-chaired by Melanie Cook and Pierre Clements ‘86 – who are both trustees on the GCSU Foundation.

To date $15,000 has been raised toward the initial $25,000 needed to complete the stabilization phase of the renovation. The GCSU Foundation is working with the steering committee to identify other funding opportunities for this worthwhile project.

On June 5 Georgia College and the Georgia Trust will co-host a spotlight event at the Sallie Ellis Davis House to bring the community together and discuss the vision for this important piece of local history. We invite all interested community members, alumni and friends to attend the event and help make a difference.

Sallie Ellis Davis was born in Baldwin County, Georgia, in 1877. She was the child of an African-American woman and a native Irish man. Davis attended Atlanta University and returned to Milledgeville to teach at the Eddy School. Davis taught at the neighborhood Eddy School from the late 1890’s until her retirement in 1949, serving as principal for 27 years.

Through the years Davis taught hundreds of African-American children not only academic lessons, but also valuable life lessons. Many of her students went on to become productive citizens throughout Georgia and beyond. After she died in 1950, Baldwin County recognized her by naming the Sallie Ellis Davis School in her honor. In 2000, Davis was inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement.

The Sallie Ellis Davis House was built in 1890 and served as Davis’ residence from 1912 until her death in 1950. The house was used as a residence until 1989, when the Board of Regents purchased it. In 2003, the city of Milledgeville received a grant to pay for an assessment of the house and develop a rehabilitation plan.

In October 2008 the house became one of 10 sites on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2009 Places in Peril. Coinciding with this designation was Georgia College’s announcement to form a partnership with the Sallie Davis Foundation – comprised of a group of her former students – to renovate the house and open it as a cultural center.

If you would like additional information about the June 5 spotlight event or would like to make a gift toward the campaign please contact Lee Snelling at (478) 445.8129 or

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For more information, contact Judy Bailey in University Communications at (478) 445-4477.