The Beach Institute
Beach Institute by Savannah artist Sharon Saseen
Beach Institute as it appears today |
History of the Beach Institute
Beach Institute was featured in this
October 3, 1868, Harper's
article about newly constructed schools for
- Built in 1867 by the Freedmenís Bureau and
primarily funded by the American Missionary Association, named in
honor of New Yorker Alfred E. Beach, Editor of Scientific
American, who donated funds to purchase the site.
- Initially 600 students enrolled. The school had 9
female teachers and a male principal. Most of these teachers were
white. Tuition was $1 per month in 1873.
- In 1874, The Beach Institute was turned over to
the Savannah Board of Education and became a free public school
for black children.
- In 1878, the school was damaged by fire,
rendering it temporarily unusable. The American Missionary
Association took this opportunity to resume control of the
building and the educational program as they were intent on
securing a higher grade of instruction than the Board of Education
in Savannah thought it prudent to furnish.
- In 1917 the Savannah Boys Club rented one small
room in the basement of The Beach Institute as its weekly meeting
place. The activities and fame of this club extended and expanded
until it occupied the entire basement of the building and utilized
every week day evening with its educational endeavors on behalf of
under-privileged negro boys.
- The Beach Institute closed in 1919. Enrollment
had significantly declined due to the opening of Savannahís first
black public high school on Cuyler Street, as well as the
prevailing popularity of the Georgia State Industrial College at
Thunderbolt, which opened in 1891.