Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Original Cabin (Main Campus)

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Berry College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Playhouse or Study
Location on Campus: Oak Hill Estate, adjoining the Martha Berry Museum. On main campus.
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1873original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular, Other (Glossary)
Significance: education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: logs with chinking exterior; log exterior
Roof: cedar shingles
ca. 1873other (first location for Miss Berry's Sunday school classes which were held for people in the surrounding area)
ca. 1873other (served as log cabin study for Martha Berry, founder of Berry Schools)
ca. 1873other (playhouse for Berry children)
ca. 2004-present (2006)museum (part of Oak Hill & Martha Berry Museum, a historic site and is open to tourists)

The cabin was constructed in approximately 1873 as a playhouse for the children of the college's namesake, Martha McChesney Berry, who as a young woman also adopted the cabin as her study. It was in this cabin that she looked up from her reading on a Sunday afternoon in the 1890s and saw several children from the surrounding rural area watching her. Her invitation to come inside and listen to Bible stories was the first step in establishing Sunday schools and day schools within the local mountain community, which were the forerunners of the Berry Schools. The Original Cabin is therefore considered the "birthplace of Berry." It currently serves as a historical site and is part of the tour at Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum, which are responsible for the preservation and maintenance of this building.


Berry Trails: An Historic and Contemporary Guide to Berry College. Third edition. Mt. Berry, GA: Berry College, 2001.

Dickey, Ouida, and Doyle Mathis, eds. Martha Berry: Sketches of Her Schools and College. Atlanta, GA: Wing Publishers, 2001.

Guthrie, Carol. Evolution & Education: A History of the Berry Schools. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1995.

Israel, Barbara. Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste. New York: Harry Abram, Inc., 1999.

Martha Berry Papers. Berry College Archives, Mount Berry, GA.

Thomas, Kenneth H., Jr. The Berry Schools [Berry College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006