Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Roosevelt Cabin (Main Campus)

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Institution Name: Berry College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Cabin
Location on Campus: main campus, south end of campus at end of Opportunity Dr. between Richards Gym and Hoge
Date(s) of Construction:
1902original construction Barnwell, John Gibbs
Designer: John Gibbs Barnwell
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: originally stone and wood, currently brick
Walls: exterior: wood and chinking; interior: wood
Roof: cedar shingles
ca. 1902private residence (living space and office for Martha Berry)
ca. 1960administration (alumni office)
ca. 2004-present (2006)memorial site (part of Historic Berry department; opened once a year, the 1st Friday in October, to commemorate Theodore Roosevelt's visit in 1910)

Roosevelt Cabin, first referred to only as "The Cabin," is one of the oldest buildings on the main campus. Soon after Martha Berry opened her schools in 1902, Captain John Gibbs Barnwell, the early architect for the Berry Schools, drew up a plan for a rustic log cabin to serve as a guest house and social center/demonstration cottage for Berry students. Therefore, in its early days the cabin was the social center of the campus. It caught the overflow from the school's small kitchen, served as a place for afternoon teas and socials, and was the location of daily prayer services. In addition, Martha Berry's office was located here for a short time.

Martha Berry lived in the Cabin for approximately four years: she commented that she preferred this simple setting to her home at Oak Hill. For many years, the Cabin served as a guest house for visitors to the school, the most famous of which was former President Theodore Roosevelt, who had lunch there during his visit on October 8, 1910. Martha Berry renamed the building Roosevelt Cabin on the following day. Later, the cabin also served as the traditional farewell site for important guests, including an annual visit by a group of prospective donors, the "Pilgrims," led by Emily Vanderbilt Hammond. Other uses include a practice cottage for future teachers and the alumni office. Today it is preserved as a museum that is opened only on special occasions. The building is stabilized but in need of some structural restoration. Currently (2004), an open house is held on the first Friday in October commemorating Theodore Roosevelt's visit to Berry in 1910.


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: Wing Publishers, 2001.

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

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.


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Last update: November 2006