Postcard from 1909

The college’s origins reach back to the settlement of West Georgia in the early 1800s. When the land between the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers was secured by the Indian Springs Treaty of 1825 and was opened to settlers in 1827, one of the five coun­ties formed on the western border of the state was named Troup, in honor of Governor George Michael Troup.

The Georgia Legislature passed an act on Dec. 24, 1827, providing for the selection of a county seat. It was named LaGrange, after the country estate of the Marquis de Lafayette, the Revolutionary War hero who had visited the region in 1825 as the guest of Governor Troup. The site for the town was purchased in 1828, and LaGrange was incorporated late that year.

On Dec. 26, 1831, the charter for LaGrange Female Academy was grant­ed at the state capitol. Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, and there were only 24 states in the union. Abraham Lincoln was 22 years old. The Creek Indians had been moved from the LaGrange area for only six years, and Atlanta did not yet exist. There were no fountain pens, type­writers or automobiles, and the fastest means of transportation in the region was by horse. The only other college in the state was Franklin College, now the University of Georgia.

The first location of LaGrange College was in a large white building at what is now 406 Broad St. The school moved to its present location, the high­est geographical point in LaGrange, after the construction in 1842 of the building now known as Smith Hall.

In 1847, the school became LaGrange Female Institute, and the charter was amended to allow the school the power to confer degrees. The name was changed to LaGrange Female College in 1851.

As the Civil War progressed across Georgia, Smith Hall served as a hos­pital for wounded soldiers. Several colleges were forced to close their doors, but classes at LaGrange Female College continued uninterrupted.

The Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South took ownership of the college in 1856. Today, it is an institution of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In 1920, Bishop Warren Aiken Candler suggested that LaGrange Female College be moved to Atlanta. Students, the community and people of all denominations reacted by giving their time and money for the improve­ment of the college. Every schoolgirl in town was seen wearing a badge bearing the words “Save our college for me,” and the drive brought in a quar­ter of a million dollars in donations.

LaGrange Female College became LaGrange College in 1934, opening the door for several males to attend. They were considered such a distrac­tion that most remained only one semester. It was more than 10 years before men were actively recruited again. In 1953, the college officially became coeducational.

Today, LaGrange College is a four-year liberal arts and sciences college ranked in the top 10 and as a “best value” among 106 Southern com­prehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Enrollment stands at more than 1,000 students, and the student-faculty ratio is 11-to-1.

The college offers more than 70 academic and pre-professional programs through a traditional day program, includ­ing graduate degrees in Education, Strength and Conditioning, Philanthropy and Development and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. LaGrange College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bach­elor’s and master’s degrees.

The college has welcomed students of all faiths and denominations since its inception, and it has a strong emphasis on servant-leadership.

LaGrange College holds a mem­bership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Men compete on inter­collegiate sports teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soc­cer, swimming, lacrosse and tennis. Women’s intercollegiate sports include basket­ball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball and beach volleyball.

Below is a listing of building names as used in LaGrange College publications.