Bethesda Academy (Bethesda Home For Boys)
This historic school traces its roots back to an orphanage established by George Whitefield in 1740. Whitefield was a supporter of Calvinism and was the most popular preacher of the Evangelical Revival movement. Today, the institution is known as Bethesda Academy, after changing its name from Bethesda Home For Boys in April 2011. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Backstory and Context
Whitefield didn't agree with the colonial founders of Georgia, who outlawed slavery in the 18th century. When slavery became legal, Whitefield decided to purchase slaves to work on the 500-acre orphanage, which became a plantation as well as a school and home for boys. Like many elite schools and universities, profits generated from slavery helped finance the orphanage.
Another structure on the property is the Whitefield Chapel, which serves as a chapel for wedding ceremonies. On the first floor of Burrough's Hall is the William H. Ford Sr. Museum and Visitors Center, which is dedicated to Bethesda's rich history. There is also a gift store and farm stand on premise. They both offer items that are grown and housed on the farm such as goat's milk, soaps and produce.