Monday, January 12, 2009

Gate Cottage Destroyed at TFC

During the early morning hours today (January 12, 2009), Gate Cottage, on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, caught fire. The extent of the damage is not entirely known as of 5:30 AM.

Gate Cottage is located at the entrance of Toccoa Falls, houses a gift shop, and classroom space for the TFC School of Counseling.

Check back for additional updates throughout the day.

Update #1: All classes for Monday January 12, 2009 have been canceled.
Update #2: Employees report to work at 10 AM.
Update #3: Urgent Message to all Students, faculty and staff of Toccoa Falls College from Dr. Wayne Gardner:

We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Gate Cottage, one of our historic buildings. It burned down about 2:30 a.m. last night. Originally built around 1939 it withstood the flood in 1977. It housed our School of Counseling, Gate Cottage Restaurant, and falls gift shop. We are awaiting word as to the cause of the fire.

Please pray for the students, faculty, and administration as we work to ensure that all needs are met.

The Fire Department has now asked the campus to be closed today because of the ongoing work of their personnel on the campus. This includes all employees to remain off campus today – no access is allowed at either entrance.

From the TFC Website:

Gate Cottage was first built in 1920 as a small cabin to be used as a staff residence. The building served this purpose until 1939 when it was destroyed by fire. In the summer of 1939 students began to build the present building using stone from the area. Over the years the building has served many different functions. In the 40’s it served as the home economics department for the young women. In the 50’s it served as the kitchen and dining room for the school. The second floor of the building was also used for a variety of functions including married student housing, offices for alumni and advancement and is currently being used for offices for the School of Counseling. During World War II many women were trained there as secretaries and later were hired by the government.

The building was the first building on campus to be hit with the flood waters when the earthen dam above the falls broke in the early morning hours in November of 1977. Much damage was done to the inside of the building, but the structure still stood.

In recent years, the main floor was used as a restaurant. This area has been expanded to accommodate many more diners. The gift shop, which was on the lower level, has been moved to the main level. It has also been expanded and will include many new items for sale.