An addition to Effingham Academy in Springfield known as the “Grammar School Building” that had housed some classrooms showed up in the 1941 minutes of the board of education as the deed was being received from the Springfield school trustees to the Board of Education. The superintendent was instructed to have it recorded and to arrange insurance for the building. Over the next few years the building, under ownership of the board of education, became office space for the AAA, county agricultural agent, county home demonstration agent, county school supervisor, county nurse and the library according to the Dec. 12, 1947, issue of the Springfield Herald.
Although the building was already occupied by these offices, it had not been named. The Herald got permission to hold a contest to name the building in December 1947. Some of the prizes contributed for the winner included: a one-year subscription to the Springfield Herald, a pound of coffee from the B&R Store, a flashlight from the Springfield Furniture Store, two brand new dollars from the Exchange Bank and a five-pound bag of Pureasnow flour from Springfield Trading Company. The board of education was to judge the contest. The contest was to close on Jan. 1, 1948, but due to a slow start, the contest was extended for one month and finally the winner was announced in the Feb. 6, 1948, issue of the Springfield Herald. Zeno Dasher*, one of 89 entries, submitted the winning name “Treutlen Building.” Miss Billy Wilson of Clyo was runner-up with the name “Treutlen Hall.”
It is quite interesting that throughout the years that this building has been occupied, a sign has never been erected displaying the name Treutlen Building. The offices inside may have signs on site, but the building should have a sign. Much confusion will be avoided if the proper identification is placed on the sign.
As the county relocates some of the offices to a new building on Highway 119 across from the prison and the elections board occupies this space, it would be much easier to identify with an accurate sign. The building name came from John Adam Treutlen, an Effingham County citizen who was the first constitutional governor of Georgia.
Over the years the building was reoccupied twice by the school system when fires in Springfield necessitated its use for classrooms. The offices were relocated to other buildings including a two story house known as “Central Hotel” or the Cummings House (now a vacant lot opposite and owned by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield). The school was using the building for classrooms in January 1954 after a suspicious series of fires in the Springfield schools when the Treutlen Building burned. It was renovated using some of the original structure with a much different roofline and exterior structure.
Historic Effingham Society challenges the county of Effingham to put up a proper sign so that those trying to locate the “Treutlen Building” can find it easier and preserve its historic name giving a proper memorial to its native son, John Adam Treutlen. Since the fire in 1954, more than 50 years have gone by without a proper sign identifying the structure. When 4-H parents or home demonstration club ladies new to our area look for the building to catch a bus for a trip, or future voters try to find the early voting site, it will not be so hard to recognize.
*Zeno James Dasher was the husband of Evelina Salome Fetzger Dasher and father of: Vance, Mary (Dasher) Douglas, Ida Evelina (Dasher) Rush and Vera Maude Dasher (died as a child).
This article was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have comments, photos or information to share contact her at 754-6681 or email: email@example.com