Immediately following the fire that destroyed Haddock Inn on March 7, 1913, Mrs. Forrest wrote the following to the children who wrote to her faithfully and also read her column in Southern Greetings, a newspaper published by the Forrests at Toccoa Falls College.
Toccoa, Ga., March 15, 1913
My Dear Children,
Since our last letter we have passed through the flames. Our beautiful Toccoa Falls Institute building was completely destroyed by fire on Friday morning, March 7, and with it all our furniture, dishes, silver, books, and papers, including my collection of children’s books and letters, and the February issue of Southern Greetings.
Therefore, we will have an enlarged edition this month, and your Bible lesson, a litter longer than usual.Â I know those of you who have been at Toccoa, and those who were looking forward to coming this summer, will feel very sad about our building burning. But let us look up and remember God’s promise to His people many years ago to give “beauty for ashes,” and trust Him for the new building He will give.
You will read on the editorial page how we are hoping to build in the near future. And I am sure the children are anxious to do all they can to help us with the new buildings. Write me about it and I will tell you how you can help.
Lovingly, the Children’s Friend,
Mrs. R. A. Forrest
After she wrote this column, children from across the country wrote to her wanting to help rebuild the school that she and her husband, Richard, had established. They also sent moneyâ€”a few coins and a few dollar billsâ€”but over time it was enough to build Sunshine Cottage, the first of three cottages that were constructed to house students. More importantly, these donations were just one more indication that the work should continue and it did. With child-like faith to sustain it, Toccoa Falls emerged from the ashes of disappointment and defeat.