The completion of Earl Hall in 1943 was made possible by a substantial gift from the John A. Earl family. This building currently houses the Academic Dean, Registrar, Admissions, the Computer Lab, faculty offices, and classrooms.
Earl Hall (now)
The Story of Earl Hall
“Another imperative necessity mentioned in the News [a quarterly published by Toccoa Falls Institute] was a classroom building. Although there were twenty-two teachers, there were only nine classrooms available. Four hundred students were trying to crowd into the classrooms that had been built for 100–they simply did not fit! With such an acute need, Dr. Forrest decided to start digging a hole for the foundation of the building, and then trust God to send the money to continue putting up the walls of the structure.
“For some time, there was only the gaping hole that the students had dug. Finally, enough money came in for the foundations for the building. While those were being laid, Dr. Forrest received a letter from a Mr. John A. Earl, telling how much blessing he had received by listening to Dr. Forrest’s radio program on Sunday morning and asking Dr. Forrest to ‘please come see me.’
“Since the Second World War was now in progress and gasoline was rationed, Dr. Forrest had to delay his visit several weeks until he was in the neighborhood to conduct a funeral service. From the church he set out to call on Mr. Earl, who lived so far back in the woods that a local boy had to point out the way. The drive was beautiful, as the road paralleled the creek and was overhung by huge trees. At length he arrived at a very comfortable cottage, albeit without many of the modern conveniences such as electricity and running water.
“Mr. and Mrs. Earl lived there alone. Mr. Earl told Dr. Forrest that he had two reasons for wanting him to call: first, he wanted to tell him how much God had done for him, and second, he had a business proposition to present. He said, ‘I have some property on which I owe some money. As I’m getting along in years, I want you to take that property and, in return, give my wife and me some kind of security for the balance of our lives.’
“Dr. Forrest asked, ‘You mean in the nature of an annuity?’
“‘That’s what I mean.’
“Dr. Forrest was thinking, ‘What could we do with this property way back here in the woods?’ Aloud he said, ‘Where is the property?’
“‘In Atlanta,’ was the surprising answer.
“‘Yes, sir, Corner of Howard and South Boulevard.’
“Dr. Forrest thought to himself, ‘That’s a very nice section of Atlanta.’ He asked, ‘What kind of property is this?’
“‘A store. Go down and look at it. See what you can do with it.’
“Dr. Forrest’s curiosity was aroused. The next time he was in Atlanta, he went out to see the property. He found it really in a very nice section, and the store Mr. Early talked about was an ultra-modern supermarket. The store itself was on the second lot; the corner lot was hard-surfaced for a parking lot for customers.
“When Dr. Forrest saw such and elaborate piece of property and remembered the humble home of the Earls, he thought that surely he must have the wrong corner. As soon as possible, he went back to see Mr. Earl and question him.
“‘That’s my store,’ he answered.
“‘How did you get a store like that?’
“Mr Earl told him: ‘I had a little frame building on that lot where the store now stands, and my wife and I carried on a little grocery business there for twenty-eight years. We lived in a room in the back end of the store and saved our money. Finally, I put up that building, but I feel that I made a mistake in listening to the real estate men and the builders. They encouraged me to do things I hadn’t planned. I had enough money to build a nice store compared to the one I had there; but they over-persuaded me to put in air-conditioning, built-in refrigeration, and so many other things that I owe $15,000.00. I’m asking you to take that store and property and pay me so much a month for the rest of my life and the rest of my wife’s life.’
“A certain sum was agreed upon. For a year the Institute kept the property, but found that the rent of four hundred dollars a month was less than the expenses. Therefore, the property was sold for $40,000.00 cash. After the $15,000.00 obligation was paid, there remained somewhat less than $25,000.00 to use for the work of the school. From this sum came the money to build the superstructure and the porches of Earl Hall, the classroom building. The school canteen and bookstore were housed on the first floor, offices and classrooms on the second, and classrooms on the third.
“Thus, God again honored the prayers of His children.” (copy from Achieving the Impossible with God by Lorene Moothart)
Earl Hall before the porch.
The School Canteen
The School Canteen