Lewis High/Ballard Normal (1888-1942) Part 1

1908 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the downtown location.






Pictured on the Left is Norwich Chapel and on the right is the Ballard Normal School Building.

The American Missionary Association came in 1866 to take over the education of African Americans in Macon.  In 1868, Lewis High School first opened in the basement of the Lincoln Home until Norwich Chapel, the first permanent building, was completed in March of 1868 and dedicated on April 19, 1868. The school was named for Brigadier-General John Randolph Lewis. Lewis was appointed the assistant commissioner of the Georgia Freedmen’s Bureau and Abandoned Lands. His primary focus was developing an educational system for the formerly enslaved people. 

By 1888, Lewis Normal Institute was such a success story that when Stephen A. Ballard of Brooklyn, New York came into the American Missionary Association offices in New York City and announced, “I want to build a school for Negro boys and girls where it is most needed,” Lewis Normal was chosen. Stephen Ballard and his sister Mary donated almost $20,000 to build an updated campus.  At the dedication, on February 14, 1889, Dr. August F. Bears, the Corresponding Secretary of the AMA announced that “with the hearty concurrence of General Lewis that…this school hence forth shall be known as Ballard Normal School.” -- (American Missionary 43, April 1889, page 102).  Pictured on the right is Andover Hall and the Teacher's House.

In 1910 the school was included in the publication: An Era of Progress and Promise, 1863-1910; the Religious, Moral, and Educational Development of the American Negro Since His Emancipation.