Year Erected: 1993
Marker Text: Bowdon College was Georgia’s fifth chartered institution of higher education and first coeducational institution. Bowdon was a frontier community of merchants and yeomen who nourished the growth of a school where earnest students of limited means bettered their lives and their communities.
The college closed its doors briefly when all but two of the students (one blind, one with no arms) entered the Confederate Army. The president, Charles A. McDaniel, and 128 of the 144 students died in the War. Only twice in the history of the school did Bowdon citizens depend upon state funds to sustain the school. After the Civil War, Bowdon was one of five Georgia colleges commissioned to provide free tuition to poor and maimed Confederate veterans. The program ended in 1869, and the trustees of the college, under financial strain, boldly voted to become coed. An act creating Bowdon State Normal School was passed in August, 1919.
State funding for Bowdon was terminated but the citizens rallied and continued Bowdon as a junior college from 1934 to 1936. Graduates have carried the honor of the institution into our state and national capitals and throughout the world. From her halls have come educators, doctors, lawyers, journalists, judges, bankers, farmers, industrialists, governors, and senators. “The college that was founded in the wilderness” has become “the Athens of the West”.