Free Home Elementary has experienced many accomplishments since its early establishment. It is located in rural, eastern Cherokee County which borders Fulton and Forsyth Counties. The average enrollment for Free Home is 325 students. The small environment allows students and teachers to know each other across all grade levels and curriculum areas. Free Home also has a special connection in which many families can claim multiple generations attending Free Home Elementary School.
Captain Delavan Lively, a captain during the Civil War, gave Free Home School its name. Captain Lively owned land near the first existing one room school in the area, Chestnut Log, which was located at a crossroads in the Cross Roads Militia District of Cherokee County, Georgia. Due to limited financial resources, families who farmed the land were unable to buy land or build homes; therefore, Captain Lively offered free land to anyone who wanted to build a house with the understanding that the property would revert to him if the people moved away. Thus, the name of the community became known as Free Home. It was during Captain Lively’s administration as a teacher that a new one-room school house was built. A second building was later built to meet the expanding needs of the community. A third building was erected in 1906.
The larger, two story building, a mural is in the current cafeteria, was constructed in 1919 which eventually consisted of a lunchroom and seven classrooms housing grades one through nine and named it Free Home. The current main structure, a brick building designed for grades one through eight, was completed for the 1956-57 school year. The new building consisted of nine classrooms, a lunchroom, library, office, and restrooms. An annex, butler building, was added in 1975, housing five new classrooms. In 2002, the lobby of the annex was remodeled to provide a small room to meet the school’s speech and language needs. Currently the school has three mobile units housing classrooms.
The school’s gym was build after World War II. It had been an old theater or barrack from Fort McPherson. It was given to Cherokee County where a stage and the hardwood floors were installed. The ball field and playground land was purchased from Elbert V. Cochran. Mr. Cochran and several members of the community worked together to build the ball field for baseball games in the community. Cochran Field was dedicated in his honor.
With the construction of a middle school in 1985, Dean Rusk Middle, Free Home changed from serving grades kindergarten through eighth to serving kindergarten through grade six. With more growth in the community, the school’s configuration changed to include only kindergarten through fourth grades, while fifth and sixth grade students were transported to Macedonia Elementary, for the 2000-2001 school year. In the fall of 2004, Creekland Middle School opened and boundary lines were redrawn reducing the enrollment and changing the grade configuration once again to kindergarten through fifth grades.
Even with the population growth and change, Free Home remains a close knit environment and the community is an integral part of the school. Parental and community support are vital assets to Free Home Elementary.