The historic structures on campus are vital pieces of Murphy-Harpst’s legacy of healing and the site of many happy firsts and pivotal moments for children recovering from trauma and other misfortunes. The buildings are constantly evolving to meet the current needs of kids, and new places are built to provide space for Murphy-Harpst’s ever-growing offerings of therapies and recreational activities.
Steeped in history and named for its once plentiful scene of red cedar trees, Cedartown has been home to Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers for almost 100 years. Nestled in the foothills of northwest Georgia, with the Silver Comet Trail running along one edge of the campus, this has been an invaluable setting for taking in and nurturing young people. Ethel Harpst began her lifelong journey of caring for Georgia’s most vulnerable children at the McCarty Settlement House at Cedartown’s Mill Village in 1914.
A gift from Mrs. Henry C. Pfeiffer in 1939, Noble Hall was originally used for offices and a barber shop, with a library downstairs and a dormitory upstairs. It currently serves as a space for visitor check-in and administration.
After its construction in 1933, Pfeiffer Hall was used as guest and reception rooms, an infirmary with two wards, an operating room and clinic, nurses quarters, and more.
Originally called Merner Hall and named after legendary donors in the Merner family, our Dining Hall is not only used for resident and staff dining but also special events like Art Shows, Talent Shows, Town Halls, Employee Appreciation Events, and the Annual Christmas Party and Recital.
James Hall is the oldest building on the Murphy-Harpst campus. It was gifted by the Women of the Pittsburgh Conference, the Woman’s Home Missionary Society, and the citizens of Cedartown. It was completed in 1927 as the Three Story Building housing a nursery and dormitory for girls and remodeled in 1934 to become James Hall.
The Chapel, a large auditorium built in 1942, was originally used for Church School, play rooms, and entertainment in the 1940s (and equipped with a pipe organ). It is now where residents attend Murphy-Harpst’s top-ranked York Academy and serves as a multi-purpose meeting space.
Pool & Playground
Our playground (built in the 1940s) and our pool (constructed in 1962) are just two places on campus where children have relaxed and played for decades. The playground was renovated in 2002 and named after Christopher Piper, who spearheaded the fundraising efforts that provided it.
Boykin Cottage was constructed in 1959 with $70,000 from the Fuller Callaway Foundation of LaGrange, Georgia with the assistance of architects Bothwell and Nash of Marietta. It was named for Judge Samuel J. Boykin of Carrollton. Now, it is home to 15 young women in Murphy-Harpst’s Residential Care program.
Track & Field
The multi-purpose Track & Field opened in 2019. Several individual, foundation, corporate, and church donors plus many Due West UMC and NOMADS volunteers made it possible.
Hope Hall was dedicated in 2016 and contains the Nellie & Thalia Cottages, named after two donors who provided them, Nellie Axleroad and Thalia Carlos. The cottages are home to about 15 young men who are in Murphy-Harpst’s Residential Care program.
Gym & Amphitheatre
Our current gym (our original was located underneath the Chapel!) was built in 2013. It was donated by and named after Nellie Axleroad. It is currently the spot where residents engage in recreational therapy, art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, music, and clubs.
Greenhouse & Garden
This area was built in 2018 and serves as a vibrant spot where children at Murphy-Harpst learn to grow vegetables. Our cooks in the cafeteria sometimes use the produce to prepare healthy meals.
The Barn houses the eleven horses on campus that serve the children at Murphy-Harpst through our Equine-Assisted Therapy program.
Community Services, an outpatient treatment clinic, was previously a garage known as the Carriage House and stored our School Bus.
Murphy-Harpst’s expansive rural campus is a key part of the healing power in a child’s time at the center, removing kids from the chaos of their former living situations and connecting them with nature and themselves through a wide range of programs.
One look around campus displays Murphy-Harpst’s deep history. While the historic buildings have stood tall in their places on campus for decades, their uses have evolved to meet the needs of the children in our care.