Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School began as two schools: "Nacoochee Institute" and "Rabun Gap Industrial School."
Established in 1903 in White County, Georgia, the Institute's early leaders were Reverend Joel Wade, a Presbyterian educational farm school and missionary, and the Reverend John Knox Coit who became head of the school and helped to develop a liberal arts curriculum.
In 1905, Andrew Jackson Ritchie and his wife, Addie Corn Ritchie, established the Rabun Gap Industrial School in Rabun County, Georgia, to help educate and give hope to the isolated people of the region. Students not only attended classes; they also worked the school farm, growing and preparing their food and maintaining the school's buildings, including dormitories.
In the winter of 1926, a fire destroyed the Industrial School main building and not long after, a fire struck the Nacoochee Institute in White County. Soon thereafter, the Boards of Trustees of the two schools voted to merge and build one larger and stronger school to be located on the Industrial School site and known as Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School.
Since that time, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has prospered. In its early years, Dr. Ritchie's Farm Family program drew the attention and support of philanthropists such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and George Woodruff, as well as the Presbyterian Church. The School's history includes a junior college and the original home of the internationally famous Foxfire Book series, which celebrates and preserves the culture of the Southern Appalachian region.
As Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has evolved into one of America's premier independent boarding and day schools, its history and heritage continue to inspire young people today. Now well into its second century of service, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School continues to prosper thanks to the dedication and vision of its founders and the solid foundation they built more than 100 years ago.