On the morning of Nov. 6, 1977, the dam holding back the lake above the falls broke. The forty acres of water surged down over the falls, through the park, down the valley through the campus, leaving in its wake 39 dead and 60 injured. All of the dead and injured were connected in some way with Toccoa Falls College. When the tragedy occurred, thousands of people from all over the world rose to the aid of the college and surrounding community. Over three million dollars in public and private gifts and grants, and thousands of hours of volunteer labor made recovery possible.
As is true here in the park, recovery is not complete, but is progressing.
Toccoa Falls College began in 1907 in Golden Valley, North Carolina. In 1911, after purchasing Haddock Inn and 100 acres of property including the 186 foot high Toccoa Falls, Dr. Richard A. Forrest, president and founder, moved the school to the present campus. In 1975, the board of trustees changed the name from Toccoa Falls Institute to Toccoa Falls College.
The college is dedicated to a single purpose, glorifying God through the training of Christian young people to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and his church. For over seventy years, the school has maintained this original goal. In carrying out this purpose, the college has enjoyed a close fellowship with many evangelical churches and mission societies. Today graduates of Toccoa Falls College serve in over fifty countries of the world and most of the United States. The sun never sets on the alumni of Toccoa Falls College.
On day you will walk the trails of the park or along the stream through campus and will find the recovery has been completed. It will be possible because of the assistance given by thousands of private individuals, the United States government, the State of Georgia, and County of Stephens, and the City of Toccoa. Churches, volunteer agencies, schools, and industries and businesses by the literal hundreds have rendered aid. To all these, Toccoa Falls College says, "Thanks."
The college continues and recovery is possible because of a gracious God. This school is "a tree of the planting of the Lord." It has been tried by fire and water but with his help it will continue to have an ever increasing ministry to the world.