Inspired by French architecture, Martha Berry, founder of Berry College, wanted her dairy farm to resemble the architecture of the Normandy countryside. Built in the 1930s, the buildings of WinShape Retreat feature whitewashed bricks and red roof tiles that were handcrafted by students in a brick plant donated to the school by Henry Ford. Miss Berry also placed spires on the barns to draw the students’ eyes and hearts to God as they worked.
The Normandy complex was a functioning dairy farm for about 70 years and ranked among the top dairies in Georgia. But as dairy students dwindled in number, Berry College chose to streamline this costly operation, and began looking for a worthy cause to donate this one-of-a-kind property. At the same time, the WinShape Foundation was seeking to expand its ministry. Clearly, God was at work.
Because it was important not to disturb the beauty of the Normandy setting, adaptive reuse renovation techniques were used to turn barns into buildings. Structures were fortified for years of future use, but none of the historic architecture was changed.
During the renovation, architects advised WinShape Retreat to build two more buildings for housing. That’s when a surprising discovery was made: both buildings were on the original master plan! With the conversion to WinShape Retreat, the vision for the property God had given Miss Berry was finally fulfilled. And, when Truett and Jeannette Cathy first set foot on the property that would one day become WinShape Retreat, they felt they were standing on holy ground.
Since 2003, WinShape Retreat has hosted thousands of couples, ministries, groups, and individuals. We are confident your own story will be enriched and can’t wait to add your story to our rich legacy.
For more information about The WinShape Foundation, please click here.