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Pine Forge Academy

In 1946, Pine Forge Academy, then Pine Forge Institute, was founded by the late Elder John H. Wagner, Sr., former President of Allegheny Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Elder Wagner envisioned a boarding school in the North where African-American high school students could attend without the racial issues of schools in the South. Mr. Caution, a member of the Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Church in Philadelphia, alerted his pastor about 575 acres of land for sale near Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Upon hearing about the property for sale, President Wagner, a small entourage of preachers, and Dr. Grace Kimbrough visited the Rutter Estate. Immediately upon seeing the property for the first time, they knew their prayers had been answered. It was put to a vote and it was unanimous – they had found the site for the school in the North. The 575 acre Rutter Estate was purchased for $46,000.

The boarding school for African-Americans students would be called Pine Forge Institute. It opened its doors on September 9, 1946, with an enrollment of 90 high school students.

The campus resides on the historical property once owned by Thomas Rutter, an abolitionist iron miller, which was deeded to him by William Penn in the early 1700’s. Several of the original buildings still remain on the campus including the Manor House in which it is said that George Washington once rested. Additionally, the property was used during the closing days of slavery as a terminal for the Underground Railroad. These sites have been designated as official projects of Save America’s Treasures and are listed on the National Register of Historic Place