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 buldings 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 Places.