112 West Delaware
The Pennington School

112 West Delaware Avenue

marker The Pennington Methodist Male Seminary, now known as the Pennington School, was founded in 1838 after Reverend John K. Shaw, pastor of the Pennington Methodist Episcopal Church, led a fund-raising drive successful enough to convince the Methodist Conference of New Jersey to select Pennington as the site for its first mail seminary. This institution, located on the south side of present West Delaware Avenue, has been a key element in promoting the growth of Pennington. Its principal building, originally a classic Federal-style structure with some Greek Revival detailing, and the surrounding campus are prominent physical features within the community.
 
The Conference followed this with the founding in 1844 of the Pennington Methodist Female Institute to provide secondary-level schooling for young women. Both of these schools were initially quite successful, and Pennington was established as one of the most important centers of Methodist education in the country. In general, the ambitious plans for a complete Methodist system of education caused the church to overextend itself, and by mid-century many of the schools established during this period could no longer be properly supported. In Pennington, the former Male Seminary was made into a coeducational institution in 1853, and the former Female Institute was sold off (to become A> P. Lasher's Male and Female Institute, a private secondary school). The former Male Seminary (it was again reorganized and returned to its original role as a boy's school in 1910) survived this consolidation period and remains active today as the well-known preparatory institution, The Pennington School
 
Editor's note: When Rosemary and I came to live in Pennington, The Pennington School was, at least informally, referred to as The Pennington Boys School. Soon after that, the school, once again, became co-educational and became known as The Pennington School. One strange coincidence, when I was quite young, in a time long ago and far away, our church supported the Pennington Boys School. We kids would save our dimes in a paper folder. I am not certain whether it was 10 dimes or 20 dimes at a time. Of course, we had absolutely no idea where Pennington, New Jersey was located. So, when we actually came to live, just a few blocks from The Pennington School, it had a special meaning for me.

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Ref: Hopewell: A Historical Geography
updated January 2017
posted June 2007

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