Blair Academy was founded in 1848, when wealthy merchant and railroad tycoon John Insley Blair proposed the establishment of a school to the Presbyterian Church and the town fathers of Blairstown.
Mr. Blair, the Rev. John A. Reiley, minister of the First Presbyterian Church, and Mr. John Bunnell, a local carriage maker, met on April 6, 1848, and agreed upon the school’s hilltop site, adjacent to the village of Blairstown. The land and a small building, known today as the Old Academy, were given by Mr. Blair, and soon the Blair Presbyterial Academy began educating boys and girls from the surrounding community.
John I. Blair remained the School’s principal benefactor for a half-century, and his philanthropy facilitated Blair Academy’s early growth. Buildings including Insley Hall and Locke Hall were erected in the late 1800s, and Mr. Blair’s son, DeWitt Clinton Blair, funded campus expansion and improvements, including the construction of Clinton Hall, in the early 20th century. Through the years and until the present day, the philanthropy of countless alumni, parents and friends has sustained and strengthened the School and made possible its continued evolution. In 1992, the School was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historic and architectural significance.
From its founding and through its original deeds of trust, Blair Academy has always been associated with the Presbyterian Church, specifically, the Presbytery of Newton. Blair was coeducational until 1915, when it became an all-boys’ school. Coeducation was reinstated in 1970, and today, the school welcomes a diverse student body comprising 460 college-bound young people from a multitude of backgrounds.
|Principals & Headmasters of Blair Academy|
|1848-1849||Dr. Isaiah Condict|
|1849-1852||The Rev. James G. Moore|
|1852-1854||The Rev. J. Kirby Davis|
|1854-1861 ||Mr. J. Henry Johnson|
|1861-1873 ||Mr. Simmons S. Stevens|
|1875-1883 ||Dr. Henry D. Gregory|
|1883-1892||Dr. John H. Shumaker|
|1892-1898 ||Dr. William S. Eversole|
|1898-1927 ||Dr. John C. Sharpe|
|1927-1946 ||Dr. Charles H. Breed|
|1946-1951 ||Mr. Benjamin D. Roman|
|1951-1954 ||Dr. Ira A. Flinner|
|1954-1976||Dr. James M. Howard, Jr.|
|1976-1989||The Rev. James R. Kelley|
|1989-2013||Mr. T. Chandler Hardwick III|
| 2013-present||Mr. Christopher M. Fortunato|