Source: The King’s College – SILVER ANNIVERSARY SUPPLEMENT,
courtesy of Mr. Art Nordin, Wilmington, De.
A Look Through the Years
The King’s College was literally born in a storm. But the words of the prophet Naham, ‘`The Lord hath His way . . . in the storm,” have proven true countless times since that day of birth 25 years ago.
“Why Another College,” was the title of the opening article contained in the first bulletin issued by the college in March, 1938. The answer followed: “During the past few years the need for an interdenominational Christian college, situated between New York and Philadelphia, has become increasingly apparent to many ministers, business men, and young people of the East. To meet this need, The King’s College is being founded. The purpose of this school is to combine a sane, evangelistic zeal with the highest standards of sound scholarship.”
Accordingly, on Monday, September 19, 1938, approximately 70 young people enrolled as freshmen in the first class admitted by the college. The devastating hurricane of 1938 was roaring up the East Coast that week and those first days at Belmar, New Jersey, were dreary days with steady rain outside and the musty odor of a long unused building inside, for the college opened its doors in the old Marconi Estate located on the Shark River Bay, just outside Asbury Park, New Jersey. The stock joke of that first week was that there was as much rain on the inside of the building as on the outside, and with minor exaggeration, this was a fairly truthful statement!
Mr. R. Fenton Duvall, brother-in-law to Founder and first President, Percy B. Crawford handled the lion’s share of the administrative duties that first year in addition to serving as instructor in history. Another dominant cam-pus figure was Dr. C. Hans Evans. Having just received his Ph.D. degree in Germany, Dr. Evans began an association with the college which exists to the present through his membership on the Board of Trustees.
All of the students lived in the main brick building which also housed the dining hall, library, chapel and most of the classrooms. A gymnasium had been erected during the summer of 1938 and a small building next to the gymnasium housed the biology laboratory and additional classrooms. The second year, a building near the bay was converted to a men’s dormitory as was a nearby farm house, affectionately referred to as the castle.
In the spring of 1941, with three classes enrolled by then, it became apparent that the college should relocate. As a result the Belmar campus was sold to the U. S. Army and became Camp Evans, a radar experimentation station. At the same time, negotiations were completed to purchase a pre-Civil War mansion and adjoining property located 13 miles south of the city of Wilmington, Delaware.
Additional Information based on phone interviews by Fred Carl: The college used all the Marconi Buildings and a home behind the hotel. According to Mr. Fenton Duvall, President of the college, the property was purchased for $25,000.00. This was the largest check he had written to that date. The college relocated to Delaware, as the college was having difficultly securing permanent certification from the NJ department of Education. The Army did not force them out. The college put the property up for sale. At this same time Fort Monmouth had put together a group to locate a new home for their secret radar research program at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook. According to Mr. Vic Friedrich, a member of the group, the Army was worried about the potential of U-boot shelling attacks or commando raids at the narrow hook. The group was looking for an Army location and had looked a far south as Mississippi. When the college put the old Marconi property with it’s 150 Ft. antennas, close proximity to Fort Monmouth main post, with 90 acres, the Fort purchased the property. Why an ‘action of taking’ is on file at the Monmouth County Hall of records could not be explained by Mr. Duvall or Mr. Friedrich. Their only guess was Army legal procedures. As Mr. Duvall stated, “we wanted to sell and the Army wanted to buy”.
page created November 05, 1999