Founded as Pine Grove Academy in 1876, Grove City College assumed its present name in 1884. It was founded by Isaac Conrad Ketler, a Mercer County native, with an initial enrollment of thirteen students. By the 1970s, the student body had grown to 2,050, the approximate size at which it remains today.
The 150-acre campus plan was drawn c. 1930 by the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Eckles architectural firm of New Castle. Today, approximately two dozen buildings, most in the Collegiate Gothic style, are arranged in quadrangles on the upper or east campus. Wolf Creek divides the athletic facilities and Thorn Field (west campus) from the academic campus (east campus). The two are joined by the graceful stone Rainbow Bridge. The Eckles firm designed the stone Science Building (1930), Harbison Chapel (1931), and Crawford Hall (1938) in a Collegiate Gothic style similar to that employed at Princeton University.
Two generations of Mercer County's (later Philadelphia's) Pew family, who made their
The Colonial Hall Apartments (2005–2006, IKM/Grant), a four-story, red brick student housing facility with soaring roofs was designed in collaboration by two firms: Pittsburgh's IKM and Baltimore's Grant Architects. The campus is meticulously maintained and homogeneous in architectural character and enrollment.