One look and you're impressed with the sprawling campus and air of antiquity and excellence.

Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, is the largest independent high school in the United States, according to the school's website.

It's also one of the oldest high schools in New Hampshire and one of the oldest in the country.

The school's website states that it was established in 1815 and that the campus has over 170 acres of land, with over 23 academic buildings on site.

According to,

There are 95 acres of Pinkerton Academy athletic fields. The school also owns a 68-acre parcel of land known as the Forsaith Forest, in Chester, NH. This rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp was given to the school through a generous donation by Dr. Forsaith, former school trustee. It contains unusual species such as pitcher plants and black gum trees and is maintained by students in Pinkerton's Environmental Studies and Forestry classes.

Pinkerton Academy via Facebook
Pinkerton Academy via Facebook

There are six towns in the Pinkerton Academy District, which serves Auburn, Candia, Chester, Derry, Hampstead, and Hooksett.  However, a limited number of students are accepted outside of these local communities.

There's a total of 20 towns in New Hampshire and Massachusetts represented at Pinkerton Academy. listed Pinkerton Academy as the oldest high school in New Hampshire amongst a list of the oldest high schools in each state in the US. It even cited poet laureate Robert Frost as one of its famous faculty members.

However, several other high schools predate that 1815 establishment listed in the list, such as Phillips Exeter Academy, a coeducational university preparatory private school for boarding and day high school students, which states on its website that it was founded in 1781, and Kimball Union Academy, a private boarding and day school for high school students, states on its website it was founded in 1813.

So while it may not be technically the oldest like stated, Pinkerton Academy is still in great company with a number of the oldest high schools in the Granite State and the United States overall. So much history in New Hampshire!

Bravo, Pinkerton, for being amongst the oldest high schools in New Hampshire and for being known across New England as one of the best high schools in the region.

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