In 1888 the school moved to DeGraffenried Place, a ten-acre site in Chester. The institute gained its first black leader, J. D. Martin, in 1928. Brainerd Junior College opened in 1934 to train teachers. Both institutions closed in 1939, citing increased public school opportunities for blacks and financial strains. The actress Phylicia Rashad, daughter of an alumna, purchased the former campus in 1997 and began restoration work on the only surviving building, Kumler Hall.