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(The following information is courtesy of

The first settlers to reach the area, Jeremiah Easterwood and his family, arrived in 1852. Easterwood built a Methodist Church which also served as a school. Eventually the community became know as Elm Grove. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built into the area about 1890. A general store was established by Charlie Moore in 1893. In 1894 the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists opened a school to train ministers on 836 acres in the community. The assembly hall was built on the campus of Southwestern Union College that year and a post office opened. Postal Service officials selected the name Keene. The local post office closes on Saturdays rather than Sundays.

In 1896 Southwestern Union College, originally a high school a became twelve grade academy. New buildings were constructed, and the campus' original structure became part of an industrial training complex which included a cannery, a laundry and a broom factory. By 1900, Keene had a population of 500. In 1915 two additional years of education were added to the college's curriculum and the institution became Southwestern Junior College. Keene had a population of 420 in 1926 and thirteen businesses in 1936. By the mid 1940s the town had 350 residents and sixteen businesses. 

In 1963 Southwestern Junior College became Southwestern Adventist College a four year college.


Adventist College

Petrified Wood Gate at Southwestern Adventist College