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Canterbury College

Danville, Indiana



There is some question about whether Canterbury College should be treated as a separate entity or simply as a continuation of Central Normal College.  I have included it here because it seems that its goals and activities are somewhat different from those of C.N.C.—at least the early C.N.C.  Again, I am indebted to the Indiana Digital Memory Collection  for the  materials used.



The Northern Diocese of the Episcopal Church took over the campus of Central Normal College after it closed in 1945.  Canterbury College opened in the fall of 1946 and remained in operation for five years.  While continuing in the same buildings with many of the same faculty, there seems to have been shifts in academic emphases.  The Canterbury catalogue defined the school as a “co-educational liberal arts college” rather than a normal school.  The graduating class of 1948 showed a number of different majors—including music and art.  


A yearbook count from 1948 shows around 275 students. Canterbury kept most of the organizations and activities of C.N.C., but since it was a church-sponsored school, there appears to be an increase in religious life with the Student Christian Association, the Canterbury Club and a liturgical choir.  One holdover from C.N.C. days was the women’s sextet called the C.N.C. Belles, which continued as the Canterbury Belles.


Social life seems to emanate from the social fraternities and sororities, of which there were six chapters on campus.


While the yearbooks look forward to a future filled with new buildings and programs, these were not to be.   A “declining financial situation” forced the school to close “for good” in 1951.

Bricks and Mortar

Canterbury College inherited five buildings from Central Normal School.  These included the original Recitation Hall, built in 1878.  The bell tower of this building served as a logo for Canterbury College as it had for C.N.C.  Also included were the Administration Building (1891) Hargrave Hall (1916) and the gymnasium (1936). 


The aging Recitation Hall and Administration Building were razed.  Danville Middle School took over the remaining buildings.  Today, Hargrave Hall, the gymnasium, and the well house are a part of the Danville Community School called the Central Normal Campus.

(Above) An aerial view of the Canterbury College campus in 1947.  The Administration Building is to the left and Recitation Hall is to the right. (Echo, Danville Public Library, Indiana Digital Memory Collection <>)


        Team name: Knights

        Colors: Purple and Gray


Canterbury College was a member of the Hoosier-Buckeye Conference, competing in football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and ultimately cross-country.  Led by 6’9” Jim Springer, the 1946-47 basketball team qualified for the NAIB Tournament in Kansas City.   There they defeated Western Carolina before losing to Emporia State of Kansas.


The first four Canterbury football teams compiled a 6-22-4 record.  However, in its last year of existence, Canterbury produced an undefeated team.  That team marched past Franklin, Taylor, Earlham, Anderson, Rose-Hulman, Indianapolis, and St. Joseph’s to record a conference championship.



(Above) 1947 NAIB team.  Jim Springer is number 13 in the front row.  (1947 Echo, Danville Public Library, Indiana Digital Memory Collection <>)

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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