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Indiana Dental College

Indianapolis, Indiana



Indiana University School of Dentistry Special Collections contains a history and images of the school.  Ralph D. Gray's IUPUI: the Making of an Urban University has a sketch of the school, as does Indiana, Past and Present, Vol. I.   Internet Archive has a digital copy of the 1915-16 yearbook, the I-Dent; has a digital copy of the 1904 Prognosis yearbook.


The seventh dental school in the United States to open, Indiana Dental College was founded as a private venture by dentists under the aegis of the Indiana Dental Association.  The purpose of the school was to upgrade dental standards in the state. The first year saw only six students and three graduates.  In the fall of 1880, 20 new students enrolled.

From 1880 I.D.C. advertised its infirmary.  There persons of limited means could receive dental care from students and professors, being charged only for the cost of materials. 


By 1904 the program had expanded to three years.  Prognosis shows 165 students with 82 Seniors (including two women). The 1916 I-Dent shows 216 students with 74 graduates. That yearbook announced that starting in fall of 1917, the program would be increased to four years.


Students had chapters of three professional fraternities—Xi Psi Phi, Psi Omega and Delta Sigma Delta.  Each had a house.  There was also a Sojourners Club organized by the masons.  Most I.D.C. students were members of the P.G.C. & G.E. Hunt Society, named for the first president of the school and his son.


Beginning in 1904 I.D.C. became a member of a four-school consortium of Indianapolis  colleges.  In addition to I.D.C., this "University of Indianapolis" consisted of Butler, Indiana law School and Indiana Medical College. 


Because of the costs involved. I.D.C. found it increasingly difficult to meet the standards set by the American Dental Association.  So in 1925 the school passed into the control of the state, becoming the Indiana University School of Dentistry.  As such it remains today.

Bricks and Mortar

Gray  notes that I.D.C. "did not have a permanent home.  Instead it operated from a number of buildings in downtown Indianapolis."   Prognosis says that IDC initially occupied eight rooms in the Thorpe Building on East Market Street, with students sharing both lectures and lab space with those from Indiana Medical College. 


In 1881 the school began to occupy the third and fourth floors of the Aetna Block on North Pennsylvania Street.   Then in 1894 the school moved into a new building on the southwest corner of Ohio and Delaware streets.  This three-story brick structure provided more space for labs, lecture rooms and the infirmary.  That building still stands today, housing a Crown Liquor Store.  It was placed on the National Register in 1983.

Then in 1914 the college began to occupy the upper floors of "a former automobile supply store" on the southwest corner of North and Meridian Streets.  Indiana, Past and Present calls it a fireproof steel and concrete building with a capacity for 260 students.


The last home was a former girls' classical school residence at 635 North Pennsylvania.  That building later became the home of the Lincoln Chiropractic College.  

The last home of the I.D.C. says that this building was razed between 1972 and 1978. Image from Handbook of Indianapolis edited by Marc Hyman (<;view=1up;seq=223>) Accessed 1-27-2018


        Team name: Dentals, Tooth Pullers

         Colors: Perhaps Blue and Gold (See the logo



Prognosis shows no sports activity in the 1903-04 school year.  However, by 1915, IDC had an athletic association with a successful basketball program. The Dentals compiled a 12-6 record that year against strong in-state competition.   Their opponents included three schools that are in Division I today-- Indiana, Indiana State, and Butler. Other well-known opponents included Wabash, Earlham, St. Joseph's, Indiana Central, and Culver Military Academy.


College Football Data Warehouse gives the Dentals a 0-1-0 football record, with an 8-6 loss to Hanover College in 1911.  The Indiana University School of Dentistry timeline says the program had "short-lived interest."

The 1915-16 basketball team. (National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Guide <>)  Accessed 1-27-2018

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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