As the last quarter of the 19th century began, the idea of an education for all Americans was becoming a reality. Educated professionals were gaining acceptance, especially in medical fields. Medical and dental colleges sprang up with alarming rapidity; unfortunately, not all were quality educational institutions. The dental field was specifically plagued with diploma mills where, for a flat fee and very few dental courses, one could obtain a diploma and dental tools. To combat this problem, the Indiana State Dental Association met in Indianapolis in June 1879 and proposed to found a quality educational institution for the training of dentists. A board was elected, and the Indiana Dental College was incorporated.
As the school’s academic excellence grew in notoriety, so did the school’s population. The growth of the college in the 1880s necessitated larger, more permanent quarters than the ones the school rented. In 1894, construction began on a building at Delaware Street and Ohio Street, and, by the fall term of the same year, the structure was opened for classes. The 20 years spent in this building were ones of constant growth and continued academic excellence for the college.
By 1914, the school’s growth necessitated a move to property at North and Meridian Streets, and, in 1925, the Indiana Dental College was purchased by Indiana University and operates today as the Indiana University Dental School. The former headquarters at Delaware and Ohio was purchased for office and commercial space in 1914, and that has been its primary function ever since. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it underwent extensive restoration, and it was listed on the State Register in 1980.