The college was founded in 1876 as part of the larger statewide university system in Indiana. The school was located in Ladoga, Indiana, but was moved to Danville, Indiana in 1878 after purchasing the former Danville Academy buildings. Normal Hall is the only remaining building associated with the Central Indiana Normal School at Ladoga. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
The school taught traditional college courses, but primarily focused on training teachers. Over 75,000 teachers were trained while the school was in operation. In 1942 the school buildings were taken over by the Northern Diocese of the Episcopal Church and the college was renamed Canterbury College, but it continued as a normal school until closing in 1951 due to bankruptcy. The old Administration Building and the Chapel were torn down, but Hargrave Hall and the C.C. Bostick Gymnasium were used as the Danville Community High School and then the Danville Community Middle School until 2009.
The building is currently used for Ivy Tech classes in conjunction with Danville Community High School and is referred to as Central Normal Campus. In addition to housing educational facilities, it also houses the Danville Police Department as well Danville Athletic Club.
The majority of the College's records and archive materials are maintained by Indiana State University.
The school's alumni include:
- Samuel Ralston, a United States Senator and the 28th Indiana Governor,
- U.S. Representative William Larrabee
- U.S. Representative William La Follette
- MLB pitcher Vic Aldridge,
- John Cravens, long-time university administrator
- Jim Springer, former professional basketball player
- Lewis Terman, human development psychologist.
- William H. Stead, Illinois Attorney General, also went to the school.
- Frank W. Griese, Mayor of Evansville, Indiana (1930–1935)
- John W. Spencer, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court
- "Indiana Mentor Retains Post". The Pantagraph. Bloomington, Illinois. Associated Press. July 6, 1946. p. 8. Retrieved November 12, 2019 – via Newspapers.com .
- "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-05-01. Note: This includes Mark Dollase; Conrad Harvey & Andrew Houk (May 1995). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Normal Hall" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-01. and Accompanying photographs.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "Central Normal College". Hendricks County Historical Museum. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
- "Town of Danville". Town of Danville. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- *Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1919). Indiana and Indianans. Volume III. Chicago & New York: American Historical Society. p. 1228.
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- 'Illinois Blue Book 1909,' Biographical Sketch of William H. Stead, pg. 112
- "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Greschner to Griffey".
- Leander John Monks, Courts and Lawyers of Indiana, Volume 3 (1916), p. 1365.
- Hendricks County Historical Museum: Central Normal College
- Hendricks County Heritage Digital Collection