History of Indianapolis' Premier Private School
Park Tudor private school has been educating children since 1902. For more than 100 years, our ongoing goal has been to prepare students to be successful and compassionate citizens of the world.
The history of Park Tudor School begins in 1902 when a remarkable woman, Miss Fredonia Allen, and a community leader, The Reverend James Cumming Smith, founded Tudor Hall School for Girls at 16th and Meridian Streets in Indianapolis. Miss Allen was the first principal; the Reverend Smith (formerly pastor of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church) served as the school's first dean. Fredonia Allen named the school after her mother, Ann Tudor Allen.
Alma Whitford, headmistress of Tudor Hall from 1963-1970, recalled that one of the school's first visitors was President Theodore Roosevelt.
"One day shortly after [the school] opened, a couple of its young ladies were leaning over a wall looking down the street and here comes a briskly stepping man followed by a large crowd of people and when he got to the girls he said, 'What is this?' And they said, 'This is our brand new college preparatory school. Wouldn't you like to come in and see it, Mr. President?' And Teddy said, 'Yes, I think I would.' So Teddy Roosevelt was perhaps our first distinguished visitor."
Park School began in 1914 as The Brooks School for boys. When that school developed financial problems in 1920, seven Indianapolis businessmen purchased it and operated it as Boys Preparatory School. The School moved from its campus at 1545 N. Central Ave. to the former Carl Fisher estate on Cold Spring Road in 1923, and in 1929 the name of the school was changed to Park School.
Both Park School and Tudor Hall were founded to provide the kind of education offered by eastern preparatory schools of the era. The schools had operated country day school programs, and Tudor Hall also had offered boarding facilities. The students always enjoyed a close association, not only as participants in the programs of the two schools, but as neighbors. Both schools were first located near 16th Street — Park at Central Avenue and Tudor Hall at Meridian Street. Later, they occupied nearby campuses on Cold Spring Road. Park School moved to the current campus at 7200 N. College Avenue in 1967 on the former Lilly Orchard property donated by Eli Lilly Jr. and his brother Josiah K. Lilly Jr. The entire school, grades K-12, was housed in the current Lower School building, while Clowes Commons served as both dining hall and theatre.
When Tudor Hall merged with Park School in 1970 to become Park Tudor School, the Upper School was built and a small gymnasium was added to the larger gym. In 1976, the Fine Arts Building and Frederic M. Ayres Auditorium opened. In 1988, the Middle School was moved from the Upper School building into a facility of its own. The Ruth Lilly Science Center was completed in 1989, giving the school a state-of-the-art science facility. The year 1992 marked the opening of the expanded gymnasium complex.
The Lower School was renovated in 1997 and joined to the new Hilbert Early Education Center, which houses junior and senior kindergarten. In 2000, a new addition joining the Upper School to the Fine Arts Building and a total renovation of these two buildings, as well as a number of other campus improvements, were completed.
Many traditions of our school are derived from our proud predecessors:
- In 1903, at the end of Tudor Hall’s first year, nine young women in long white dresses processed into a church, carrying 18 red roses, the senior class flower. Each spring, Park Tudor's female graduates continue this tradition at the commencement ceremony.
- At Park School, diplomas were presented at a year-end ceremony, along with academic, arts and athletic awards.
- Park Tudor ceremonies now include awards days for Lower, Middle and Upper Schools and a Senior Serenade at which younger students sing the alma mater to seniors and present each with a flower.
- The school boasts more than 4,000 alumni from Park School, Tudor Hall and Park Tudor. Continuing the tradition of excellence established by its predecessors, Park Tudor today offers a vigorous academic program complemented by a co-curricular program of fine arts, athletics, organizations and clubs.