The entire Cold Spring School campus was once the estate of the Charles M. Sommers family.
It is one of a group of estates along Cold Spring Road, which was once called “Millionaires’ Row” and which was home to three of four founders of the Indianapolis 500 race.
Along with a three-story stone mansion once visited by such famous Americans as Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers, the estate featured a bath house, swimming pool, boat launch into Crooked Creek, a tennis court, and a miniature golf course.
Portions of the Sommers landscape were designed by Jens Jensen, a renowned Chicago-based landscape architect who pioneered the use of native plants in landscape designs. Jensen also created a comprehensive landscape design for the James A. Allison family mansion next door to the Sommers, which is now owned by Marian University.
Under the ownership of IPS, the Sommers’ Mansion has seen various uses including IPS administrative offices, storage, a professional development venue, meeting space, and the occasional wedding. It now stands vacant. Allen House, originally the mansion’s carriage house, has been used for offices and classroom. It is now vacant except for band practice. South Hall is not currently used. The various other historic structures on the campus have slipped into decay.
The historic bridges over Crooked Creek, weeds growing out of cracks between the stones, are used daily by Cold Spring students to enter the wild lands that serve as their outdoor classroom.