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About Tilton

About Us

Tilton School is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory school serving students from 9th to 12th grade and postgraduates. Tilton's student body of 230 consists of day and boarding students from 15 states and 13 countries. Although the Tilton Experience is different for every student, it challenges all students to try new things, learn new skills, and set new goals.

School History

Tilton School was founded in 1845 as a secondary school for boys and girls. Both dormitory students and day students were accepted. About 76 boys and girls formed the first student body. Two buildings, a boarding house and a classroom building were built for the School in Northfield, NH, which is just across the Winnipesaukee River from the present campus. In the 1860s, a fire burned part of the school and forced relocation across the river, to the present campus. Several brick buildings were erected, to be replaced in the 1880s by Knowles Hall.

In the early days, several different names were used for the school, each describing its function and, at times, its location. First, the school was called the New Hampshire Conference Seminary because it was founded by Methodists, and its primary purpose was to train boys and girls for work in the Church. In 1852, "and Female College" was added to the already long name. College degrees were granted to women until 1903, when the name was changed to "Tilton Seminary." The present name, Tilton School, was adopted in 1923.

Over the years, Tilton School has served many purposes, which were always related to the needs of the times. It has been a coeducational boarding school, a boys' boarding school, a public school, a female college, a junior college, and a secondary school with both college and general courses. In 1939, Tilton ceased serving as the local high school and became strictly an independent boarding and day school for boys. In 1958, the "general diploma" was dropped and only college preparatory courses were offered. In 1970, Tilton once again became co-educational.

The original name for the Town of Tilton was Sanbornton Bridge. It was changed in 1869 to honor Major Charles E. Tilton , who had gone west 25 years earlier in the Gold Rush and returned a wealthy man. Major Tilton built his mansion (now Tilton Hall) and many of the buildings in town. He is responsible for numerous statues and parks as well as the famous arch, which still stands in Northfield.