Postcard views of Notre Dame


This view, looking towards the Main Building and Sacred Heart, shows some of the varied flora and fauna on the Main Quad

This view, looking towards the Main Building and Sacred Heart, shows some of the varied flora and fauna on the Main Quad


The following description of the Main Quad arboretum is from the superb guide book, Notre Dame, the Official Campus Guide, by Damaine Vonada. It's available in the book section at:

Because the sheer variety of the overall lanascaping (which the university groundskeepers meticulously maintain) greatly enhances its buildings, Main Quad's splendid arboretum is the source of much of the enchantment that this part of the campus holds for people. It dates back to the 1870s, when Brother Philip Kunze, C.S.C., a Silesian-born calligrapher and penmanship teacher with a very green thumb, began landscaping the grounds in front of the Main Building. His great passion was trees, and if you look southward from Main Building, you can still ascertain the general pattern-deciduous trees in the middle of the quad and evergreens along the sides-that he developed for planting them. Some of the trees you see are horticultural landmarks; others have become seasonal attractions in their own right. Probably the most photographed plants on campus are the magnificent saucer magnolias in front of the Main Building. In late April and early May their brilliant pink blossoms provide a dazzling counterpoint to the gold of the Dome and bright blue of the sky. Also quite pretty in the spring are the white dogwoods alongside the entrances to Walsh Hall. You'll notice various kinds of pine trees planted on the lawn before the dormitory, while next door at Sorin Hall, American elms grow beside the front steps. Red maples and sugar maples dominate the center of the quad, and the paper birch (look for the white trunk) between LaFortune Student Center and the Sacred Heart statue is the largest of its kind in Indiana. Northwest of Crowley Hall stands a great bur oak, an ecological signpost marking the transition between forest and prairie. In the fall, long after the other trees in the quad have shed their red and gold mantels, the bur oak holds on to its bronze-colored leaves.

The arboretum harbors all manner of birds and small animals such as rabbits, but the undisptited lords of this creation are the squirrels with the reddish brown fur that you see scampering everywhere. If they look well fed, it's because they are. Students routinely give them handouts, and, in truth, the squirrels are rather spoiled. They've grown so accustomed to contact with humans that if you have a snack, they'll practically accost you to get their share. The squirrels, like the swans and ducks that hold swayon the lakes, have few, if any, natural enemies on campus, and its lushly landscaped grounds are such a haven for them that one alumna has observed, "All animals go to heaven, but the really lucky ones get to go to Notre Dame first."



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