Postcard views of Notre Dame

"Across the Lake" St. Mary's Lake at Notre Dame

The description of St. Edward's Hall is from Damaine Vonada's wonderful guide book Notre Dame The Official Campus Guide (available in the "Books" section)

From The Notre Dame Campus Guide:

St. Edward's Hall

Whenever you see old pictures of Father Sorin with Notre Dame's grade school students, you can't help but notice the hint of fun in his face. Especially in his later years, when Father Sorin acquired a wintry beard, he looks very much like a Victorian Santa Claus surrounded by youngsters in bow ties and high button shoes. To those boarding school boys, he really was something of a Santa, treating them to peaches and sending a wonderful new toy -the velocipede- from Paris. Almost everyone at Notre Dame called them the "minims." But to the benevolent Sorin, the boys were "little princes," and in 1882, he had Brother Charles Harding, C.S.C., build them a proper "palace" on a site just northeast of the Main Building. It was a French-style, mansard-roofed structure that Father Sorin named St. Edward's Hall after his own patron.

St. Edward's was a complete boarding school for boys between the ages of six and thirteen. It had classrooms, study halls, dormitories, a chapel, a recreational annex, playing fields, and a beautifully landscaped park outside the front door. In 1929, Notre Dame discontinued its grade school programs, and under the direction of architecture professor Vincent Fagan, St. Edward's was remodeled into a residence hall for undergraduate men. The annex was demolished in the 1930s to make room for Zahm Hall on the new North Quad, but when the Navy invaded Notre Dame during World War II and turned it into a virtual training base, St. Edward's -along with Sorin Hall- remained a dormitory for the relatively few men on campus who were actually university students. In 1980, a serious fire on the fourth floor badly damaged the building. Instead of summoning the wrecking ball, Notre Dame hired Cole Associates in South Bend to rebuild St. Edward's, restore its original architectural features, and construct a look-alike addition to provide more space for students.




Much of the character of St. Edward's Hall comes from the treasured stained-glass windows in its second-floor chapel. These eight brilliantly colored windows each contain between 200 and 300 pieces of glass, and they were all made in France: four by Hucher and Sons in 1888, and four by the Echivard studio in 1912. Three of the windows depict Saints Edward, Anthony, and Andrew, while the other five show scenes from the life of Christ. In the second floor stairwell, another Hucher and Sons window portrays Father Sorin, the Log Chapel, and the Main Building in rainbow-like shades of yellow, green, and purple. Fortunately, the windows escaped the worst of the flames in 1980, and they were fully restored by the DeVac company of Plymouth, Minnesota. Even the frames surrounding the windows designed in a complementary custom color called "Notre Dame gold. "

Now on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Edward's is the oldest existing student dormitory on campus. It is also the only one whose residents don't have a nickname. They do, however, have a strong identity. The men of St. Edward's not only act in their own theatrical productions but also stage an annual charity carnival that, say some, makes them the "kings" of An Tostal. The dorm no doubt assumes its regal status from the landmark statue located in the pretty garden just a few feet from its front door. Made in Paris by the Froc-Robert studio, the statue represents Edward the Confessor, the English king who started Westminster Abbey and was later canonized. It shows Edward wearing a crown of crosses, and the building he holds is not the abbey but a replica of Notre Dame's Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

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On November 21, 1925, Knute Rockne made his first communion in the chapel of St. Edward's Hall. A convert to Catholicism, Coach Rockne  had been baptized the day before in the Log Chapel but kept it secret from his son, Knute Jr., who was one of the halls minims. Knute Jr. was scheduled to make his own first communion on the 21st and as he approached the alter to receive the sacrament, Rockne surprised the boy by getting in line beside him.


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