Postcard views of Notre Dame


Howard Hall was the South Quad's first building, completed in 1924.

Howard Hall was the South Quad's first building, completed in 1924


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



Howard Hall was South Quad's inaugural building, the first shot in the revolution of campus design and reorientation so effectively marshaled by Kervick and Fagan. Built in 1924, this dormitory not only debuted collegiate Gothic architecture at Notre Dame, but also was the first university building purposely created in direct relationship to other buildings. Its companion residence halls - Morrissey and Lyons - were completed the following year, and the masterful positioning of these three brick buildings formed a gracious courtyard that time has turned into a private mini-quad adjoining the larger South Quad mall. Architecturally, this venerable trinity is considered by many to be the creme de la creme of Notre Dame dormitories. When they opened, the halls were so impressive that students called them the "Gold Coast," and taken together, they still put on a great front, especially when their show of Gothic detail is viewed from inside the courtyard.

Howard Hall's distinguishing feature is an open, double-barreled arch that both bisects the building and acts as a passageway between the courtyard to the west and Badin Hall to the east. The arch displays wonderful bas-reliefs that are especially charming on its east face. Above one side are two unmistakable symbols of autumn at Notre Dame -a football player and a squirrel. Above the other, an owl casts a sharp eye upon a tearful student bemoaning his exam book. The owl, of course, stands for wisdom, while the weeping youth recalls the "whining schoolboy" who represents the second age of man in Shakespeare's As You Like It.

The owl and the student are particularly appropriate for Howard Hall, since it was the first Notre Dame building named for a lay professor, Timothy E. Howard. Born on a farm outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, Howard entered Notre Dame in 1859 and earned his undergraduate degree by tutoring the minims. His first university post was as a professor of English literature, but he soon took on astronomy, scanning the heavens with a fine telescope that Emperor Napoleon III had donated to the university. The good professor, however, had his own sights set far beyond South Bend. After earning a Notre Dame law degree in 1873, Howard entered local politics, got elected to the Indiana Senate, and eventually became chief justice of Indiana's Supreme Court. In addition, he somehow found time to write poetry and short stories, publish histories (including one of the university), become an expert on tax codes, lecture on law at his beloved alma mater, marry, and father ten children. When Notre Dame honored Howard with its Laetare Medal in 1898, he also became the first South Bend resident to receive that coveted award. A statue of his patron saint -St. Timothy- was done by art student James Kress and is now installed in the niche above the west face of the Howard Hall arch. Howard Hall stayed a strictly male domain for 63 years until being converted to a women's dormitory in 1987. The new distaff residents were promptly dubbed "Ducks," presumably because of Howard the Duck, a less-than-stellar movie that was released shortly before they moved in. Since then, it's become a tradition for Howard women to roast -no, not ducks!- marshmallows on the night of the school year's first snowfall.



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