Postcard views of Notre Dame


The venerable and picturesque "Three Arches," so familiar to alumni and visitors alike. Sadly, these beautiful arched trees succumbed to disease and had to be removed.


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

The Main Quadrangle

Locating Main Quad is easy, for it's the home of the revered Main Building, whose glorious Golden Dome and likeness of Our Lady can be seen allover campus. Determining Main Quad's place in the Notre Dame universe, however, is quite another matter. The quad long ago ceased to be the true geographic center of the university, but it will forever remain the psychological center, a place that exists largely in the hearts and minds of the Notre Dame family. This is both the university's historic district and its most hallowed ground, the site of the two structures -the Main Building and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart- that summarize its beliefs, its mission, its purpose, its heritage, and its spirit.
>Father Sorin deliberately made the Main Building the focal point of his young university, and he also planned Notre Dame Avenue to be a tree-lined boulevard that, like the grand entrance to Versailles, would visually as well as physically lead people to it. Then in the late 1800s, he crowned the Main Building with a gold-coated dome. Creating a Golden Dome at the height of the Gilded Age was a stroke of public relations genius, for it provided the university with an inspired symbol that has proved to be priceless. "Who but Notre Dame," architect Francis Kervick once asked in admiration, "would have dared to layout a mile-long, grand boulevard culminating with a dome of gold?"
>While the Dome dramatically marks the Main Building as the heart of Notre Dame, the adjacent Basilica of the Sacred Heart steadfastly maintains its soul. Not only does the Basilica give Main Quad the nickname of "God Quad," but the cross atop its spire is also the highest point -230 feet - on campus. Thus it provides very visible evidence of the lofty position that religion has always occupied at Notre Dame.
>"God Quad" does indeed have a reverent quality. It is a sublime space: peaceful, serene, and well-ordered with symmetrically placed buildings hemming the east and west sides. At its center, a wonderful arboretum balances the works of man with the work of nature to make Main Quad seem like a sanctuary. You almost want to whisper here, but you don't, mostly because this quad is such a surprisingly musical place. Its sounds are many and filled with the joy of youth and the warmth of tradition - the noble bells of the Basilica tolling the hours; beloved hymns ascending from early Sunday mass; a clear, sweet soprano practicing in Crowley Hall; band members proudly trumpeting the "Victory March" beneath the Golden Dome; show tunes and tap shoes resounding in Washington Hall; restless rock songs blaring from open dormitory windows. The music echoes from and around the quad's aged buildings, whose worn bricks have forever captured the character of the early, aspiring Notre Dame. For the university's founding fathers - Sorin, Dillon, Corby, Lemonnier, Morrissey, Walsh -Main Quad was Notre Dame, and to this day, you can almost feel them listening to the rhythms of the campus.
>It was on Main Quad that Notre Dame first took shape as a university. All of the rest of the campus -every classroom building, laboratory, residence hall, statue, library, stadium, discovery, theory, art and tradition -emanates from its venerable buildings. English professor Frank O'Malley once said that there is blood in these bricks. He was absolutely right, for the men and women who wrested a great university from the Indiana prairie were single-minded and totally willing to commit their lives to realize the idea as well as the ideals of Notre Dame. Theirs is a classic American success story -poverty, hardship, against-all-odds perseverance, and ultimate success beyond any expectation. Father Sorin and his followers were immigrants who started Notre Dame on a prayer and a shoestring, and Main Quad stands as the first concrete testament to that accomplishment.




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