Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Clet Hall

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Institution Name: Niagara University
Original/Historic Place Name: College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels
Location on Campus: NW side
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1862original construction Unknown
ca. 1865rebuilt after fire Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone
Roof: concrete plank; asphalt shingle
ca. 1862other (College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (campus club)
ca. 2004-present (2007)dining hall (dining commons)
ca. 2004-present (2007)academic department building (theater)
ca. 2004-present (2007)theater (Leary theater)
ca. 2004-present (2007)residence hall

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Clet Hall (pronounced CLAY) was the first building erected after purchase of the campus in 1856 by the Rev. John J. Lynch, C.M., a Vincentian priest who was the co-founder of the university and the first archbishop of Toronto. It was originally built in 1862 to house the College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, the forerunner of Niagara University. The structure burned in December of 1864, forcing the seminary to close for a nine-month period during reconstruction.

Clet is named for Francis Regis Clet, a Frenchman who served as a Vincentian missionary in China during the last 30 years of his life (1748-1820). He was canonized a saint on Oct. 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II, along with more than 100 other martyrs of China.

The building, which has two wings, serves today as a residence hall. It also houses the Leary Theatre, the department of theater and fine arts, the dining commons, and the campus club.

I. Bibliographic sources:

McKey, Joseph. History of Niagara University and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels 1856-1931. Niagara County, NY: Niagara University, 1931.

Niagara University Alumni Chapel History and Guide. Niagara, NY: Niagara University Office of Public Relations, 1995.

Niagaran Centennial Edition Yearbook. [Niagara, NY: Niagara University], 1956.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office

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