Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Main Building

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Institution Name: Our Lady of the Lake University
Original/Historic Place Name: Main Building
Location on Campus: 411 SW 24th St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1889addition of north wing Unknown
1895original construction Wahrenberger, James
1900addition of south wing Unknown
1923remodeled interior Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete and wood
Walls: brick
Roof: slate; bitumen
1896-1908other (grammar school)
1896-1908other (Academy high school)
1896-1908residence hall (for novices)
1896-1908other (sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence offices)
ca. 1908infirmary (and community room)
ca. 1908library
ca. 1908chapel
ca. 1908-present (2007)dining hall
ca. 1908-present (2007)residence hall
ca. 1908-present (2007)classrooms (and offices)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (computer labs, TV studio)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Main building portrays in a very literal way the evolution of this university from a small gathering of sisters of a congregation to a fully functioning university. The sisters arrived in the western side of San Antonio to establish an educational and religious institution. Once situated, they constructed a handsome neo-Gothic building that served religious and educational needs until 1906, when the convent was completed. Meanwhile, Main was expanded with a north wing in 1899 and the south wing in 1900. Interestingly, the footprint of the building has not changed for 108 years and remains approximately 66,000 sq. ft. in area; but the interior has changed according to the needs of the university. Renovations, demolitions, and designations have characterized the interior of this interesting old building.

In 1923, two classrooms on the second floor of the south wing were merged into one to create a new community room. The old community room was made into three small rooms--an office for a sister and two bedrooms. Also in 1923 the first chapel on the second floor became the library after the chapel next door was opened. Today, after countless physical changes all reflecting the needs of the university, Main continues to house a wide variety of functions and activities. It is currently occupied by the cafeteria, meeting and classrooms, an international student center, an electronic computer lab, the office of university relations, English department offices, a computer lab for general use, an English computer lab, financial services, development, and a TV studio and offices. Additionally, the second floor functions as a residence hall for thirty students.

Main building is extraordinary and a monument to the history of this university. At one time or another everyone and everything associated with the birth, growth, and maturity of this university has passed through this old building.

I. Bibliographic sources:

None specified.

II. Location of other data:

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Last update: November 2006