Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Main Hall

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Institution Name: St. Norbert College
Original/Historic Place Name: St. Norbert's College
Location on Campus: center of campus, facing the campus mall
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1901-1903original construction: begun fall 1901; cornerstone laid March 19, 1902; building dedicated April 22, 1903 Reynolds, William E.
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: wood; slate
ca. 1903residence hall
ca. 1903auditorium
ca. 1903old main
ca. 1903other (basement recreation room)
ca. 1903dining hall (kitchen and dining room)
ca. 1903library (small one-room)
ca. 1903auditorium
ca. 1903other (six private rooms)
ca. 1903residence hall (one-floor dormitory)
ca. 1903other (study hall)
ca. 1903-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)infirmary (Campus Health Center)
ca. 2004-present (2007)administration

Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterMain Hall (1988)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Main Hall is located on a bluff overlooking the Fox River at the center of St. Norbert College, on the west side of the industrial city of De Pere. Surrounded by twenty-five acres of lawn and shade trees, and at the center of an eclectic collection of classical and contemporary college buildings, Main Hall is a masonry Romanesque revival college building built between 1901-1903.

When it was completed, Main Hall was a self-contained college. Recreation areas, reading rooms, kitchen and dining room were in the basement, while the first and second floors held the classrooms, study hall, libraries, and dormitories. On the third floor was an auditorium. For nearly fifteen years, Main Hall was the only college building, with exception of a succession of small frame structures built to house a gymnasium. Boyle Hall, constructed in 1917 and the Van Dye Gymnasium, constructed in 1930, were the only additional campus structures until the 1950's. All three were designed by William E. Reynolds of Green Bay.

Today, Main Hall continues to serve as the flagship of the college. "St. Norbert College" is inscribed over the principal entrance, and crosses are located there and on the belvedere roof. It is not only the image and logo of the college, but also the center of campus and a point of historical and emblematic origin.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Adams, Peter J. Main Hall [St. Norbert College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1988.

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

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Last update: November 2006