Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Terence Hall; Terrence Donaghoe Hall

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Institution Name: Clarke College
Original/Historic Place Name: Auditorium and Recreation Building
Location on Campus: Northwest campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
ca. 1928-1933original construction Byrne, Francis Barry
1938addition of balcony-level roller-skating track in gymnasium Unknown
1955interior remodeled (auditorium) Unknown
1970 interior remodeled (conversion of gymnasium to drama lab) Unknown
1979interior remodeled (conversion of drama lab back to gymnasium) Unknown
ca. 1980interior remodeled (natatorium) Unknown
1981interior remodeled (auditorium) Unknown
1992Kehl Center begun; exterior remodeled (removal of cloister) Unknown
1994completion of Kehl Center athletic complex (attached where cloister had been) Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: plaster
Roof: tile
ca. 1933theater
ca. 1933-1979student union
1933-present (2007)auditorium
1933-present (2007)gymnasium (with pool and natatorium)

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

This building was constructed with of the ideal of functional beauty adapted to the surrounding environment. Begun in the 1920s, it is an early testament to the importance of both theatre and athletics in the education of Midwestern college women.

Rapid growth in the number of students at Mount St. Joseph College in the 1920s led to the construction of another building on the north side of campus, just four years after the completion of Mary Frances Hall. Envisioned as a multi-purpose building, it was built in the same style as its immediate predecessor, and its brown bricking and orange tile roofs perfectly matched those of the recently completed dormitory. Although the cornerstone date is 1929, groundbreaking occurred on May 17, 1928 (Ascension Thursday). This, and spring graduation, were the last significant events before the change of the college name from Mount St. Joseph to Clarke (effective after September of that year). The building itself would not be fully completed until well into the depression era.

Built in the shape of an inverted "L," the main body of the building functioned as a large auditorium, complete with a balcony, descending floor, and large stage. Eight large windows graced each side of the auditorium and were equipped with heavy drapes to allow for the showing of movies and staging of dramatic productions. The main entrance doors faced Seminary St. (now Clarke Drive), and the structure was the westernmost building on campus at that time. A large barn and field lay to the west, where eventually the pit parking lot was constructed in 1973, the barn having burned in 1969 or 1970. Attached to the main body of the building on the east, and at a right angle, was a gymnasium with natatorium built below it. With the addition of this building the much smaller auditorium in the academy wing (Rosie O'Toole Hall) was converted to an assembly hall, and the former gym in the lower level of the College Building (Mary Bertrand Hall) was converted first to a magazine room and later to the stack area of the relocated campus library. On the far east side of the gymnasium portion of the building, the structure was attached to Mary Frances Hall via a two-story tall cloister walk. Entirely enclosed on the lower level, the upper level consisted of a roofed colonnade with pillars in the front and back center. This made it possible to walk from the new auditorium via Mary Frances Hall to any of the buildings on the opposite side of the street without going outside.

Some time after the opening of the building, the space below the auditorium became the first student union on campus. By 1944, this space boasted four regulation size bowling alleys, with billiard tables on either side, for the recreational use of Clarke students. This union would be renovated and updated in the early fifties. In 1976, it was given the name "The Place," repainted, and a small kitchen was installed. Both hot food and beer were subsequently served here, but student utilization of the union remained sparse. Never a very aesthetically pleasing space, it was closed in 1979 when a new union opened in Mary Frances Hall.

The auditorium also underwent many changes over the years. Because it was difficult getting the interior dark enough for movies and theatrical performances during the day, the large windows on the east and west sides were bricked over in the mid-fifties. The interior was also remodeled at various times, including removal of all the wooden seats on the main floor and their replacement with cushioned seats. This work was finished by September of 1981. The original wooden seats still remain on the balcony.

The first modification of the gymnasium occurred in 1938, when a balcony level roller-skating track was added due to the popularity of the sport at that time. This wooden track, pitched in the corners to accommodate speed, was later converted into a flat running track. In 1970, the space was converted into a drama lab, leaving the college without any gymnasium until the space reverted back to that use in 1979, at which time the college went co-ed. In that year, the drama department took over the space below the theater, which had previously been the student union. With the opening of the attached Kehl Center in 1994, this small gym began service as a weight and exercise room on the east side and a general-purpose room on the west. Modifications to the natatorium below the gym occurred in the 1980s and included deepening the water level and removing the diving board for safety reasons (due to the low ceiling in the room).

With the start of construction of the attached Kehl Center in 1992, the historic cloister walk was removed. Also removed at this time from in front of the walk were two graduation class trees. One was a Japanese Juniper planted by the class of 1934, the other was a large beautiful magnolia planted by the class of 1954. After the completion of the Kehl Center, a magnolia was planted as a replacement for the latter tree near the original site. Also, as a carry over from the cloister walk, the Kehl Center entranceway was designed to mirror the architecture of the former walk, and the walk's pillars were incorporated into the entrance facade.

Initially, this building was called the Auditorium and Recreation Building. In the spring of 1952, the College Dean, Mary Crescentia Thornton, BVM, organized a building naming ceremony on campus. On College Day of that year, this building was formally named Terence Donoghoe Hall in honor of the Irish-born priest who befriended the five original missionary women from Ireland and co-founded with them the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the renovation of the drama lab back into a gymnasium in 1979, this part of the building, as well as the natatorium below it, was referred to as the Physical Activities Center. Today, it is an appendage of the Kehl Center athletic complex.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Mulholland, Mary Ambrose. Clarke Lives! Dubuque, IA: Clarke College, 1993.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections

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