Le Mans Hall
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Ground was broken for LeMans Hall on March 19, 1924. LeMans Hall is named after the city in France where Fr. Moreau founded the Congregation of the Holy Cross. "The architect for LeMans Hall was Maurice Carroll, a recent graduate (1919) of Notre Dame's department of architecture. Encouraged by his sister Margaret, a sophomore at Saint Mary's, he submitted plans. They were favorably received and, working closely with Mother Pauline (President of the College), he created the design of LeMans Hall, his first big commission for an educational building." (Monica Wagner, C.S.C., Benchmarks: Saint Mary's College, How it Grew [Notre Dame, IN: Saint Mary's College, 1990]).
The architect, J. Maurice Carroll (1898-1991), designed more than 160 churches, schools, and hospitals throughout the Midwest. He also was the architect for the Rockne Memorial Building at Notre Dame (1938). Mr. Carroll twice won the American Institute of Architects medal for churches he designed in Kansas City, MO. The first was in 1922 for his work as associate architect in the design of St. Vincent's Church. The second was in 1947 for the design of St. Peter's Church. His other major works include St. Joseph's Academy in Frontenac, MO., five major buildings for St. Mary College in Leavenworth, Kansas, and the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.
Carroll was the founding partner of the architectural firm Carroll and Dean in Kansas City, and from 1948 to 1967, he had his own firm, Maurice Carroll Architect, in St. Louis. His father, Martin Carroll, was a pioneer in reinforced concrete construction and collaborated with Thomas Edison in the design of poured concrete houses for industrial plants.
Architecturally, the building has a six-story central tower surmounting the four-story dormitory. The east and west wings extend one hundred and twenty-five feet from the tower. A third wing extending to the north from the back of the main building originally contained the library, chapel, and Stapleton Lounge. Today the library has been converted into student residences. Over the years, the hall has been adapted with grace and style to new uses required by students and administrators.
LeMans Hall, with its stately square tower floodlit at night, is the symbol for all that is Saint Mary's College. It was designed for the education of women and represents all the virtues and graces of that noble mission. Every spring, Commencement is conducted on its front lawn. Graduates are embraced by LeMans's two handsome wings and sit under the gaze of the statue of Mary, Queen of Heaven, standing in the niche above the main front double doors.
To walk the halls of LeMans is to communicate with the memories of the great women who have led, taught, and guided the alumnae of the college for seventy-five years, persons such as Mother Pauline, C.S.C., Sister Madeleva, C.S.C, and Marion McCandless, the longtime director of the Alumnae Association and author of "Family Portraits," the history of that association, the oldest women's alumnae group.
Since its dedication, LeMans Hall has been the vital center for implementing the mission of Saint Mary's College: the education of women to make a difference in the world. Its Tudor Gothic architecture is without equal for dignity, grace, and pride of place and accomplishment.
Creek, Sister Mary Immaculate. A Panorama: 1844-1977, Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Notre Dame, IN: The College, 1977.
McCandless, Marion. Family Portraits, History of the Holy Cross Alumnae Association of Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1879-1949. Notre Dame, IN: Saint Mary's College, 1952.
Wagner, Monica. Benchmarks: Saint Mary's College, How it Grew. Notre Dame, IN: Saint Mary's College, 1990.