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Built in stages from 1885 to 1912, the exterior of Ambrose Hall retains the character of the original architect's vision. It is an example of the application of the Second Empire style to the practicality of an academic building. Ambrose Hall is the "old main" of the campus and was the only campus building until 1922. In 1960 an exterior renovation significantly changed the mansard roof line of the center portion of the building, but the remainder of the building has been preserved.
The interior has been adapted many times over the history of the building. Its many uses have included classrooms, a library, faculty and administrative offices, a chapel, dining facilities, dormitory space, faculty residences, laboratories and a gymnasium. Moreover, the building faces Locust Street, a main east-west thoroughfare in Davenport, and therefore it is the image most casual observers have of St. Ambrose. Its central tower is often used as a logo for the university.
Dawson, William F., and George McDaniel. Ambrose Hall. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1977.
Farrell, Anthony G. Bees and Bur Oaks: 100 Years of St. Ambrose College. Davenport, IA: St. Ambrose College, 1982.