Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


St. Mary Hall

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Institution Name: University of Saint Mary
Original/Historic Place Name: Mount Saint Mary Female Academy; Saint Mary College
Location on Campus: south end of Front Circle Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1868-1870original construction Randall/Chandler
Designer: Randall/Chandler (Chicago)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Italianate (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete and limestone
Walls: exterior: red brick; interior: tile and plaster
Roof: slate tiles over hand hewn beams
ca. 1870residence hall (Mother House for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and resident students of St. Mary's female academy)
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)residence halls
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

Saint Mary Hall is one of the most impressive buildings on the University of Saint Mary campus. Originally constructed in 1870, the five-story Italian Villa-style building was first occupied by the Mother House for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and by resident students attending Saint Mary Female Academy, a boarding school for women.

Since opening in 1870, Saint Mary Hall has witnessed dramatic changes. Saint Mary Academy was the first institution on campus, but closed in 1950 due to the growing needs of Saint Mary College, which had replaced the Academy when it was established in 1923. To better meet the needs of the 21st-century student, Saint Mary College became the University of Saint Mary in July 2003. Regardless of its use, Saint Mary Hall still stands as the focal point of the campus. Today, the building houses administrative offices, classrooms, and residence areas.

Workmanship in the building includes hand-hewn wooden beams and woodworked decoration made by craftsmen from the Leavenworth area. Unique and traditional down to the decor, the interior is Victorian in style with molded tin ceilings and walls. The building houses antiques given to the Sisters, university friends, and family members. Saint Mary Hall embodies the history of the institution and continues to be the center of the early history of the university and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.


Randall, G. P. A Hand Book of Designs: Containing Plans in Perspective for Court Houses, Universities, Academies, School Houses, Churches, Dwellings, Etc., Etc., Etc. and Suggestions Relative to Their Construction, Heating and Ventilation. Chicago, IL: Church, Goodman and Donnelley, 1868.


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Last update: November 2006