Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Saint Leo Hall

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Belmont Abbey College
Original/Historic Place Name: Saint Leo Hall
Location on Campus: next to visitor parking, near Robert Lee Stowe Hall
Date(s) of Construction:
1906-1907original construction McInerney, Michael
1988restoration and renovation
Designer: Father Michael McInerney, O.S.B.
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: granite
Walls: brick and wood
Roof: slate
ca. 1907auditorium (orchestra hall and music studio on 2nd floor, drama hall on 3rd floor)
ca. 1907gymnasium (1st floor)
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium (3rd floor, Grace Auditorium, a lecture hall and assembly area)
ca. 2004-present (2006)faculty offices (2nd floor)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (campus bookstore on 1st floor, plus offices)

Located directly south of Stowe Hall, Saint Leo Hall is a classic statement of the architectural style called "American Benedictine" (so called because of its association with the monasteries of this country). This structure was the first major design in the South by Father Michael McInerney, a Belmont Abbey monk and noted architect. Saint Leo Hall helped to establish McInerney's reputation as a leading architect of ecclesiastical projects. The building was named for the patron saint of the first abbot of Belmont and was renovated and restored in 1988.

The building has many distinctive features indicative of McInerney's architectural style. He used pointed, fluted capitals to crown each of the building's ascending lines; and he also attempted to mitigate the building's box design through the layered effect of the building's brickwork, its protruding vertical brick columns, buttressed projections at the entrances, a row of granite trim, and large, Neo-Gothic double doors for the north and south ends. A five-foot extension at the center of the east and west walls stretches almost 19 feet and further accentuates the building's vertical lines.

Originally, the building contained a gymnasium, a space now used as the college bookstore. It also currently houses faculty offices and Grace Auditorium, a lecture hall and assembly area located on the third floor.


Alexander, Frances P., and Richard L. Mattson. Belmont Abbey Historic District [including Belmont Abbey College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1993.

Baumstein, Paschal. The Art of Michael McInerney. Booklet. Belmont, NC: Archives of Belmont Abbey, 1992.

Baumstein, Paschal, Beth Bargar, and Debra G. Estes. A Walking Tour of Historic Belmont Abbey. Booklet. Belmont, NC: Belmont Abbey College, 1997.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006