Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Tower Hall

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Institution Name: College of St. Scholastica
Original/Historic Place Name: Villa Sancta Scholastica
Location on Campus: 1200 Kenwood Ave., Duluth MN 55811
Date(s) of Construction:
1909-1928construction began
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Significance: education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: basalt (blue trap) rock quarried on site
Walls: front and sides are basalt (blue trap) quarried on site; rear is brick
Roof: composition
ca. 1928student union
ca. 1928administration
1928-1992residence hall (monastic)
1928-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)faculty offices

The Benedictine monastic community now known as St. Scholastica Monastery was established in Duluth in 1892. In 1900 the first plot of land that is now the College/Monastery campus was purchased by the nuns, and construction began on the first building, now known as Tower Hall, in 1908. Construction proceeded in stages and was finally completed in 1928. Until 1938, this building housed all of the monastic and educational facilities of the institution (Villa Sancta Scholastica) including the elementary academy, high school, junior college (until 1924), and four year college (after 1924). The Tower Hall building is constructed of stone quarried on the campus site.

In 1938, two additional buildings were added to the campus, connected by cloister walks. These were the high school building (Stanbrook Hall) and Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, the ground floor of which housed the College library. Tower Hall continued to house the college and much of the monastery. The architectural style chosen for the chapel/library was Romanesque, similar to that of the 10th century European Benedictine monasteries.

In 1964, a student dormitory was constructed, leaving only classrooms, offices, and monastic living areas in Tower Hall. In 1992, the nuns moved to a new residence constructed behind the former high school building, leaving the entire building to the college. In 1986, the interior of the Chapel/Library was gutted, the monastic chapel was moved to the ground floor, and three additional stories were constructed inside what had been the monastic church, which now houses the College library.

Both Tower Hall and the Our Lady of Peace Chapel are large, imposing structures, dominating the campus skyline as viewed from the entrances to campus; they have been recognized as an important part of the Duluth architectural heritage.


Scott, James A., and John R. Ulven, Jr. Duluth's Legacy: Vol. 1, Architecture. Duluth, MN: City of Duluth, l974.

Somers, M. Agnes. All Her Ways: A Short Account of the Foundation, Development and Artistic Acquirements of The College of St. Scholastica. Duluth, MN: College of St. Scholastica, 1952.


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Last update: November 2006