Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Power Hall

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Institution Name: Dominican University
Original/Historic Place Name: Mother Emily Power Hall
Location on Campus: main campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1922original construction Cram, Ralph Adams
Designer: Ralph Adams Cram
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: limestone
Roof: slate
ca. 1922academic department building (music practice rooms, piano and voice studios)
ca. 1922-present (2006)residence hall
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

In 1916, the Archbishop of Chicago, Rev. George William Mundelein, called for the establishment of the first women's college in Chicago and asked the Sinsinawa Dominicans of St. Clara College in Wisconsin to transfer their small college to the urban Chicago area. Mother Mary Samuel Coughlin, O.P., Sister Superior of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, gladly embraced the move and welcomed the opportunity to be closer to a city, but needed a more secluded area for the female students. She sold the original land acquired by the Archbishop, purchased thirty acres in the exclusive River Forest neighborhood, and hired renowned architect, Ralph Adam Cram.

On October 1, 1922, with Rev. Mudelein's blessings, Rosary College's first building, Mother Emily Power Hall, opened for classes, offering Bachelor's Degrees in Arts, Science, Home Economics, and Music. On the following day, the students of Rosary College raised $33,520 by selling sponsorship tags to friends and neighbors in Chicago.


Centennial Magazine. Online (2006). Dominican University, River Forest, IL.


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Last update: November 2006