Niagara University Buildings (History and Images)

(Created by Alma Aponte)

Alumni Hall/Chapel (1974)

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Ravaged by fire on two separate occasions, Alumni Hall stands today as the second oldest building on campus. Construction began in 1874, but the building was not completed until 1888. All but its stately stone exterior was destroyed by fires in 1898 and 1913. The alumni, who financed its original construction, also supported each subsequent restoration. Hence its name. World War I delayed the last reconstruction effort, which was not completed until 1919. The interior was again extensively renovated in 1976 and again in 1987. The main floor of the building today houses administrative offices; the chapel is on the second floor. While Alumni Chapel is still the popular name of the main chapel located in Alumni Hall, its formal name is Sacred Heart Chapel. It was named during the most recent renovations. At the same time, a second chapel in the apse was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Clet Hall (1862)

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The first building erected after purchase of the campus in 1856 was Clet Hall. It was built in 1862 to house Our Lady of Angels Seminary, the institution that was the forerunner of Niagara University. The complex now serves as a residence hall and also houses the dining halls, the campus club, the Leary Theatre, and the theater department offices. Clet is named for Francis Regis Clet, a Frenchman who served as a Vincentian missionary in China for the last 30 years of his life (1748-1820). He was martyred by strangulation during an anti-Christian persecution and beatified in 1900.

DePaul Hall (1961)

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DePaul Hall opened in 1961 as the university’s science building. In addition to classrooms and faculty offices, it houses laboratories for chemistry, biology, and psychology. It was named for the founder of the Congregation of the Mission, St. Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent was born in France in 1581 and lived in Paris from 1617 until his death in 1660. He co-founded the Daughters of Charity with St. Louise de Marillac, and addressed the plight of the poor by establishing orphanages, foster care programs, soup kitchens, volunteer programs and aid programs for prisoners.

Lynch Hall (1927)

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One of the campus residence halls, this four-story structure was completed in 1927. It is named for the Rev. John J. Lynch, CM. (1816-1888), the co-founder of this university. In 1856, Father Lynch and a colleague, Father John Monaghan, traveled to the Village of Suspension Bridge, now the north end of Niagara Falls, and learned of land for sale on Monteagle Ridge a few miles north in Lewiston. The 110-acre Vedder Farm was purchased on Feb. 23, 1857, and two months later, Father Lynch purchased the adjoining 160-acre DeVeaux farm. In 1859, three years after he purchased the site on which the university is located, Father Lynch was named coadjutor bishop of Toronto. In 1870, the Irish-born Vincentian was named Toronto's first archbishop.

Meade Hall (1926)

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Meade Hall served for more than 80 years as the residence of the Vincentian priests and brothers who staffed the university. It was originally called Our Lady of Angels Faculty House because it housed the faculty of the College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels. It was also a memorial to members of Our Lady of Angels Novenas, whose donations funded construction. The three-story building was rededicated in 1967 in honor of the Rev. Francis L. Meade, CM., (1894-1958), who served from 1947 to 1957 as the 16th president of the university. He was first assigned to Niagara in 1928 and served as religious superior, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and vice president before being named president. Built to accommodate up to three dozen men, Meade Hall eventually became too large and inefficient for the modern day needs of the Vincentian Community. Its use as a residence was discontinued at the end of 2008. Plans at that time called for its conversion to university office space.

O'Donaghue Hall (1909)

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Built in 1909, this residence hall is named for the Rev. Francis X. O'Donoughue, CM. (1849-1908), an alumnus and faculty member who donated a substantial inheritance from his family toward construction of the hall.

St. Vincent's Hall (1906)

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Commonly known as "Vinnies," this four-story "collegiate Gothic" structure is named for St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Congregation of the Mission. Originally called "The New Gymnasium," it was named St. Vincent's in 1909, some three years after its completion. It initially served as something of a multipurpose building. At the time of its construction, it housed an indoor swimming pool. A gym located on the fourth floor served for many years as the home court of the men's basketball team, and the third floor served as a dormitory for 150 students. The building eventually became the main classroom building on campus. Over a nine-month period beginning in January 2001, St. Vincent's was completely gutted and rebuilt under an $ll-million renovation project. The first floor now houses computer laboratories, the second and third floors house classrooms, and the fourth floor is the home of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Sources

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  • Building descriptions: A Historical Walking Tour of the Niagara University Campus (Niagara University, Office of Public Relations)
  • Images: Niagara University Library Archives