Memorial Library Topping Out

On April 3, 1962, the last steel girder for the Memorial Library (now Hesburgh Library) was put into place.  As part of the “topping out” ceremony, University President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, inscribed the final beam, which was hoisted to the top with an American flag.

Memorial Library “Topping Out” Ceremony, 1962/0403. Rev. Theodore Hesburgh signing the final beam with the Latin phrase for “May the Blessed Mother bless us with her wonderful child.”  At left is Pat Corrie, construction superintendent.

By the 1950s, it was obvious that Notre Dame was outgrowing its library space in Lemonnier Library (now Bond Hall), which opened in 1917.  The Administration contemplated several sites for a new library, including on Main Quad as a replacement of Main Building.  Fortunately, it was decided that the new library would occupy the quad north of Notre Dame Stadium.  This required the removal of the Navy Drill Hall and the Vetville buildings, which began in the summer of 1961.

Memorial Library “Topping Out” Ceremony, 1962/0403 An American flag waves at the top of the steel frame of the building

The Memorial Library, renamed Hesburgh Library in 1987, was open for use in the fall of 1963, although the installation of the “Word of Life” mural was not yet complete.  The library was officially dedicated in May 1964.

GPHR 45/4464