Notre Dame Post Offices

The initial success of the University of Notre Dame as an internationally renowned institution is due to the passion and dedication of her founder, the Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC.  Located in the rural wilderness of Indiana, Notre Dame had many obstacles to over come and Sorin had many ingenious ideas for strengthening the fledgling school.  In 1850, only eight years after the founding, Fr. Sorin asked the federal government to establish a post office at Notre Dame.  Sorin’s request was granted in January 1851.

Letter from Second Assistant Postmaster General Fitz Henry Warren to the Honorable Graham Newell Fitch, congressman from Indiana, regarding the establishment of a post office at Notre Dame and appointment of Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC, as its Postmaster, 1851/0106

Besides bringing communications directly to campus, a government post office on campus literally put Notre Dame on the map.  Sorin noted,  “The profit [of a post office established at Notre Dame] is merely a sparing of money and of inconvenience [as opposed to using the South Bend post office], but there is another very valuable circumstance connected herewith:  the passing of the stage coach regularly under the windows of the college.  The house is daily becoming better known and the roads leading to it will have to be better cared for” [Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac, page 100].  While Fr. Sorin was the Postmaster, the Holy Cross Brothers were the ones in charge of the distribution of mail at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College.

Notre Dame’s first post office built in 1856, located just east of the present location of the Sorin Statue on the Main Quad, c1890s


Entrance to Notre Dame with Main Building, Porter House (left), and Post Office (right), c1900s


Campus Post Office exterior view, c1914
This building was completed in October 1914. In 1935, it was moved to the north side of Chemistry Hall (now Riley Hall of Art and Design) for use as a library. It was razed in the early 1950s with the construction of Nieuwland Science Hall.


Post Office on South Quad dedicated in 1934 (now the Knights of Columbus Building), c1950s

The fourth post office was dedicated in 1967 and was located south of the Law School Building near Main Circle.  It remained in use until the construction of Hammes Mowbray Hall in 2004.  This post office was razed and the space is now occupied by the addition to the Law School.

Laying sod in front of the new post office at Main Circle, 1967/0512

Hammes Mowbray Hall, which houses the current post office and security department, was built on the north side of campus near Stepan Center and the Power Plant in 2004.  For the first time in nearly 150 years, a post office was not located near the main southern entrance of campus.

Hammes Mowbray Hall exterior, 2007/0116


Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac by Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC
University of Notre Dame: Portrait of History and Campus by Thomas J. Schlereth
CSOR 5/10
GTJS 3/36
GFCL 48/63
GMIL 1/01
GPHR 45/0050
GPHR 45/5658

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