Washington Hall

Notre Dame Film, Television, and Theater professor Mark Pilkinton’s much anticipated book on Washington Hall was released earlier this week.  Look for Washington Hall at Notre Dame:  Crossroads of the University, 1864-2004 at your favorite bookstore or library.  A detailed history of performing arts at Notre Dame is long-over due and this book will enrich the whole story of Notre Dame.

GGPN 15/13:  Washington Hall interior, c1890s. (University of Notre Dame Archives)
Washington Hall interior with ornate decorations, c1890s.
These murals were most likely painted over in the 1956 renovation as
the University embraced modern architecture and decor.

Pilkinton has been a regular here in the Notre Dame Archives for many years as he laboriously researched Washington Hall (built in 1881) and other exhibition halls and theatrical venues that preceded it.  His new book is a comprehensive history of the building architecturally, as well it’s role at the heart of Main Quad as the hub of many theatrical and musical performances, lectures, movie screenings, and other events.

Pilkinton was also instrumental in the development of the Theatre Chronology database, hosted on the Archives’ website, which attempts to detail every student theatrical performance ever held at Notre Dame.  Pilkinton is continuously updating the database as new performances are staged and as new information on old performances is unearthed.




4 thoughts on “Washington Hall”

  1. The two areas where the pre-1956 decor has survived are the balcony ceiling above the light booth and in two “light locks” near the east and west entrances. Photographs of these are in WASHINGTON HALL AT NOTRE DAME (see figs. 5.10 & 5.11, p 143). In the book I call for a restoration of the Gregori/Rusca interior (pp 314-15).

  2. There may be a few remnants left in Washington Hall, but it is unlikely. The interior hall currently seems rather bare (http://notredame.photoshelter.com/image?&_bqG=4&_bqH=eJxLzAhPKc4pKslKLfX0LU108TVzSQ_1drGoKky3Mre0MjK1MjQAAivPeJdgZ9vyxOKMzLz0kvw87YzEnBw1sGi8o5.LbQmQHewfFGLr4hjiCmSHBrsGxXu62IaCdKdnlPilmaYYRpQZqMU7OofYFqcmFiVnAADKwydt&GI_ID=).

    The restoration of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and Main Building in the 1990s brought back many Victorian designs that were previously painted over. While it would be a tremendous expense and painstaking work, many would like to see Washington Hall restored to its former glory.

Comments are closed.