In Herb's Archive this month, a story from the August 14, 1886
edition of the Scholastic.
I came across a copy of
the August 14, 1886, edition of the SCHOLASTIC today, in which a student
reporter described a new addition to the campus skyline: "The
glistening dome in the light of the orb of day presents a most brilliant
spectacle to the travelers on our railroads as they draw near to South
Bend, and to the observer everywhere for miles around." A Holy Cross
brother and a "capable assistant", the writer continued, had
spent the previous summer gilding the "grand dome," undoubtedly
unaware that it would become the world's best- known symbol for a
That may have been what the University's founder, the Rev. Edward F. Sorin,
C.S.C., had in mind. In 1879, after a fire destroyed much of the 37-year-
old campus of Notre Dame, Sorin vowed to build a dome on the ruins.
"If all men fail me, there is one treasure that is always full, that
of our most holy lady," he declared. "When this school shall
grow a bit more, I shall raise her aloft so that without asking, all men
shall know why we have succeeded here. To that lovely lady raised high on
a dome, a golden dome, men may look and find the answer."
Not all men agreed with Father Sorin's lofty vision, however, and school
administrators balked at this costly infatuation; so much so that Sorin
went into seclusion, refusing food or drink, until his wish was granted. I
guess you could say Notre Dame got its dome by intestinal fortitude.
To read previous installments of Herb's
archive please click below: