Hi my name’s Tommy and I’m from Massachusetts.
As we start our tour of Notre Dame, what better place to start than the University’s main building, the Golden Dome? Located on Notre Dame’s main quad, what students call God Quad, this building in the third to stand on this site. It was finished in 1882 and at one time had over twenty-two classrooms, two dining halls and the University’s library. The building today is mostly used for administration, but there’re still classes in there and it also houses the offices of the University Provost and President.
On top of the Golden Dome is the University’s namesake, Mary. The sculpture is a model of a statue in Rome erected by Pope Pius IX. It’s a gift from Saint Mary’s, a nearby college, and it’s 19 feet tall and over four thousand pounds. It’s regilded every few years and although the second main building was covered in tin, this building is gilded in 23 karat gold.
When the University’s second main building burned down, the University’s founder Father Edward Sorin took it as a sign that the University’s dreams weren’t big enough and he became determined to rebuild the University’s main building bigger and better than ever before.
Just inside the main entrance are the twelve historic Christopher Columbus murals, painted in the 1880s by Italian artist Luigi Gregori. Gregori used members of the Notre Dame community as models for his paintings. Father Thomas Walsh, who was president of Notre Dame at the time, was the model for the face of Columbus. Gregori also painted the figures of Arts and Science on the ceiling of the rotunda. The figure of Religion is at the center of the painting stretched across the earth. Because he had to paint on a curved surface, Gregori practiced on the inside of bowls borrowed from the University’s kitchen.
Notice the yellow brick on the Main Building. This is called Notre Dame Brick because the materials were dredged from the two lakes on campus.
The Main Building is on the National Register of Historic Places.