Our hall, one of the oldest structures on campus and one of several campus buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, was first constructed in 1882. (Don’t worry. Since then, they have put in running water and electricity). Believe it or not, St. Ed’s was actually built using bricks shaped and baked by Holy Cross Brothers from the marl of the campus lakes. And they walked five miles in a foot of snow to get it there—not like you lazy kids today with your wheelies and hoverboards. Initially, the building was not used to house collegians, but instead children from Notre Dame’s grammar school, whom Fr. Sorin affectionately called “Minims,” (Not to be confused with M&M’s, a delicious chocolaty treat, nor with Eminem, a guy with a knack for rapping and relationship issues).
At that time, one could attend Notre Dame from the cradle to the grave, and many took advantage of this to become “lifers.” Fr. Sorin, the founder, president, and patriarch of Notre Dame until his death in 1893, was very attached to these children and demanded only the best for them. He was the driving force behind St. Edward‘s Hall, which was named for St. Edward the Confessor, King of England, and Sorin’s patron saint. Sorin considered St. Ed’s a castle and its residents as his princes. It was indeed a sight to behold: wrought iron staircases, murals inside and out, and a beautiful garden surrounding a statue of St. Edward (which still stands). In 1898, the St. Ed’s annex was constructed, containing a gym, a roller skating rink, and a library for the grade school. The annex survived until 1930 when it was razed to make way for Zahm Hall (the Zahm guys live on what used to be our land, and after three quarters of a century we are still
In 1928, the same year Mickey Mouse and penicillin were created, the grade school was phased out and St. Ed’s was converted to house 200 men, about 40 more than its current capacity. In those days, halls were assigned by grade point average. St. Ed’s was the home of the sophomores with the lower GPA’s (although some things change, based off of our recent Interhall Academic Bowl Championship).
During World War II, the armed forces controlled most of the buildings on campus, so the student body consisted primarily of military personnel. Only St. Ed's and Sorin were reserved for civilian students. This civilian tradition has continued to this day, as no Stedsman has ever had to drop and give anyone twenty within the confines of the hall.
Over the years, St. Ed’s gained a tenement-like appearance. Finally, in 1976, the university gave our hall a face-lift, which resulted in a brighter, cleaner, and more modern looking hall. Unfortunately, in June of 1980, St. Ed’s was extensively damaged by fire while crews were installing a fire-suppressant system (Definition of irony, anyone?). For a while, the future of St. Ed’s was in doubt as the University contemplated whether or not the hall was worth rebuilding. Fortunately, the administration came to its senses, due in part to alumni contributions. St. Ed’s was therefore rebuilt and the original architectural plans were adhered to as closely as possible. Reconstruction brought a new wing and a revamped fourth floor...and not to mention the elevator which will be extremely convenient during move-in!
Many Notre Dame luminaries have resided in St. Ed’s; most famous being Heisman Trophy winning and, uh, “somewhat outspoken” quarterback Paul Hornung. The most notable event to ever occur in the hall happened in November of 1924 when recently converted Knute Rockne was baptized and received First Holy Communion in the St. Ed’s chapel. We have a vivid history and a vibrant future at St. Ed's.