When It’s Time to Change, You’ve Got to Rearrange
The building now known as Crowley Hall originally housed the Institute of Technology, which comprised of the following departments: Theoretical and Experimental Engineering, Practical Mechanics, and Machine Drawing and Design. The University Architect’s Building Inventory lists Fr. John Zahm, CSC, and Brother Charles Harding, CSC, as principle architects. It is one of many examples of buildings on campus that have held a number of different functions over the years.
The 1892-1893 prospectus bulletin stated that “[t]his building has been erected on the most approved plans, after a study of the best institutions of the kind at home and abroad.” The 1893-1894 bulletin boasted that it was “a large and commodious building, devoted to the use of the students of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. It is fully equipped with all the appliances for wood and metal working, and is supplied with the most approved forms of forges and cupolas for blacksmithing and foundry work. The rooms for mechanical drawing, and the laboratories for special experimental work in mechanical engineering are used, and are complete in all their appointments.”
In 1907, the Chemistry department settled into this building, which would then be dubbed “Chemistry Hall.” The Pharmacy Department had laboratories on the second floor.
On September 13, 1916, fire broke out in the phosphorus collection on the third floor, injuring a number of firemen, students, and spectators. With all the different chemicals and potential reactions in the building, the firemen had to use a different approach than water, which was only making matters worse. They used wet sand to extinguish the phosphorus fire and the South Bend firefighters left the scene eight hours later, saving the lower two floors.
A week later, however, some of the remaining phosphorous again ignited and continued to ravage the building, sending dangerous sparks as far away as St. Edward’s Hall. This occurred when class was being held in the already charred building. The building and its contents were pretty much destroyed, except for a small addition on the northeast corner, which remained untouched by the fire.
The cornerstone for new Chemistry Hall was laid at the 1917 commencement extercises and is now the Riley Hall of Art and Design. Nieuwland Hall was built in 1952 as a new facility for the Chemistry Department. Chemistry also has space in Stepan Chemistry Hall, which was completed in 1982 with an addition in 2002.
But the story of this 1893 building does not end with the fire. Notre Dame restored the building, which became Hoynes Hall, the home of the Law School until the Law School Building was completed in 1931. Later it housed the Architecture Department and Psychology Department, and it has been the home of the Music Department since 1976. It was named for Patrick F. Crowley, who founded the Christian Family Movement (CFM) with his wife Patricia. They were named Laetare Medalists in 1966. Crowley’s brother-in-law John Caron made the gift to the University in Crowley’s name. The Architecture Department moved to Lemonnier Library (now Bond Hall) when the Hesburgh Library opened in 1963. The Psychology Department moved to Haggar Hall in 1974.