Washington Hall at Notre Dame

Washington Hall at Notre Dame

  • Crossroads of the University, 1864-2004

  • by Mark C. Pilkinton

  • 446 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 , 50 halftones and 5 line drawings

  • Paperback | 9780268038953 | September 2011

  • Hardcover | 9780268207168 | September 2022


At the heart of the University of Notre Dame’s campus sits the Main Building with its trademark golden dome. Flanking it on the west is the equally distinctive Sacred Heart Basilica, and on the east is the building known today as Washington Hall. Washington Hall at Notre Dame is the first history of this building—the university’s first performing arts center—and illuminates the ways in which Washington Hall has served as the prime venue of secular communal assembly for the university and surrounding communities since 1864.

In addition to detailing the history of Washington Hall, Mark Pilkinton, a theatre historian, emphasizes the art form of theatre and its development at Notre Dame, but also discusses the contributions of music, debate, and lectures, as well as the introduction of the “new media” of film, radio, and television. Among many other fascinating stories, the author recounts the early commencements and “exhibitions” that included students’ orations in Latin and Greek, chronicles the history of the ghost of Washington Hall, and describes the contributions Knute Rockne made to the performing arts at the university, both as a student actor and as a faculty member.

Lavishly illustrated with 50 halftones and 5 line drawings, Washington Hall at Notre Dame offers a fascinating history of Notre Dame through the prism of its first performing arts center and adds to our understanding of American Catholic higher education and American history in general.