St. Mary’s, the first Catholic women’s college in Louisiana, traces its roots to the arrival in 1860 of seven Dominican sisters from Cabra, Ireland, to run a girls’ academy affiliated with St. John the Baptist Church (OR154). With increasing student enrollment and requests for boarding, the sisters purchased this site in 1865 and hired Fitzner to design a building accommodating classrooms, an administrative office, and a chapel. Thomas Mulligan constructed the building, which the Times-Democrat described in August 1882 as in the “style of a dwelling house,” as were many women’s schools and colleges in the nineteenth century. Constructed of cypress, the building is shaded by colonnaded galleries at the front and rear. A narrow gallery surrounding the central cupola provided a place for students to make astronomical observations. In this and other ways, the curriculum was advanced for its time; rhetoric, rarely taught to girls, was part of the course of study in the humanities and science, and a student literary journal was published from 1888 to 1900. In 1911, three ogee-shaped dormers were added to the third story, giving the building a Venetian flavor. St. Mary’s was absorbed by Loyola University in 1984.The building is now used for administrative purposes. Adjoining Greenville Hall is Cabra Hall (1969, J. Buchanon Blitch), a dormitory with an exterior circulation gallery of arched openings, a modernist interpretation of the older building.
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Greenville Hall of Loyola University (St. Mary’s Dominican College)
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