The initial success of the University of Notre Dame as an internationally renowned institution is due to the passion and dedication of her founder, the Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC. Located in the rural wilderness of Indiana, Notre Dame had many obstacles to over come and Sorin had many ingenious ideas for strengthening the fledgling school. In 1850, only eight years after the founding, Fr. Sorin asked the federal government to establish a post office at Notre Dame. Sorin’s request was granted in January 1851.
Besides bringing communications directly to campus, a government post office on campus literally put Notre Dame on the map. Sorin noted, “The profit [of a post office established at Notre Dame] is merely a sparing of money and of inconvenience [as opposed to using the South Bend post office], but there is another very valuable circumstance connected herewith: the passing of the stage coach regularly under the windows of the college. The house is daily becoming better known and the roads leading to it will have to be better cared for” [Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac, page 100]. While Fr. Sorin was the Postmaster, the Holy Cross Brothers were the ones in charge of the distribution of mail at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College.
The fourth post office was dedicated in 1967 and was located south of the Law School Building near Main Circle. It remained in use until the construction of Hammes Mowbray Hall in 2004. This post office was razed and the space is now occupied by the addition to the Law School.
Hammes Mowbray Hall, which houses the current post office and security department, was built on the north side of campus near Stepan Center and the Power Plant in 2004. For the first time in nearly 150 years, a post office was not located near the main southern entrance of campus.
Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac by Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC
University of Notre Dame: Portrait of History and Campus by Thomas J. Schlereth
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