Dawn in Main Quad

by Jane Morrow

The Golden Dome at dawn

Pictured is the back of the sculpture the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Golden Dome atop the Main Building in the Main Quad at dawn. The Main Building, with its famous Golden Dome, is a centerpiece of Notre Dame’s past and present. Today, it serves primarily as a headquarters for administration, although it still contains classrooms, harking back to a time when it was a crossroads where students learned, ate meals and resided. This structure is actually the third building to stand on the site. It was built in 1879, the same year in which the previous building was destroyed by fire.

The Golden Dome was added to this building in 1882 and was most recently regilded in 2005. The regilding process uses only about a fist-full of gold leaf to cover the entire structure. Atop the Dome, you will find a 19-foot-tall, 4,000-pound statue of Mary, the Mother of God, “Notre Dame” (“Our Lady”). With this beautiful adornment, the Main Building is 187 feet tall, making it the second tallest structure on campus after the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.