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Alverno Then & Now

The Changing Face of Alverno: The Land

The land on which Alverno College sits has also gone through
changes even beyond the construction of buildings...

 

In July 1944 the School Sisters of St. Francis purchased the land on which Alverno
College sits, known then as the Fischer Farm. Until construction on the college began
in 1951, the farm was a place that the sisters and Alverno students would visit for
picnics, to go apple picking (there used to be an orchard), and to collect samples
for science classes such as plants for botany labs.

This is a photo of Fisher Farm as it looked prior to the construction of Alverno College. It was purchased by the School sisters of St. Francis in July 1944. In the picture a barn can be seen in the foreground and the white farmhouse that still stands on the Alverno campus is in the background.

 

 

The white farmhouse in the background of the photograph above and in this photo
below still stands on the Alverno College campus.

This is the white farmshouse still found on Alverno's campus as it looked around 1944 when the land was purchased by the School Sisters of St. Francis.

 

Here's a view of the "white house" from  fall 2018. it is home to some of the sisters who work
at Alverno.

This is a photograph of the White House on the Alverno Campus as it looked in Fall 2018.

 

 

 

Construction of the original campus buildings, Founders Hall, the gymnasium, the auditorium, and
Corona Hall, occurred between 1951 and 1953.  Not shown is the powerhouse building which was
also part of the original construction. The college opened in its current location in September 1953.
Below is an architect's rendering of the original buildings.

This is an architect's drawing from 1953 of the original campus buildings: the auditorium, the gymnasium, Founders Hall and Corona Hall. Not shown is the powerhouse building which was also part of the original construction.

 

Prior to the construction of Austin Hall there was a tennis court on its site. This photo
was taken sometime between 1957 (after Clare Hall was built) and 1964
(when Austin Hall was built.)

This is an aerial view of the Alverno college Campus. Note the tennis court in the background where Austin Hall stands today.

 

Here's a closer view of the tennis court. Students from Miss Shogren's square dancing
classes are pictured dosey doeing on the court in a photo from the October 1955 issue
of Alverno Campus News.

This is a 1955 photo of students from Miss Shogren's square dancing class dancing on the tennis courts.

 

 

The class of 1957 raised  $500 for their class gift and asked Alverno art instructor
and artist Sister Helena Steffens-meier to carve a statue from the Pittsford Valley
marble they purchased. The photo below shows the dedication ceremony for the
statue, “Mary, Queen of the Universe” held on May 28, 1958. When it was dedicated,
the sculpture stood in a grotto in the woods on the Alverno campus grounds.

This is a photograph of the 1958 dedication of Sister Helena Steffensmeier's sculpture, "Mary, Queen of the Universe. At that time the sculpture sat in a grotto in the campus woods."

 

Here is how the sculpture site appears today.  It can be seen not far from the La Verna
Commons patio and Heritage Garden across the road from the athletic fields and
adjacent to Christopher Hall and the Joel Read Center.

This is a photograph of Helena Steffensmeier's sculpture, "Mary, Queen of the Universe" as it appeared in fall 2018. It is across the raod from the athletic fields and adjacent to Founders Hall, Christopher Hall and the Joel Read Center.

 

 

The photo below was taken in the 1960's. What used to be called the "North Courtyard"...

This photo of the "North Courtyard" now known as the "Alumnae Courtyard" was taken in the 1960's. In the photo Corona Hall, a tree and a birdbath can be seen in the backyard. In the foreground seven people are strolling through.

...is now known as the "Alumnae Courtyard." The courtyard beautification project was
completed in fall 2005. Found on the north end of the courtyard, but not pictured here is
a Peace Pole which is decorated with the saying “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written
in English as well as  French, Spanish, Hindi, Swahili, Korean, Russian, Japanese,
Chinese, Hmong, Arabic, and Ojibway. The languages were chosen to reflect
languages spoken by Alverno students. This photo was taken in fall 2018.

This photo of the Alumnae Courtyard was taken in fall 2018. The view pictured faces Founders Hall with the decorative patio in the foreground.

Athletics on the Grounds

Field Days used to be held on the grounds of Alverno College.
These frequently included events such as athletic competitions,
athletic demonstrations, and cookouts.

 

Here is an archery competition from a field day held in 1955.

In this photo from a field day held in 1955, 14 onlookers watch an archer.

 

Here are four golfers practicing their swings in preparation for the field day held  on
May 10, 1956. Note the Powerhouse, tennis court, and the "white house" in the background.

these four golfers are practicing their swings for a field day held in May 1956. The Powerhouse, the tennis court, and the "white house" are in the background.

 

Hotdogs were on the menu at the 1955 field day cookout.

In this ophoto a crowd has gathered around the campfire in order to roast hotdogs at the 1955 field day cookout.

 

 

 

In September 1978 a new Alverno Exercise/Nature Trail opened on campus called the Parcours.
Opening festivities were held on September 15, 1978. This article from the September issue of
Alpha (student newspaper) describes the opening events and the trail.

This is the front cover of "Alpha" from September 1978 describing the new Parcours and the scheduled opening festivities.

 

Here is a map of the Parcours that appeared with the above Alpha article. "Loretto Hall" shown
on the map is now known as "Austin Hall" and the "Nursing Education Building" is "Christopher Hall."

This ios a map of the new Parcours Nature Trail published as part of the September 1978 "Alpha" article.

 

This is the ribbon cutting for the new Alverno Exercise/Nature Trail or Parcours.

This is a photo of a crwd at the ribbon cutting for the new exercise/nature trail held on September 15, 1978.

 

Here is another photo of the festivities.

This is a photo of a crowd at the opening festivities for the Parcours.

 

 

In 2006, there was a campus beautification project largely funded by Roy and Bobbi Reiman.
Results of that project included new campus signage, Reiman Plaza (pictured below), a parking
structure, and...
 

this is a photo of Reiman Plaza with the sister Joel Read Center in the background and the sculpture "Soaring" in the foreground.

 

...Gorgeous NCAA-regulation softball and soccer fields! This photo is from the Winter 2007
issue of Alverno Magazine, p. 5.

Pictured in this photo is the softball diamond, ahtrletic support building and in the background, the soccer field.

Environmental Features

In recent years wonderful and necessary environmental
features have been added to the Alverno grounds.

 

Spearheaded by Professor Becky Burton, prairie restoration was started
on campus in 2000. This first photo is what the site looked like prior to
the restoration effort.

This is a photo of the first prairie restoration site on Alverno's campus prior to prairie creation. In the foreground is brown dormant grass and in the background are parked cars.

 

Here is a view of the prairie site in September 2000.

Here is a view of Alverno's first prairies restoration site in September 2000. There are green grasses and plants in the foreground and a parked car in the background.

 

Here is the prairie in full bloom in July 2001.

This is a photo of the prairie site in fill bloom from the same angle as the two previous photos.

 

Unfortunately, that first prairie restoration effort was thwarted by the construction of Alverno's
parking structure on the site in 2006. This photo was taken in fall 2018.

This is a photo of Alverno's parking structure taken in fall 2018.

 

There is a new prairie restoration effort underway, also spearheaded by Becky Burton.
Wander to the field found on the west side of the "White House" and you can see it!

This is a color photo of the new prairie restoration effort found on the west side of the white house on the Alverno campus.

 

 

 

In 2006, Professor Jennifer Johanson led the Alverno College Rain Garden Demonstration
Project. In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the United
States Environmental Protection Agency. She worked with students to design and install a rain
garden at the north end of campus in order to decrease storm water runoff from campus and
alleviate water ponding issues happening on the child care playground. It is located on the
east side of  Elizabeth Hall .The rain garden has been a work site for Alverno Community Day
several times as shown in this photo from 2013.

The rain garden found on the 39th street side of Elizabeth Hall is shown with 2013 Community Day workers.

 

Here is a better view of the sign found at the rain garden site.

This is a photo of the sign found at the alverno Rain Garden site. It reads: "Alverno Rain Garden: Recycles stormwater, replenishes groundwater, reduces flooding. Designed by Alverno Environmental Science Students."

 

Take a walk over to the rain garden to see it in full bloom! This photo
is from spring when the columbine blooms.

In this photograph dark pink columbine is  blooming in Alverno's rain garden.

 

 

 

Additional efforts have been made on the Alverno Campus
to decrease storm water runoff.

 

Two features were added to the Alverno campus as a part of the 2014-2015
Promise and Power expansion and renovation project.

When the Commons addition was built  the structure included a green roof. 
Take the stairway adjacent to the Inferno Cafe and the roof can easily be seen
from the third floor landing windows. When the sedum is in bloom, it is lovely.

Tis is a photo of sedum growing on the green roof of the Commons addition constructed in 2014. The Read Center can be seen in the background.

 

 

Also in 2014-2015, a bioswale was created to prevent rainwater runoff from the
expanded and reconfigured Parking Lot E adjacent to Alphonsa Hall, Reiman
Gymnasium and Pitman Theatre. It is not only extremely useful, but quite
beautiful when in full bloom.

This is a photo of the bioswale found in Parking Lot E adjacent to the Pitman Theatre. In the photo cars are parked on either side of it with the bioswale running down the middle between the cars. It is full of blooming black-eyed susans.