Preservation at its best

Ambrose Hall on the campus of St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa is recognized with a 2015 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award by Preservation Iowa.

This award is given to a building originally constructed 1885 – 1887 and added on to in 1916. The structure has been the central focus of the campus since the college was founded, originally housing all of the academic functions, including classrooms, chapel, gymnasium, and dormitories.  It was last restored in 1977 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

04_Ambrose Hall_Full South Facade_After2_Photo Courtesy - RDG - Kun Zhang

The first step in our preservation process was the compilation of existing conditions and history in the form of a Historic Structure Report.  The team carefully surveyed the condition of every window, nearly 500 of them, and every square foot of the exterior walls and roof.  During the surveying process, a bell dating from the 19th century was discovered in the original central tower, waiting for a clock that was never installed.  The restoration includes removal of 1950s era remodeling of the distinctive mansard slate roofs, and the reconstruction of these roofs based on slates discovered on site and historic photographs.  The damage to the windows was determined to be extensive, so new windows, replicating the original design and details, were installed.  The central clock tower was also restored, with new slate roofing, window details and a clock.

Restoration of this building makes a big impact from a historic standpoint and “front-door” for the academic campus and will continue to serve generations of future students and faculty.

Fun Fact:  the building is reported to be haunted.

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